Congress, Johnson, Edwin Stanton discussed on

KQED Radio
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Well as you point out congress disagreed with president johnson about a great many things it also wanted to keep edwin stanton in office as secretary of war to enforce its policies congress passed the tenure of office act over the president's veto was the goal of that act to preserve stanton in office or to set up grounds for impeachment it was really both it was also to just hamstring the president had by the time it was adopted there was open warfare between the president and congress they had passed a number of major bills over his veto state sometimes he would veto them and they would pass it over his veto in the same day and with this sort of new structure the tenure of office act it really prevented him from firing any senior officials without the senate's agreement the vote in the house of representatives where you just need a majority to impeach was not close so the case then goes to the united states senate tell us about another major player there this would be the chief justice who presided over the trial salmon chase well he was a man with plenty of political ambitions of his own he aspired to run for president honestly for either party whoever would happen and so he was a bit of a wildcard during the trial although the ultimate consensus is that he he behaved reasonably well it was a real trial not at all like the clinton preceding that we saw witnesses were troop in they were examined they were cross examined and it went on for days and days and then there's the chief prosecutor from the house benjamin butler who i think is still remembered in parts of the south as beast butler he is he sometimes he's called spoons butler because he was accused of having stolen the silver a mansion he occupied as a soldier he was an intelligent man but not a man of high moral fiber and he was much mistrusted and he was very unfortunate choice to be the chief prosecutor he'd also tried the case quite poorly he got very much lost in the weeds and he lost sight of the fact that an impeachment of a president is really at the end of the day not a factual argument because in any situation like that the facts are known they've been in the.

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