Monday, July 16, 2018

Treason: What Is It? - And Impeachment?

I am to be included in the group that firmly believes that the 45th President of the United States committed acts of treason today while in Helsinki, Finland.
   What, exactly, is treason?  The latest Merriam-Webster Dictionary of the English language defines treason as: (1) the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance, or to kill or personally injure the sovereign, or the sovereign's family;  (2) the betrayal of a trust.
   In the United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3 states: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.  No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
   The Congress shall have the power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted."

And I believe that now is a good time to review Sections 1 and 2 of Article III as well.  They read:
"Section 1
The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.  The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
 Section 2
The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;  - to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;  - to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;  - to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;  - to controversies between two or more states;  - between a state and citizens of another state;  - between citizens of different states;  - between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.
  In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction.  In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exemptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.
  The trial of all crimes,except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed."

Impeachment in the United States is the process by which the lower house of a legislature brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed; it is analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury.  At the federal (Presidential) level, this is done by the United States House of Representatives.  Most impeachments have concerned alleged crimes committed while in office, though there have been a few cases in which officials have been impeached, and subsequently convicted, for prior crimes.  The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held.  That trial, and their removal from office if convicted, is separate from the act of impeachment itself.  Analogous to a trial before a judge and jury, these proceedings are conducted by the upper house of the legislature, which, at the federal level is the United States Senate.
  At the federal level, the United States Constitution, in Article I, Section 2, Clause 5, grants to the House of Representatives "the sole power of Impeachment," and Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 grants to the Senate "the sole Power to try all impeachments."  In considering articles of impeachment, the House of Representatives is obligated to base any charges on the constitutional standards specified in Article II, Section 4: "The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors."

** I think that pretty well covers everything, don't you? **

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