The process of attempting to impeach a president is a national trauma envisioned by Alexander Hamilton, who predicted in Federalist no. 65 (one of his essays promoting the new Constitution) in which he wrote of any attempt to impeach a president: “The prosecution of them will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties, more or less friendly or inimical, to the accused. In many cases, it will connect itself with the preexisting factions, and will enlist all their animosities, particularities, influence and interest on one side, or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger, that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”

Most of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 felt giving Congress the right to impeach the President was an obvious move. Included in the Constitution as the criteria for impeachment is: “treason, bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” They thought it evident — it meant crimes against the state, not personal crimes.

Despite numerous impeachment investigations and votes to impeach a number of Presidents by The House, only two Presidents in US History have been impeached by the House, Presidents Andrew Johnson and William Clinton. Neither was convicted in the Senate and therefore not removed from office. Johnson was acquitted in the Senate by one vote.

Every President elected since 1980 has been the subject of at least one resolution introduced into Congress with the purpose of impeachment. None have been removed from office. Nixon resigned before impeachment.

The Constitution makes impeachment and especially removal from office very difficult. First, the House of Representatives has to pass articles of impeachment — a list of charges — by a majority vote. At that point the president has been impeached, but he has not yet been removed from office. The case then goes to the Senate, which convenes itself as a court and hears evidence on both sides. The Senate then must vote to convict the president by a two-thirds majority for him to be removed from office.

How should we respond to the efforts? From the most unlikely of sources comes the best suggestion. ABC News reported Nancy Pelosi said “we must be prayerful.”

You may not like the man, but there is a lot to like about his policies. You can like the song without liking the singer.

Speaker of the House Pelosi would not have brought the impeachment proceedings to the House without prior belief she has the votes to pass it. So if there is a vote it will likely be to impeach. However, there is little chance the Senate will vote by two-thirds to remove him form office.

That is known. If so, what is the purpose. It is to bring into the open every negative thing possible to make the president look bad with the hopes it will lead to his defeat in the election.

Why is there such an effort to remove him from office? First, there is just a general disdain for him. They don’t like him. Second, they know if he is reelected some very well known people are likely to go to prison. Therefore to avoid this and protect them, he and Attorney General Barr must go.

Let’s do what Pelosi has said we need to do: pray.

The Rev. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.


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