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It is difficult to issue a pardon for something for which someone has not yet even been charged.  Perhaps an argument for waiting, but I'm not holding my breath.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 04:48:59 PM EST
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That is what Ford pardoned Nixon for, if I recall correctly.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 10:46:04 AM EST
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Doesn't an impeachment constitute a 'charge'?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 11:06:32 AM EST
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First you get threatened with impeachment, then if it looks like it's going to happen you resign from office, then your successor pardons you. The advantage of resigning is that your successor is your own appointee.
by asdf on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 11:12:05 AM EST
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Once it has been voted by the House, for sure.  But the trial must occur in the Senate.  Should the Senate fail to impeach, I don't know if a subsequent criminal charge once the President has left office, would be considered double jeopardy.  Nor do I know if such post term prosecution is provided for in the U.S. Code.  Help.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 02:45:58 PM EST
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But Nixon had been charged with high crimes and misdemeanors in the House.  Then he resigned.  Then Ford was sworn in.  Then he pardoned Nixon--before the '76 election.  I am certainly no expert on US constitutional law, so I can't say what could have been done had he not been pardoned, or even after he had been pardoned.  

I can see a certain wisdom in declining to start a tradition of prosecuting ex-presidents.  But only some of the current partisans have any concern for further debasement of the process.  Others don't seem to care, so long as they advance their agenda--undemocratic as it is. The chief accomplishment of the Clinton impeachment seems to have been to make the whole impeachment process repugnant.  I have little doubt that some who brought that impeachment expected that outcome, along with providing pay-back for Watergate.  They may be evil, but they are not fools.  Think so at your peril.

Until and unless a substantial majority of US citizens come to appreciate that we have essentially eliminated the most potent check on abuses in government and that we essentially have a vastly weakened constitutional process, we are at risk that liberty might not long endure.  I can only pray that we find the will and a way to remedy this before another conscienceless RW administration takes power, and, emboldened by the lack of consequences for Bush, et al, totally eviscerates the constitution in the name of security and seizes permanent power.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 12:02:01 PM EST
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we have essentially eliminated the most potent check on abuses in government

If what Bush has done is not impeachable, what will be in the future?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 01:51:30 AM EST
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Indeed!  One more reason I sometimes use rather harsh terms in which to characterize the majority of "My Fellow Americans."

What is once lost cannot easily be restored.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 02:39:00 PM EST
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To elaborate on scenarios involving a post-election Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Congress could today hold hearings to "investigate impeachable offenses", without necessarily committing to carrying through with impeachment and Senate prosecution. Establishing that the offenses are impeachable, while declining to go further (on grounds of the impending end of the administration) would seem to defend the principle well enough.

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission could then be positioned as a soft compromise, well within the Overton window opened by the serious prospect of prosecution.

Keep in mind that a failed impeachment or prosecution could be spun as exoneration, even if the reasons for failure were procedural, legalistic, or simply a consequence of running out the clock.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 02:50:33 PM EST
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Migeru:
If what Bush has done is not impeachable, what will be in the future?

Just wait and see what the lunatic right tries to slap on Obama.

ARGeezer:

I can see a certain wisdom in declining to start a tradition of prosecuting ex-presidents.

The only thing which is protected by avoiding impeachment is America's self-serving view of itself as a meritocratic democracy. If a president is prosecuted and jailed, that mythology is torn to ribbons.

It would be traumatic in the short-term, but maturing and healthy in the longer term. The core US mythology seems to be that if you game the system with enough cunning, the law won't apply to you and you can retire rich.

A jail term would snap many people out of that fantasy, with a priceless 'Oh, shit...' moment.

It would be like the death of JFK in reverse - instead of proving that the system can be gamed, it would reinforce the fact that yes, the rules really do apply to you too.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 02:06:20 PM EST
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Impeachment has nothing to do with jail. It simply removes someone from their office. Asking for impeachment given the current numbers in the Senate is like asking a minority party in a parliamentary system to use a vote of no-confidence to oust a government, with the difference that it takes a lot more time and effort. I doubt we could get to fifty, let alone the sixty-seven votes needed (At best one Repub vote for (Hagel) and almost certainly a number of conservative Dems against, plus Lieberman.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 02:18:18 PM EST
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No-confidence votes that were certain to be lost have been used to important political effect in several countries. The case I'm most familiar with is Felipe Gonz´lez in Spain in 1980, which helped convince voters that he represented a serious government alternative. In 1982 he went to win the biggest landslide we've ever had.

Bush's impeachment wouldn't be done to necessarily successfully convict (there might not be time enough before the next president's inauguration) but to get all the dirty laundry out in plain view.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 02:28:34 PM EST
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