Thursday, March 9, 2017
The question is-Will Donald Trump become America’s first President impeached for sending libelous tweets? (Probably not!)
Harvard Law professor and constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe says yes. Tribe argues that libelous Presidential tweets to millions of people – in this case, Trump’s accusation of an illegal wiretap by the Obama administration – are the definition an impeachable “political crime” of office, which Congress may use to file impeachment charge.
He’s also part of a group suing the President for violating our Constitution’s Emoluments clause.
Professor Tribe’s point is that Trump’s use of the Presidency, and by extension the Presidential Twitter account, isn’t just a personal matter. Accusing an ex-President libelous official criminal charge without a shred of evidence constitutes a political crime by the malicious accuser. A Federalist essay written by the founding father Alexander Hamilton backs him up.
Alexander Hamilton’s essay Federalist 65 which lays out the logical basis for both when a president should be impeached, and why the founders designated Legislative Houses to different tasks in the process.
Hamilton was in no way unclear that an improper act of political gain – like accusing your predecessor of a crime he didn’t commit and then begging Congress to investigate your own libelous statement – is the very definition of an impeachable “POLITICAL “offense. Here is an excerpt of Hamilton’s Federalist 65:
A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.
They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.
Professor Tribe also tweeted about an interesting part of the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which would allow Congress to sideline Donald Trump without a trial, by passing a law with a veto-proof majority to remove him from office. It’s never before been attempted, but the language has all of the force of the supreme law of the land.
Plainly, someone spoke with Laurence Tribe about the powerful statement he’s making that a President can be impeached merely for sending libelous tweets.
The Professor’s response amounts to ‘Live by the tweet, get impeached by the tweet.’'
So Will Donald Trump become America’s first President impeached for sending libelous tweets? (Probably not!, but it's fun to think about it!)