Congress, Andrew Johnson, Donald Trump discussed on Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes


It's funny too because I feel like these thought. Experiments on some level there hypotheticals but they're also kind of the conceptual L. Region that we now inhabit all the time. which is you know during the hearing they were talking about answering who was a career foreign service official who had been dispatched to the Ukrainian embassador and everyone everyone was saying correctly? The president can hire and fire ambassadors. They can president can recall ambassador absolutely but then my response was right but if it was because she refused to sleep with him then I mean yes constitutionally could but that would be an abuse of power like you have to have romantic relations with me or calling you we would all be like okay. I guess constitutionally has the power to do that but that's not cool. Yeah and in some ways. It's like everything that fits in this category of like a thing that's unthinkable or thing that like you constitutionally have the power to do but shouldn't or it violate something deep about the trust of the office is the category that we end up having impeachment. Deal right well. That's true about presidents residents right so the impeachment language in the constitution applies to the president vice president and all civil officers of the United States. So we have very small set of presidential impeachments in our history and a pretty small set of impeachments overall but the overall says of course larger. So we've impeached Supreme Court justice and a cabinet secretary and actually a senator. Although it's now very much the position that you have to expel senator if you want to elect a senator in the house not removed in the Senate then expelled him but yeah no. It's one of the president's started. We're talking about how Adam Schiff should be impeached. Everyone's like adult. You can't impeach a member of Congress it was one of the few moments now. I was like well. You know he has kind of a point which is at least the founding generation. We need the same mistake. They thought well like yeah. That's how you get rid of an office anyway. So no he's wrong. By the way there's an amazing little snapshot of the Digital Labor in our household were like I have opinion. That kid has knowledge. That's that's wild. So they actually did. There was a senator impeached And a a cabinet secretary and a bunch of federal judges and so I think there've been something like nineteen impeachments over. Also you know fourteen or fifteen of them have been federal judges. A lot of them have engaged in bribery type crimes crimes but they typically get charge as high crimes misdemeanors but back to your point about why we go so often to the criminal code to the president can't be criminally charged right. At least that's the sort of largely really settled understanding but judges can and so some of these judges get charged criminally and then impeached. And so the way you described their misconduct tracks. The criminal offense sized raised because they've already been either charged convicted investigated for engaging in this bribery type conduct and so it makes sense that impeachment language would look like the criminal context context language but of course that's not the case of presidents so the set of impeachments is a small one man. We've got four impeach an increase of presidents and we've only got to actual impatience happen the first one we did a whole podcast about it with Brennan Wine Apple. Who wrote that book which you and I have both read? And there's a bunch of stuff that's interesting about ended on one. Is that like they have to figure out the procedure. They have to figure out like they're doing all of it for the first time. There's very little for them to work off of for precedent. Even though there's been other impeachments there hasn't been a president but there's one article of impeachment. That is the most interesting to me that gets the least historical attention I think which is what you've been writing about. Yeah so I really don't feel like going to hijack this podcast is like a little advertisement for my law review article. No yeah that's what you're here for. But so right. So I'm writing this article. Real Division self-promotion uh-huh. I'm reading this article about the role of speech in previous impeachment efforts so I started just kind of reading about impeachment history over the summer which was obviously fortuitous. Because I'm pretty steep at least the secondary literature and I'm not a historian so I read someone up all of the primary sources but I was just curious how the Congress's that have considered and then actually taken steps impeach. Previous presidents have thought about the president's speech and the role of presidential speech in those impeachment effort so they Andrew Johnson impeachment. Effort was on its surface largely about in the articles focused on Johnson's violation of the statute called the tenure of office act which required him. MM to obtain Senate consent before firing cabinet secretary so he in violation of the statute fired his worst secretary who he had inherited from Lincoln. You've been Lincoln's War Secretary Edwin Stanton and so ten of the twelve articles against Andrew Johnson. Really focus on that violation but then two of them and in particular. The tenth article are totally different and the tenth. The article is really about Johnson's. Public speeches and in particular has attacks in public on Congress is accused of these intemperate harangues peculiarly indecent and unbecoming the Chief Magistrate of the United States in article. Ten intemperate harangues. He's Tim for intemperate harangues literally. They did Among other things so oh I think kind of deep points that Brenda wine making this book. The teacher's is the conduct described in article. Ten and article. Eleven and so ten is about his public speech in eleven is really kind one of more broadly about his kind of thwarting of reconstruction right. That's a little bit more explicit an article eleven but that those are the things he was really impeached for that the tenure of office act was an excuse abuse and it was an error in misstep on the part of the Republican Congress to try to execute this narrow and formalistic legalistic impeachment meant rather than sort of forthrightly. Tell the country why they believe Johnson was unfit to remain in office. But there are glimpses of maybe the true motivations nations that you can find an article ten and eleven and so ten is really the thing I focus on in that part of and some of the speech I mean just to be clear like he was by all accounts drunk. He was a demagogue he would get up in front of crowds in his staff would try to stop him from getting crowds because he will get worked up and say anything including when he did this disastrous tour around the country for the midterms which is famously called the swing around the circle. You you've gotten from crowds and they would yell at him about the massacres. That had happened in the South Against Union loyalists and African Americans and they would say you know. Hang Jefferson Davis. He would yell back then. Then why don't you hang thaddeus Stevens like that Stevens. A sitting member of Congress and the President of the United States yelling at a mob. Like why don't you hang that Stevens is like I would say even by the Donald Trump standards probably more extreme than anything. Donald Trump has said more explicit. I think that's right. I mean it does feel like incitement and reform a legal terms right sort of you. You know that kind of encouragement gohmert action and so he does this at a couple of stops on this swing around the circle. Interestingly and I've never been able to figure this out those those sentences like those particular statements are Actually Not specifically enumerated in article. Ten kind of the more general anti-congress rhetoric that he has brought Congress. Right this coequal branch. The government into disrepute and the sort of unpresidential tenor of his rhetoric is very much. What is being described in article ten and so those beaches are very much encompassed within it? I WanNa talk about the parallels between the first presidential impeachment of Andrew Johnson. And what we're seeing now with trump right after we take this break the meet the press. Chuck Todd Cast. It's an insider's take on politics. The two thousand election more candid conversations with some of my favorite reporters about things. We usually discuss off camera. Listen for free. Wherever were you? Get Your podcast. Hey Everyone Steve Kornacki here. We have heard explosive testimony from key witnesses in the public impeachment hearings. So what's next as the case for impeachment Ben made could the president count on Republican support in a Senate trial. And how could it affect the twenty twenty election..

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