The impeachment of Donald Trump seems possible in 2019 IF the Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives, which seems highly likely, based upon polls 100 days out, and with the reminder that the party out of the White House always gains seats in the midterm elections, with the exceptions of 1934 under Franklin D. Roosevelt and 2002 under George W. Bush.
Having said that, it is reality that impeachment does not lead to convictions and removals from office, with the exception of seven federal district court judges over the long span of American history.
Richard Nixon would have been an exception if he had not resigned, but Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton both were found not guilty in their impeachment trials.
Other Presidents have been threatened with impeachment, but it was more just a threat or simply could not gain enough support in the House of Representatives to lead to impeachment.
That list of threatened impeachments include: John Tyler in 1842 and 1843; James Buchanan in 1860; Ulysses S. Grant in 1876; Herbert Hoover in 1933; Harry Truman in 1951; Ronald Reagan in 1987; George H. W. Bush in 1991; George W. Bush in 2008; Barack Obama in 2013: and Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018. Notice most of these were not serious, and in many cases occurred in the last year of the President’s term or near the end of his last term in office.
Vice Presidents who have faced impeachment threats are: Schuyler Colfax in 1873, as he was leaving the Grant Administration; Spiro Agnew in 1973 as he neared resignation due to scandal under the Nixon Administration; George H. W. Bush in 1987 as the Iran Contra scandal emerged; and Dick Cheney in 2007 as the second Bush Administration dealt with the Iraq War continuation. None of them gained any traction.
Impeachment motions against Cabinet officers and other federal officials have been mostly just a gesture, a threat, as with, for example, Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013; Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez in 2007; and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2004. Most recently threatened with impeachment is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the past few days, but unlikely to gain any traction, more used as a political ploy.
It is due to several federal district court judges, appointed by Republican Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, and Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, that the worst violations of the Constitution by Donald Trump have been prevented from being fulfilled.
On Trump’s travel bans against Muslims and others from several nations; on penalties against “sanctuary cities” which protect undocumented immigrants; and on banning transgender soldiers in the military, these judges have denounced the President for unconstitutional actions, and have been able to stop his destructive tendencies.
Eventually, the circuit courts and the Supreme Court will have to deal with much of the damage Trump has wrought, and there is no certainty of the outcome.
And Trump and the Republican Party in the Senate are in the process of ramming through a large number of judicial appointments, only needing 51 votes to confirm nominees.
These nominees in many cases are totally unqualified and augur a time of incompetent judges who will do great damage to the constitutional norms that Americans are accustomed to, including justice and equality of treatment under the law, which clearly, Donald Trump has no interest in enforcing.
This is another reason why the movement to force Donald Trump out of the Presidency as soon as possible is so significant for the health of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The move toward same sex marriage churns on, with federal judges having utilized the 14th Amendment in four “Red” states in the past two months now to end the discrimination against gays marrying.
So on Valentine’s Day, it now looks more evident than ever that a national Supreme Court decision is in the offing, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision in Lawrence V. Texas in 2003 igniting the gay civil rights movement, likely to be the fifth and decisive vote in any case that goes to the high Court!
Who would ever have thought that Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and now, newly turned “Blue” Virginia (the state of the Loving V. Virginia interracial marriage case in 1967), would see such rapid action to defy the bigots and the haters?
The federal courts have been the herald of the future in so much of modern history, as with Brown V. Board of Education on racial integration, and Roe V. Wade on abortion rights, and Lawrence V. Texas on gay rights, and the courage of federal district judges across the nation to push the Supreme Court toward a final determination of same sex marriage is an indication that often we have to leave it to appointed judges to lead us to our better side of human nature, the ending of discrimination and injustice!
Sadly, we see right wing evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons fighting a rear guard action, which only makes one realize the evils of these organized groups that have in the past been on the wrong side of many moral and ethical issues, overlooking slavery, segregation, women’s rights, and now gay rights. This is a losing battle long term, and these groups fighting against progress and human rights will pay the price in loss of membership by their willingness to fight a battle that is already lost!