Impeachment Jan. 13, 2021

POST-NOTE Jan 15, 2021: Words seem irrelevant now, at least to a general audience.  These words are written early Friday morning, Jan. 15, 2021.  Inauguration Day for the President of the United States is January 20.  Overnight came the most recent summary of what is happening in our country, and for those who actually read other than conspiracy theories, I encourage you to take the time to read, and actively reflect, on Suddenly America, here.   America is better than this.  Today, I’ll add some thoughts on impeachment at the end of this post as well.

Directly related posts Jan. 15 (two posts):Q-anon, et al“, and Covid-19 vaccine; and Jan. 6 (the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol).


Jan. 13, 2021: This afternoon the House of Representatives concluded the 2nd impeachment of Donald Trump.  For the moment, this is simply a placeholder for later comments.

Impeachments of Presidents are a rare occurrence.  Apparently Trump has half of the Presidential impeachments in U.S. history, and is the only President to be impeached more than once.  (Nixon resigned before being impeached in 1974; Bill Clinton was impeached in 1999; Andrew Johnson in 1868.)

Here is an article about U.S. President impeachments.  More information about the Jan.13, 2021, impeachment and followup will be added here from time to time.  Check back.

Jan. 14, 2021:  The first comment to this was posted overnight by John, below. Count Him Out, Just Above Sunset, was in my e-mail box when I awoke at 4:30 a.m.

Personally, I feel this impeachment was one of the most crucial and in the long run the most important decision in the history of our country.  We can now begin to recover.

Somebody yesterday said that letting the President off with little more than good riddance, and moving towards  reconciliation without other action like the impeachment would be tantamount to inviting the arsonist to help rebuild the house he had just burned down.

Heather Cox Richardson “Letters from an American Jan. 13 2021


Brief Thoughts on Impeachment, Jan. 15, 2021.

To my knowledge there have been four Impeachments of a President of the United States.  (Richard Nixon was never impeached: he resigned and then was pardoned by Gerald Ford.). That occurred in August, 1974, and I remember those days very well.  A group of us at a leadership conference at the College of St. Benedict watched Nixon’s resignation speech on TV in the Commons area of the dormitory in which we were staying.  As I recall, we were – all of us – a very sober group.  Gerald Ford was vice-president because he’d replaced Spiro Agnew, who had resigned the previous year under less than honorable circumstances.  Ford had been Speaker of the House of Representatives.  Later I saw him in person in August of 1975, at the Marriott near what is now the Mall of America in Minneapolis.  My 11-year old son, and possibly my 6-year old daughter, and a. couple of neighbor kids came along.  Here’s my picture from that day, only a rope line between us (you can see the very top of my sons head).  Three Secret Service men were around the President.  Those were different times.  Ford was a decent man, not of my party, but deserving of respect.

Gerald Ford Aug. 19, 1975, Bloomington MN.

The other Presidential Impeachments?  I wasn’t around yet when Andrew Johnson was impeached in Feb. 1878.  That story is easily accessed.

Bill Clinton was impeached in December, 1998, (perjury, about an affair) after a year of endless investigation which we all were subjected in most every days news.  Sex sells….  As a citizen, I took my own position on this case, which you can read here, if you wish: Clinton Impeachment001.  He wasn’t convicted.

Recently, inadvertently, I came across two contemporaneous archival notes about this case.  The first was early this month when I decided to re-listen to a set of 4 CD’s of former President Jimmy Carter teaching Sunday school in Plains GA in Jan. 1998 (Carter taught hundreds of these classes which attracted people from everywhere.)  In one of these tapes, he talked about going to Washington to meet with President Clinton about current national and world events; not directly spoken but obvious to everyone, was the Impeachment of his predecessor. Carter’s  messages  in those four  Sunday  mornings  focused  on St. Paul and reconciliation.  You probably can purchase this set on-line.  It is worth your time.  Carter’s message should resonate today.

Carter was one of those who define the gold standard of U.S. Presidents for me.

Secondly, this week, literally, I decided to re-listen to another set of audio tapes, these from the 25th anniversary collection of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion.   On Jan. 9, 1999, he did his monologue on the childhood thrill of blowing up Cowpies in pastures, but the essence of the story was the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, just beginning in Washington.

I fairly often sat in the audience at live Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul and we were – dare I say? – “populists” of a different sort than are recognized today.  We knew rural roots, we were Keillor’s base.  This Cowpies story, now 22 years old, was about the impeachment without a specific direct word.  Everybody in the audience knew exactly what he was talking about – the scandal had been milked by Clinton’s enemies for over a year.  And the audience was with Keillor on the absurdity of it all.  (The next month Clinton was found not guilty, and life went on, and he was more popular, even, than he had been before.)

Which brings us to Donald Trump. the first President in American History to be impeached twice, we are living within this story, as I speak.

Personally, I took a position as a citizen on the first Trump impeachment in early September, 2019.  It was a brief letter, hand-delivered to the office of my Congressperson in St. Paul. Here is a later letter referring to the first: Trump Impeachment.

I would ask the reader to note only a couple of things:

First, I was not, and Congress did not, race into impeachment of Donald Trump.  Some would say Congress waited too long, then.  Not I. When I delivered that citizen letter to the Congresswoman’s office, the House of Representatives was nearing decision time; and the next few months will live on, and none of us best forget what happened.

The current impeachment is happening in real time, and we are deciding our own future as a civilized society.  ur civil society is at risk.  I hope for a good decision by all of us.

There is the old saying, “you reap what you sow”.

COMMENTS (more at end of post): 

from long-time friend in London (more of this letter at Q-anon post Jan 15): I hope 2021 has started well for you & yours.

Lovely picture of president Ford with your son’s head!

I too think as you wrote president Carter “was one of those who define the gold standard of U.S. Presidents”. I remember him asking all to lower their thermostats in winter to save on fuel during that crisis & I thought he himself would be doing the same – & not slinking to some posh mansion (now we think of Mar-a-Lago or golf courses!).

from the Financial Times, UK

To be impeached once is serious but twice is unique – reminds me of the ever witty Oscar Wilde: “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” This is much worse than carelessness, although that is evident in much of Trump’s impromptu speeches as well, it is breaking the law & the constitution the president swore to uphold. The world expects no less from US democracy than upholding the law. The fact that some members of the House & the Senate are scared that extremists will do them harm is not an excuse: that is letting threats & terrorism win.

There is also the concern that there will be a much smarter & harder working populist president who will further damage institutions & democracy. Indeed his son, his daughter & his daughter in law are all thinking of running for political positions & they all hold similar views. Perhaps convicting him in the Senate will send them a message and encourage them to change direction and do something useful with their lives instead of spreading lies and conspiracy theories.

L.I.T. (that’s not “lazy incompetent Trump” & throw in the UK prime minister for good measure), but Law, Immigration & Trade, three pillars which have supported US prosperity and political health. Trump has sought to disrupt all three.

Congress should send a powerful message and not just a rap on the knuckles.  (letter continues in Q-anon post 1-16)

 from Steve, Jan. 15: His comments would fit with any of the recent posts about what is going on in our state and nation.

Several years ago, a student asked me : “in which period of history would you choose, if you had your choice?”.
“I think the years of my life have been the most fascinating of recorded history,” I answered. Maybe that’s because information travels so quickly now and over such distance–if you want, you can watch events in another part of the world as they happen–or in another part of the galaxy. It’s hard to miss anything now, as opposed to those days when news travelled only as quickly as a horse and rider or a ship sailing by the wind. The news of the last few days, and the anticipation of then next few months, have me a little baffled. News of protest, challenge and insurrection were right in front of us, just as I saw a man walk on the moon or the events of 9/11. How did all of this come about? Each one took my breath away. I don’t think we’ve recovered from the horror of hijacked airplanes attacking buildings in New York and Washington. The astounding accomplishment of sending people into space, landing in another part of the universe seemed an enactment of science fiction, a marvelous accomplishment of the mind and technology. I haven’t gotten over seeing that happen.
And now an assault on our history. I don’t think we’ll get over this for a very long time–maybe ever. Recognizing the division in our society, the vulnerability of our institutions, and the vindictive nature of those who feel as if they’ve been ignored or cheated, and are willing to assail the institutions of our government, is frightening. It took the breath away from many of us. Luckily, the habits and intentions of most of our elected representatives survived. and so did our government.
What happens next? How should this president be admonished, held accountable, for his political behavior and actions? If a Senate trial could begin and quickly result in conviction we could put the former president’s presence aside and look for a new direction. I’d hope that can happen.



3 replies
  1. John Bernard
    John Bernard says:

    Just like to start off by saying that Trump has continually lowered the bar as president and keeps going lower and lower and lower. I have wanted him gone for a long time, and will rejoice the day that he no longer occupies the oval office.

    However… I also remember two things: the Ford pardon of Nixon right after Nixon resigned, and the “Reid Rule” for Senate confirmation of Presidential appointments.

    I feel – now – that if Ford hadn’t pardoned Nixon, the entire turmoil and chaos that marked the decade from 1965 to 1974 would’ve just continued on, further splitting the country. Of course, back then, I was outraged at the thought that we were letting that common criminal “get off”.

    The “Reid Rule” – the Democratic invention to modify Senate confirmation requirements from 60-40 to 51-49 has already come back to severely bite Democrats in the butt.

    I feel the same sense of dread about this second impeachment. It will come back to haunt the Democrats. I think a simple censure motion would’ve sufficed with nine days remaining in the presidents term.

    Off and on I’ve said for the last three or four years that Trump is going to be a one term president. I felt he would be convicted of crimes after his term is over, and I thought the best possible punishment for him would be to silence his voice – another words, “We will let you go, but you can never “tweet” again”. Turns out we didn’t even need to have a trial to do that.

    • Brad Lambert-Stone
      Brad Lambert-Stone says:

      Nixon fell to his knees in his final hours before impeachment — praying with Kissinger, sobbing, and drunk. Trump still thinks he won – drunk on himself. Trump has over and over enabled extremists, racists, and Nazi/Q, etc. I believe he will be convicted of his crimes, and glad to see a trial soon in the Senate. The new Biden era deserves nothing less.

  2. norman hanson
    norman hanson says:

    This second impeachment was absolutely needed given that Trump had actually facilitated an attempted coup and insurrection just to keep his ass in office, nothing more and nothing less than that by perpetuating the Big Lie that the election had been stolen from him with no evidence of fraud what-so-ever. Just a pathetic little insecure, ignorant and arrogant narcissistic man-child who tried to over turn the Constitution that he had sworn to uphold. Just pathetic and dangerous from a little man who certainly must absolutely hate America!;


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