13 June 2018

What Is All This Racket? R.I.C.O.

It's time to learn a new thing. I suspect this thing is going to loom large in the public arena in the near future. What is this thing, you ask? It's called RICO.

RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It is a federal law—meaning that it governs the whole country and not just one state—and can be found in the U.S. Code at 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968.

Essentially, what RICO does is criminalize organized crime. It gives federal prosecutors—U.S. Attorneys in the various federal districts and the Dept. of Justice—a tool to use against criminal organizations such as the mafia and gangs and cartels.

What is 'Racketeering'? you might ask. Racketeering includes a broad array of criminal activities including, but not limited to: murder, rape, kidnapping, gambling, prostitution, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, blackmail, fraud, obstruction of law enforcement or justice, abuses of the legal system (for example, to retaliate against whistleblowers), abuse of political office, witness tampering, forgery, and human or drug trafficking.

But if someone gets caught, say, extorting protection payments from a local bakery, why not simply prosecute them for that crime in the local court system? That's a good question. RICO provides at least two additional measures to deal with this sort of crime. First, the low-level hoods who are threatening the baker's livelihood might not be acting on their own. They might be reporting and funneling money up the chain to lieutenants who report to their captains who report to their bosses and so on as part of a larger organization or enterprise. RICO allows prosecutors to go after the upper level bosses who may, in the immortal words of Godfather 2, have "a lot of buffers" to protect them. It also allows them to break up these organizations.

Second, RICO makes this enterprise a FEDERAL crime. Many times, local police and prosecutors may not have either the resources or the political will to challenge a criminal organization. For example, to continue the Godfather analogy, the bosses may have local judges and police and politicians "in their pockets," making state or local prosecutions difficult, if not impossible.

RICO goes after the criminal organization or enterprise. To bring a criminal RICO case, a prosecutor must allege that defendants conducted or participated in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. This has been held to include four distinct elements: 1) The existence of an enterprise or an organization whose actions impact interstate commerce; 2) The defendants were employed by or otherwise associated with this enterprise; 3) The defendants participated, either directly or indirectly, in the conduct of the affairs of the enterprise; and 4) The defendants engaged in a "pattern" of racketeering activity (see above), that is to say at least two enumerated racketeering acts.

Remember: we're talking about criminal RICO here. There is also what's called civil RICO, a case that can be brought by victims of the racketeer. Donald J. Trump settled charges of civil RICO for $25 million dollars in the case of Trump University in 2016.

One of the big advantages of criminal RICO is its severe, some would say draconian, penalties. If found guilty of racketeering, a defendant faces fines up to $25,000 and incarceration of up to 20 years for EACH count. Not only that, a convicted racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through this pattern of racketeering activity. Victims of racketeering activity are entitled to treble damages—that is to say, damages three times the actual amount of proven actual damage.

To give you an idea of what sort of enterprises have been charged under RICO, Wikipedia lists a number of famous cases: Hells Angels, Catholic dioceses, the Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, Key West Police Dept., Michael Milken, Major League Baseball, Pro-Life activists, LAPD, Al Qaeda, Mohawk Industries, the Latin Kings, Gambino crime family, Lucchese crime family, the Chicago Outfit, Pennsylvania state judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella, lawyer Scott W. Rothstein, AccessHealthSource, FIFA, and Connecticut Senator Len Fasano. There are many others.

As I say, expect to hear a lot more about RICO in the coming weeks and months. Watch for it.

24 May 2018

Constitutional Grounds for Impeachment

As specified in the U.S. Constitution, the grounds for impeachment are: Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors. These have specific definitions in the law and their meanings and applications have been constructed over the years by the courts.

Treason is statutorily defined in 18 U.S. Code § 2381 as follows: "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States." A key word here is: "enemies", a term which implies an existing state of war.

Bribery is defined in the Common Law as follows: "The receiving or offering any undue reward by or to any person whomsoever, whose ordinary profession or business relates to the administration of public justice, in order to influence his behavior, and to incline him to act contrary to his duty and the known rules of honesty and integrity. Hall v. Marshall, 80 Ky. 552; Walsh v. People, 05 111. 05, 16 Am. Rep. 509; Com. v. Murray, 135 Mass. 530; Hutchinson v. State, 36 Tex. 294. The term 'bribery' now extends further, and includes the offense of giving a bribe to many other classes of officers; it applies both to the actor and receiver, and extends to voters, cabinet ministers, legislators, sheriffs, and other classes." A conviction for bribery often requires the existence of a specific quid pro quo or "something for something," a specific exchange of a political act or other official favor for something of value.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors is a term of legal art in common parlance at the time of the drafting of the Constitution and does not necessarily track with the modern sense of crimes and misdemeanors (e.g., shoplifting). As Alexander Hamilton noted at the time, this term refers to "...those offences 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." In other words, it is a catchall term for abuse of political power, a betrayal of the public trust, the obstruction or circumvention of justice, or even a failure to carry out the office holder's oath and duties of office. Historically, it has been applied to such diverse offenses as "misappropriating government funds, appointing unfit subordinates, not prosecuting cases, not spending money allocated by Parliament, promoting themselves ahead of more deserving candidates, threatening a grand jury, disobeying an order from Parliament, arresting a man to keep him from running for Parliament, losing a ship by neglecting to moor it, helping 'suppress petitions to the King to call a Parliament,' granting warrants without cause, and bribery"—not all of which are crimes under the law. Lindorff, Dave; Olshansky, Barbara (2006). The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press. p. 38.

23 May 2018

The Constitution of the United States: Impeachment Clauses

The Constitution, Article 1, Section 2:

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

----------
The Constitution, Article I, Section 3: 

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.


Judgment in Cases of Impeachments shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States, but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishment, according to Law.

---------
The Constitution, Article II, Section 4: 

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

[italics added]

22 May 2018

Historical Note: Articles of Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SENATE SITTING FOR
THE TRIAL OF ANDREW JOHNSON PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

On Articles of Impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives

[Note: The Senate voted on the eleven Articles submitted by the House of Representatives but failed to convict Johnson.]

    On Monday, February the 24th, 1868, the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States resolved to impeach Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors, of which the Senate was apprised and arrangements were made for the trial.  On Monday the 2d of March, articles of impeachment were agreed upon by the House of Representatives, and on the 4th they were presented to the Senate by the managers on the part of the House, who were accompanied by the House, the grand inquest of the nation, as a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union.  Mr. BINGHAM, chairman of the managers, read the articles as follows:

    Articles exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States, in the name of themselves and all the people of the United States, against Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, in maintenance and support of their impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.

ARTICLE I.

    That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, on the 21st day of February, in the year of our Lord, 1868, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, unmindful of the high duties of his office, of his oath of office, and of the requirement of the Constitution that he should take care that the laws be faithfully executed, did unlawfully and in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States issue and order in writing for the removal of Edwin M. Stanton from the office of Secretary for the Department of War, said Edwin M. Stanton having been theretofore duly appointed and commissioned, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, as such Secretary, and said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, on the 12th day of August, in the year of our Lord 1867, and during the recess of said Senate, having been suspended by his order Edwin M. Stanton from said office, and within twenty days after the first day of the next meeing of said Senate, that is to say, on the 12th day of December, in the year last aforesaid, having reported to said Senate such suspension, with the evidence and reasons for his action in the case and the name of the person designated to perform the duties of such office temporarily until the next meeting og the Senate, and said Senate thereafterward, on the 13th day of January, in the year of our Lord 1868, having duly considered the evidence and reasons reported by said Andrew Johnson for said suspension, and having been refused to concur in said suspension, whereby and by force of the provisions of an act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil offices," passed March 2, 1867, said Edwin M. Stanton did forthwith resume the functions of his office, whereof the said Andrew Johnson had then and there due notice, and siad Edwin Stanton, by reason of the premises, on said 21st day of February, being lawfully entitled to hold said office of Secretary for the Department of War, which said order for the removal of said Edwin M. Stanton is, in substance, as follows, that is to say:

                          EXECUTIVE MANSION,
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 21, 1868
    SIR: By virtue of the power and authority vested in me, as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, you are hereby removed from the office of Secretary for the Department of War,  and your functions as such will terminate upon receipt of their communication. You will transfer to Brevet Major-General L. Thomas, Adjutant-General of the Army, who has this day been authorized and empowered to act as Secretary of War ad interim, all books, paper and other public property now in your custody and charge.
Respectfully yours,     ANDREW JOHNSON.

Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War

Which order was unlawfully issued, and with intent then are there to violate the act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil office," passed March 2, 1867; and, with the further intent contrary to the provisions of said act, and in violation thereof, and contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and without the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, the said Senate then and there being in session, to remove said Edwin M. Stanton from the office of Secretary for the Department of War, the said Edwin M. Stanton being then and there Secretary of War, and being then and there in the due and lawful execution  of the duties of said office, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then and there commit, and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office.

ARTICLE II.

     That on the 21st day of February, in the year of our Lord 1868, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his office, of his oath of office, and in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and contrary to the provisions of an act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil offices," passed March 2, 1867, without the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, said Senate then and there being in session, and without authority of law, did, with intent to violate the Constitution of the United States and the act aforesaid, issue and deliver to one Lorenzo Thomas a letter of authority, in substance as follows, that is to say:

                          EXECUTIVE MANSION,
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 21, 1868
    SIR: The Hon. Edwin M. Stanton having been this day removed from office as Secretary for theDepartment of War, you are hereby authorized and empowered to act as Secretary of War ad interim, and will immediately enter upon the discharge of the duties pertaining to that office.
    Mr. Stanton has been instructed to transfer to you all the records, books, papers and other public property now in his custody and charge.
Respectfully yours,   ANDREW JOHNSON

To Brevet Major-General Lorenzo Thomas,Adjutant General United States Army, Washington, D.C.

Then and there being no vacancy in said office of Secretary for the Department of War:  whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then and there commit, and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office.

ARTICLE III.

    That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, on the 21st day of February,in the year of our Lord 1868, at Washington in the District of Columbia, did commit, and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office, in this, that, without authority of law, while the Senate of the United States was then and there in session, he didappoint one Lorenzo Thomas to be Secretary for the Department of War, ad interim, without the advice and consent of the Senate, and with intent to violate the Constitution of the United States, no vacancy having happened in said office of Secretary for the Department of War during the recess of the Senate, and no vacancy existing in said office at the time, and which said appointment so made by Andrew Johnson, of said Lorenzo Thomas is in substance as follows, that is to say:

                          EXECUTIVE MANSION,
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 21, 1868
    SIR: The Hon. Edwin M. Stanton having been this day removed from office as Secretary for theDepartment of War, you are hereby authorized and empowered to act as Secretary of War ad interim, and will immediately enter upon the discharge of the duties pertaining to that office.
    Mr. Stanton has been instructed to transfer to you all the records, books, papers and other public property now in his custody and charge.
Respectfully yours,   ANDREW JOHNSON

To Brevet Major-General Lorenzo Thomas,Adjutant General United States Army, Washington, D.C.

ARTICLE IV.

    That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his office, and of his oath of office, in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States,on the 21st day of February, in the year of our Lord 1868, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, did unlawfully conspire with one Lorenzo Thomas, and with other persons to the House of Representatives unknown, with intent by intimidation and threats unlawfully to hinder and prevent Edwin M. Stanton, then and there, the Secretary for the Department of War, duly appointed under the laws of the United States, from holding said office of Secretary for the Department of War, contrary to and in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and of the provisions of an act entitled "An act to define and punish certain conspiracies," approved July 31, 1861, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then and there commit and was guilty of high crime in office.

ARTICLE V.

    That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high dutiesof his office and of his oath of office, on the 21st of February, in the year of our Lord 1868, and on divers others days and time in said year before the 2d day of March, A.D. 1868, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, did unlawfully conspire with one Lorenzo Thomas, and with other persons in the House of Representatives unknown, to prevent and hinder the execution of an act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil office," passed March 2, 1867, and in pursuance of said conspiracy, did attempt to prevent Edwin M. Stanton, then and there being Secretary for the Department of War, duly appointed and commissioned under the laws of the United States, from holding said office, whereby the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then and there commit and was guilty of high misdemeanor in office.

ARTICLE VI.

     That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his office and of his oath of office, on the 21st day of February, in the year of our Lord 1868, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, did unlawfully conspire with one Lorenzo Thomas, by force to seize, take, and possess the property of the United Sates in the Department of War, and then and there in the custody and charge of Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary for said Department, contrary to the provisions of an act entitled "An act to define and punish certain conspiracies," approved July 31, 1861, and with intent to violate and disregard an act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil offices," passed March 2, 1867, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the UnitedStates, did then and there commit a high crime in office.

ARTICLE VII.

    That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high dutiesof his office, and of his oath of office, on the 21st day of February, in the year of our Lord 1868, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, did unlawfully conspire with one Lorenzo Thomas with intent unlawfully to seize, take, and possess the property of the United States in the Department of War, in the custody and charge of  Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of said Department, with intent to violate and disregard the act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil offices," passed March 2, 1867, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then and there commit a high misdemeanor in office.

ARTICLE VIII.

 That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his office and of his oath of office, with intent unlawfully to control the disbursements of the moneys appropriated for the military service and for the Department of War, on the 21st day of February, in the year of our Lord 1868, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, did unlawfully and contrary to the provisions of an act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil offices," passed March 2, 1867, and in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and without the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, and while the Senate was then and there in session, there being no vacancy in the office of Secretary for the Department of War, with intent to violate and disregard the the act aforesaid, then and there issue and deliver to one Lorenzo Thomas a letter of authority in writing, in substance as follows, that is to say:

                          EXECUTIVE MANSION,
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 21, 1868
    SIR: The Hon. Edwin M. Stanton having been this day removed from office as Secretary for theDepartment of War, you are hereby authorized and empowered to act as Secretary of War ad interim, and will immediately enter upon the discharge of the duties pertaining to that office.
    Mr. Stanton has been instructed to transfer to you all the records, books, papers and other public property now in his custody and charge.
Respectfully yours,   ANDREW JOHNSON

To Brevet Major-General Lorenzo Thomas,Adjutant General United States Army, Washington, D.C.

Whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then and there commit and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office.

ARTICLE IX.

    That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, on the 22nd day of February, in the year of our Lord 1868, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, in disregard of the Constitution and the laws of the United States, duly enacted,  as Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the United States, did bring before  himself, then and there William H. Emory, a Major-General by brevet in the Army of the United States, actually in command of the department of Washington, and the military forces thereof, and did and there, as such Commander-in-Chief, declare to, and instruct said Emory, that part of a law  of the United States, passed March 2, 1867, entitled "An act for making appropriations for the support of the army for the year ending June 30, 1868, and for other purposes," especially thesecond section thereof, which provides, among other things, that "all orders and instructions relating to military operations issued by the President or Secretary of War, shall be issued through the General of the Army, and, in case of his inability, through the next in rank," was unconstitutional, and  in contravention of the commission of  said Emory, and which said provision of law had been theretofore duly and legally promulgated by general order for the government and direction of the Army of the United States, as the said Andrew Johnson then and there well knew, with intent thereby to induce said Emory, in his official capacity as Commander of the department of Washington, to violate the provisions of said act, and to take and receive, act upon and obey such orders as he, the said Andrew Johnson, might make and give, and which should not be issued through the General of the Army of the United States, according to the provisions of said act, and with the further intent thereby to enable him, the daid Andrew Johnson, to prevent the execution of an act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil offices," passed March 2, 1867, and to unlawfully prevent Edwin M. Stanton, then being Secretary for the Department of War, from holding said office and discharging the duties thereof, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then and there commit, and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office.

ARTICLE X.

    That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his office and the dignity and proprieties thereof, and of the harmony and courtesies which ought to exist and be maintained between the executive and legislative branches of the Government of the United States, designing and intending to set aside the rightful authorities and powers of Congress, did attempt to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach the Congress of the United States, and the several branches thereof, to impair and destroy the regard and respect of all the good people of the United States for the Congress and legislative power thereof, (which all officers of the government ought inviolably to preserve and maintain,) and to excite the odium and resentment of all good people of the United States against Congress and the laws by it duly and constitutionally enacted; and in pursuance of his said design and intent, openly and publicly and before divers assemblages of citizens of the United States, convened in divers parts thereof, to meet and receive said Andrew Johnson as the Chief Magistrate of the United States, did, on the 18th day of August, in the year of our Lord 1866, and on divers other days and times, as well before as afterward, make and declare, with a loud voice certain intemperate, inflammatory, and scandalous harangues, and therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces, as well against Congress as the laws of the United States duly enacted thereby, amid the cries, jeers and laughter of the multitudes then assembled in hearing, which are set forth in the several specifications hereinafter written, in substance and effect, that it to say:

    Specification First. In this, that at Washington, in the District of Columbia, in the Executive Mansion, to a committee of citizens who called upon the President of the United States, speaking of and concerning the Congress of the United States, heretofore, to wit:  On the 18th day of August, in  the year of our Lord, 1866, in a loud voice, declare in substance and effect, among other things, that is to say:

    "So far as the Executive Department of the government is concerned, the effort has been made to restore the Union, to heal the breach, to pour oil into the wounds which were consequent upon the struggle, and, to speak in a common phrase, to prepare, as the learned and wise physician would, a plaster healing in character and co-extensive with the wound. We thought and we think that we had partially succeeded, but as the work progresses, as reconstruction seemed to be taking place, and the country was becoming reunited, we found a disturbing and moving element opposing it. In alluding to that element it shall go no further than your Convention, and the distinguished gentleman who has delivered the report of the proceedings, I shall make no reference that I do not believe, and the time and the occasion justify.
    "We have witnessed in one department of the government every endeavor to prevent the restoration of peace, harmony and union. We have seen hanging upon the verge of the government, as it were, a body called or which assumes to be the Congress of the United States, while in fact it is a Congress of only part of the States. We have seen this Congress pretend to be for the Union, when its every step and act tended to perpetuate disunion and make a disruption of States inevitable.
    "We have seen Congress gradually encroach, step by step, upon constitutional rights, and violate day after day, and month after month, fundamental principles of the government. We have seen a Congress that seemed to forget that there was a limit to the sphere and scope of legislation. We have seen a Congress in a minority assume to exercise power which, if allowed to be consummated, would result in despotism or monarchy itself."

    Specification Second. In this, that at Cleveland, in the State of Ohio, heretofore to wit: On the third day of September, in the year of our Lord, 1866, before a public assemblage of citizens and others, said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, speaking of and concerning the Congress of the United States, did, in a loud voice, declare in substance and effect, among other things, that is to say:

    “I will tell you what I did do? I called upon your Congress that is trying to break up the Government."

*   *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
   "In conclusion, beside that Congress had taken much pains to poison the constituents against him, what has Congress done? Have they done anything to restore the union of the States? No: On the contrary, they had done everything to prevent it: and because he stood now where he did when the rebellion commenced, he had been denounced as a traitor.  Who had run greater risks or made greater sacrifices than himself? But Congress, factions and domineering, had undertaken to poison
the minds of the American people."

    Specification Third. In this case, that at St. Louis, in the State of Missouri, heretofore to wit: On the 8th day of September, in the year of our Lord 1866, before a public assemblage of citizens and others, said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, speaking of acts concerning the Congress of the United States, did, in a loud voice, declare in substance and effect, among other things, that is to say:

    "Go on, perhaps if you had a word or two on the subject of New Orleans you might understand more about it than you do, and if you will go back and ascertain the cause of the riot at New Orleans,  perhaps you will not be so prompt in calling out "New Orleans." If you will take up the riot of New Orleans and trace it back to its source and its immediate cause, you will find out who was responsible for the blood that was shed there. If you will take up the riot at New Orleans and trace it back to the Radical Congress, you will find that the riot at New Orleans was substantially planned. If you will take up the proceedings in their caucuses you will understand that they knew that a convention was to be called which was extinct by its powers having expired; that it was said that the intention was that a new government was to be organized, and on the organization of that government the intention was to enfranchise one portion of the population, called the colored population, and who had been emancipated, and at the same time disfranchise white men. When you design to talk about New Orleans you ought to understand what you are talking about. When you read the speeches that were made, and take up the facts on the Friday and Saturday before that convention sat, you will find that speeches were made incendiary in their character, exciting that portion of the population? the black population? to arm themselves and prepare for the shedding of blood. You will also find that convention did assemble in violation of law, and the intention of that convention was to supersede the organized authorities in the State of Louisiana, which had been organized by the government of the United States, and every man engaged in that rebellion, in the convention, with the intention of superseding and upturning the civil government which had been recognized by the Government of the United States, I say that he was a traitor to the Constitution of the United States, and hence you find that another rebellion was commenced, having its origin in the Radical Congress.

*   *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
    "So much for the New Orleans riot. And there was the cause and the origin of the blood that was shed, and every drop of blood that was shed is upon their skirts and they are responsible. I could test this thing a little closer, but will not do it here to-night. But when you talk about the causes and consequences that resulted from proceedings of that kind, perhaps, as I have been introduced here and you have provoked questions of this kind, though it does not provoke me, I will tell you a few wholesome things that have been done by this Radical Congress in connection with New Orleans and the extension of the elective franchise.
   " I know that I have been traduced and abused. I know it has come in advance of me here, as elsewhere, that I have attempted to exercise an arbitrary power in resisting laws that were intended to be forced upon the government; that I had exercised that power; that I had abandoned the party that elected me, and that I was a traitor, because I exercised the veto power in attempting, and did arrest for a time, that which was called a "Freedmen’s Bureau" bill. Yes, that I was a traitor. And I have been traduced; I have been slandered; I have been maligned; I have been called Judas Iscariot, and all that. Now, my countrymen, here to-night, it is very easy to indulge in epithets; it is easy to call a man a Judas, and cry out traitor, but when he is called upon to give arguments and facts he is very often found wanting. Judas Iscariot? Judas! There was a Judas, and he was one of the twelve Apostles. O, yes, the twelve Apostles had a Christ, and he never could have had a Judas unless he had twelve Apostles. If I have played the Judas who has been my Christ that I have played the Judas with? Was it Thad. Stevens? Was it Wendell Phillips? Was it Charles Sumner? They are the men that stop and compare themselves with the Savior, and everybody that differs with them in opinion, and tries to stay and arrest their diabolical and nefarious policy is to be denounced as a Judas."

*   *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
   "Well, let me say to you, if you will stand by me in this action, if you will stand by me in trying to give the people a fair chance? soldiers and citizens? to participate in these office, God be willing, I will kick them out. I will kick them out just as fast as I can.
    "Let me say to you, in concluding, that what I have said is what I intended to say; I was not provoked into this, and care not for their menaces, the taunts and the jeers. I care not for threats, I do not intend to be bullied by enemies, nor erawed by my friends. But, God willing, with your help, I will veto their measures whenever any of them come to me."

    Which said utterances, declarations, threats and harangues, highly censurable in any, are peculiarly indecent and unbecoming in the Chief Magistrate of the United States, by means whereof the said Andrew Johnson has brought the high office of the President of the United States into contempt, ridicule and disgrace, to the great scandal of all good citizens, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did commit, and was then and there guilty of a high misdemeanor in office.


ARTICLE XI.

    That the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his office and of his oath of office, and in disregard of the Constitution and laws of the United States, did, heretofore, to wit: On the 18th day of August, 1866, at the city of Washington, and in the District of Columbia, by public speech, declare and affirm in substance, that the Thirty-Ninth Congress of the United States was not a Congress of the United States authorized by the Constitution to exercise legislative power under the same; but, on the contrary, was a Congress of only part of the States, thereby denying and intending to deny, that the legislation of said Congress was valid or obligatory upon him, the said Andrew Johnson, except in so far as he saw fit to approve the same, and also thereby denying the power of the said Thirty-Ninth Congress to propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States. And in pursuance of said declaration, the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, afterwards, to wit: On the 21st day of February, 1868, at the city of Washington, D.C., did, unlawfully and in disregard of the requirements of the Constitution that he should take care that the laws be faithfully executed, attempt to prevent the execution of an act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil office," passed March 2, 1867, by unlawfully devising and contriving and attempting to devise and contrive means by which he should prevent Edwin M. Stanton from forthwith resuming the functions of the office of Secretary for the Department of War, notwithstanding the refusal of the Senate to concur in the suspension therefore made by the said Andrew Johnson of said Edwin M. Stanton from said office of Secretary for the Department of War; and also by further unlawfully devising and contriving, and attempting to devise and contrive, means then and there to prevent the execution of an act entitled "An act making appropriations for the support of the army for the fiscal year ending June 30,1868, and for other purposes," approved March 2, 1867. And also to prevent the execution of an act entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March 2, 1867. Whereby the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then, to wit: on the 21st day of February, 1868, at the city of Washington, commit and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office.

21 May 2018

Historical Note: Articles of Impeachment of William J. Clinton

Resolution Impeaching William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Resolved, that William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.

[Note: The full House of Representatives debated the Articles and voted to pass only Articles I and III. Clinton was impeached, but the Senate failed to convict him on the Articles.


ARTICLE I

In his conduct while President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has willfully corrupted and manipulated the judicial process of the United States for his personal gain and exoneration, impeding the administration of justice, in that:

On August 17, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth before a Federal grand jury of the United States. Contrary to that oath, William Jefferson Clinton willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury concerning one or more of the following: (1) the nature and details of his relationship with a subordinate Government employee; (2) prior perjurious, false and misleading testi mony he gave in a Federal civil rights action brought against him; (3) prior false and misleading statements he allowed his attorney to make to a Federal judge in that civil rights action; and (4) his corrupt efforts to influence the testimony of witnesses and to impede the discovery of evidence in that civil rights action.

In doing this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

Article I passed on a 21-16 vote.


ARTICLE II

In his conduct while President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has willfully corrupted and manipulated the judicial process of the United States for his personal gain and exoneration, impeding the administra tion of justice, in that:

(1) On December 23, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton, in sworn answers to written questions asked as part of a Federal civil rights action brought against him, willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony in response to questions deemed relevant by a Federal judge concerning conduct and proposed conduct with subordinate employees.

(2) On January 17, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton swore under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in a deposition given as part of a Federal civil rights action brought against him. Contrary to that oath, William Jefferson Clinton willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony in response to questions deemed relevant by a Federal judge concerning the nature and details of his relationship with a subordinate Government employee, his knowledge of that employee's involvement and participation in the civil rights action brought against him, and his corrupt efforts to influence the testimony of that employee.

In all of this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

Article II passed on a 20-17 vote.


ARTICLE III

In his conduct while President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, and has to that end engaged personally, and through his subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or scheme designed to delay, impede, cover up, and conceal the existence of evidence and testimony related to a Federal civil rights action brought against him in a duly instituted judicial proceeding.

The means used to implement this course of conduct or scheme included one or more of the following acts:

(1) On or about December 17, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton corruptly encouraged a witness in a Federal civil rights action brought against him to execute a sworn affidavit in that proceeding that he knew to be perjurious, false and misleading.

(2) On or about December 17, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton corruptly encouraged a witness in a Federal civil rights action brought against him to give perjurious, false and misleading testimony if and when called to testify personally in that proceeding.

(3) On or about December 28, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton corruptly engaged in, encouraged, or supported a scheme to conceal evidence that had been subpoenaed in a Federal civil rights action brought against him.

(4) Beginning on or about December 7, 1997, and continuing through and including January 14, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton intensified and succeeded in an effort to secure job assistance to a witness in a Federal civil rights action brought against him in order to corruptly prevent the truthful testimony of that witness in that proceeding at a time when the truthful testimony of that witness would have been harmful to him.

(5) On January 17, 1998, at his deposition in a Federal civil rights action brought against him, William Jefferson Clinton corruptly allowed his attorney to make false and misleading statements to a Federal judge characterizing an affidavit, in order to prevent questioning deemed relevant by the judge. Such false and misleading statements were subsequently acknowledged by his attorney in a communication to that judge.

(6) On or about January 18 and January 20-21, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton related a false and misleading account of events relevant to a Federal civil rights action brought against him to a potential witness in that proceeding, in order to corruptly influence the testimony of that witness.

(7) On or about January 21, 23 and 26, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton made false and misleading statements to potential witnesses in a Federal grand jury proceeding in order to corruptly influence the testimony of those witnesses. The false and misleading statements made by William Jefferson Clinton were repeated by the witnesses to the grand jury, causing the grand jury to receive false and misleading information.

In all of this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

Article III passed on a 21-16 vote.


ARTICLE IV

Using the powers and influence of the office of President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has engaged in conduct that resulted in misuse and abuse of his high office, impaired the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, and contravened the authority of the legislative branch and the truth-seeking purpose of a coordinate investigative proceeding in that, as President, William Jefferson Clinton, refused and failed to respond to certain written requests for admission and willfully made perjurious, false and misleading sworn statements in response to certain written requests for admission propounded to him as part of the impeachment inquiry authorized by the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States.

William Jefferson Clinton, in refusing and failing to respond, and in making perjurious, false and misleading statements, assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives and exhibited contempt for the inquiry.

In doing this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

Article IV passed on a 21-16 vote.

20 May 2018

Historical Note: Articles of Impeachment re: Richard M. Nixon

This is the full text of the Articles of Impeachment adopted by the House Judiciary Committee on July 27, 1974.

Note: The articles of impeachment were passed only by the Committee on the Judiciary. They were never voted on in the full House of Representatives. Nixon was not impeached.

ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT

RESOLVED, That Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanours, and that the following articles of impeachment to be exhibited to the Senate: 

ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT EXHIBITED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN THE NAME OF ITSELF AND OF ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AGAINST RICHARD M. NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF ITS IMPEACHMENT AGAINST HIM FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOURS.

ARTICLE 1

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his consitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that:

On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.

The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan included one or more of the following:

1.  making false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;
2.  withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;
3.  approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counselling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings;
4.  interfering or endeavouring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and Congressional Committees;
5.  approving, condoning, and acquiescing in, the surreptitious payment of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses, potential witnesses or individuals who participated in such unlawful entry and other illegal activities;
6.  endeavouring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States;
7.  disseminating information received from officers of the Department of Justice of the United States to subjects of investigations conducted by lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States, for the purpose of aiding and assisting such subjects in their attempts to avoid criminal liability;
8.  making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct: or
9.  endeavouring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favoured treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Adopted 27-11 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, at 7.07pm on Saturday, 27th July, 1974, in Room 2141 of the Rayburn Office Building, Washington D.C.


ARTICLE 2

Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.

This conduct has included one or more of the following:

1.  He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
2.  He misused the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and other executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.
3.  He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, authorized and permitted to be maintained a secret investigative unit within the office of the President, financed in part with money derived from campaign contributions, which unlawfully utilized the resources of the Central Intelligence Agency, engaged in covert and unlawful activities, and attempted to prejudice the constitutional right of an accused to a fair trial.
4.  He has failed to take care that the laws were faithfully executed by failing to act when he knew or had reason to know that his close subordinates endeavoured to impede and frustrate lawful inquiries by duly constituted executive, judicial and legislative entities concerning the unlawful entry into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, and the cover-up thereof, and concerning other unlawful activities including those relating to the confirmation of Richard Kleindienst as Attorney General of the United States, the electronic surveillance of private citizens, the break-in into the offices of Dr. Lewis Fielding, and the campaign financing practices of the Committee to Re-elect the President.
5.  In disregard of the rule of law, he knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division, and the Office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, of the Department of Justice, and the Central Intelligence Agency, in violation of his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Adopted 28-10 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

ARTICLE 3

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgment as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Adopted 21-17 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

22 March 2018

Utah-ing: Galactic Disappointment

Had a chance to make a quick jaunt out to Utah. Wisdoc (ATL) and Wisdaughter (LA) wanted to meet up for a ski weekend. Now, I can ski; it's just that I have a bit of trouble stopping, and I'm getting to the point in my life where I don't really like to fall much. So I decided to find other adventures. I had hoped—and planned—to spend one night in what's called a Dark Sky Park (no light pollution) and try to take photos of the Milky Way galactic center which rises in March around 3:00 am. Unfortunately for me but luckily for the girls, it snowed every night. Did not venture out much after dark, but I found a few other interesting sites within a couple hours drive of Park City to take the cameras out for a trot.

Saltaire Music Venue near Great Salt Lake State Park. (Olympus OM-D E-M5; Olympus 17mm lens 1:1.8; polarized filter)
The Great Salt Lake
Antelope Island State Park in the middle of the Great Salt Lake—the Dark Sky Park where I was hoping to take my shot at the galactic center.
The Tree of Life: Roadside Attraction at Mile Marker 26 on I-80 going west, on the north side of the highway. (iPhone X)
Even Atlas Obscura isn't quite sure what this thing is supposed to be. 
Bonneville Salt Flats at the last Rest Area on I-80 in Utah before getting to Nevada.
Propping my iPhone X on the salt, foregrounding a rock. Bonneville Salt Flats. Click the pic to enlarge and see the granules of salt. It was a hard, solid crust.
Bonneville Salt Flat speedway off Exit 4. Flooded. Water's about 1" deep all the way to the horizon.
A group of University of Utah students doing a film shoot.
Obviously I found them to be a great subject.
Same.
Same.
Emerald colored lake. I-80.
Same with cool vanishing point.
The next day I went snowmobiling. First time. 5" fresh powder!!
Scene from 9000'.
Rest stop cabin at 9000'.
Literally the most adorable diner ever. Imported from New England. National Historic Register. Oakley, UT. Great lunch after snowmobile morning, btw!!
Wisdaughter on the streets of Park City. Last night.

05 January 2018

Desert Hiking, Coachella Valley

Now that the holidays are over, I have time (and energy) to post some pix from my other* hikes in/around the Coachella Valley.

Enjoy!! (As always, click pics to embiggen.)

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*Other, that is, than the two hikes up in Joshua Tree for which see previous post.
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Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve: Welcome Center
"Hey guys, wait up! I'm trying to take some pictures here!" Desert hiking is different.
Palm Oasis plus distant San Andreas fault lines.
Only California native palm species. Ancient.
I thought those long frond things were called skirts or aprons. But no! They're called petticoats.
Palm Oasis
Wind farm on the Coachella Valley floor (400' elev) looking up to Mount San Jacinto (8500' elev)
View south across Palm Springs toward Mexico from Mount San Jacinto State park.
Hiking Mount San Jacinto. To get up here, you take a tram that rises from approx. 3000' elevation to the top!
Alpine Meadow
Yet another palm oasis. This one in Indian Canyons on the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of the  Cahuilla Indians.
Oasis.
Note how the petticoats have been burned off the trunks. Wild fires swept through here a few years back, but these trees withstood it.
It's a good guess there's water underground around there. Denuded, unburnt stand of palms.
Western hiking, yo!
Jim H. of the desert