What standard of guilt should be used in a Presidential impeachment process?

Dec 2018
3,941
1,128
New England
An interesting discussion broke out in another impeachment thread, and I think it deserves its own thread.

Most of us are well aware that the process for impeaching a sitting US President, as defined in the Constitution, does not prescribe a standard of guilt. It is meant to be a political process.

That said, the questions I'm posing here are two:
  1. Should Congress seek to define a standard of guilt when assessing evidence that a President may have committed a high crime or misdemeanor?

  2. If so, what should that standard be?

As an example of what I mean, in a criminal case the burden of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt" of guilt; i.e. if there's a plausible explanation of events that leaves the accused innocent, then a verdict of "not guilty" is warranted. In a civil case, it's a lower "preponderance of evidence" standard; i.e. it needs merely to be more likely than not the accused is guilty.

What say you?
 
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Feb 2018
543
250
Oregon
On the one hand, impeachment must be based on facts. OTOH it cannot require a verdict of guilt. The facts must be documented, verifiable, and clear.

The problem we have is that roughly one half of the power structure with the needed oversight obligations is fighting to present, repeat, assert, and reassert those facts, all of which show this president has violated his oath of office, violated the Constitution, damaged the nation, damaged our international relations, undercut and essentially ended most of our democratic features, advanced authoritarian dictatorship potentials, and is fighting to correct these wrongs before this nation is irretrievably lost to despotism, while the other half of the power structure indicated is focused on spinning a distorted false narrative to undermine the facts and then repeating that false narrative until it rings familiar in the ears of the public, thus lending credibility to the bogus "debate" over the lies that are undermining our nation and all it has stood for. Further, this has now given the Senate Majority Leader sufficient protection and coverage to allow him to state that he will staunchly refuse to allow the facts and the truth to win the day.

We need a way out of this that somehow forces action that only depends on the facts and truth as documented, verified, and clarified and can thereby circumvent and obviate all considerations for the non-factual untruths, and then can end such abuses of power as are revealed by the facts and truths.

We don't have that, however, and so the distorted false narrative built of spun lies actually has a believable chance of winning the day, and THAT is one hell of a sad situation.
 
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Dec 2018
3,941
1,128
New England
On the one hand, impeachment must be based on facts. OTOH it cannot require a verdict of guilt. The facts must be documented, verifiable, and clear.

The problem we have is that roughly one half of the power structure with the needed oversight obligations is fighting to present, repeat, assert, and reassert those facts, all of which show this president has violated his oath of office, violated the Constitution, damaged the nation, damaged our international relations, undercut and essentially ended most of our democratic features, advanced authoritarian dictatorship potentials, and is fighting to correct these wrongs before this nation is irretrievably lost to despotism, while the other half of the power structure indicated is focused on spinning a distorted false narrative to undermine the facts and then repeating that false narrative until it rings familiar in the ears of the public, thus lending credibility to the bogus "debate" over the lies that are undermining our nation and all it has stood for. Further, this has now given the Senate Majority Leader sufficient protection and coverage to allow him to state that he will staunchly refuse to allow the facts and the truth to win the day.

We need a way out of this that somehow forces action that only depends on the facts and truth as documented, verified, and clarified and can thereby circumvent and obviate all considerations for the non-factual untruths, and then can end such abuses of power as are revealed by the facts and truths.

We don't have that, however, and so the distorted false narrative built of spun lies actually has a believable chance of winning the day, and THAT is one hell of a sad situation.
You do like to make speeches, Kode.

Yes, I think most of us (the board's far left zealots excluded) would agree the process should be based on facts, but you really haven't addressed the question. Is most cases there are facts that suggest different outcomes. That conflict leads to at least some measure of doubt. The question is how much doubt is needed before Congress ought to decide to leave the President in office?

Also, one twist I should have mentioned in my first post constitutes a third question. Should the House have a different standard guilt to impeach than the Senate's to convict? Given that in the impeachment process the House looks a bit like a grand jury and the Senate like the judge & jury combined, it's not that far fetched a position to say the two should be different and that the Senate's should be a stricter standard.
 
Jul 2014
15,263
9,364
massachusetts
An interesting discussion broke out in another impeachment thread, and I think it deserves its own thread.

Most of us are well aware that the process for impeaching a sitting US President, as defined in the Constitution, does not prescribe a standard of guilt. It is meant to be a political process.

That said, the questions I'm posing here are two:
  1. Should Congress seek to define a standard of guilt when assessing evidence that a President may have committed a high crime or misdemeanor?

  2. If so, what should that standard be?

As an example of what I mean, in a criminal case the burden of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt" of guilt; i.e. if there's a plausible explanation of events that leaves the accused innocent, then a verdict of "not guilty" is warranted. In a civil case, it's a lower "preponderance of evidence" standard; i.e. it needs merely to be more likely than not the accused is guilty.

What say you?
There is no standard, because there is no appeal.
 
Dec 2015
17,920
17,020
Arizona
Soliciting campaign contributions from a foreigner is actually a crime.
It's the crime that the founding fathers were most concerned with, allowing foreign influence to corrupt our government.
Just a quick guess, Goober. WHY do you suppose our founding father WERE concerned with allowing foreign influence to corrupt our government? Any guesses??
Apparently you need to explain this to TN.
 
Apr 2015
2,046
2,311
Stockport, Cheshire. UK
There must be a crime, for impeachment, something the dumb o crats don't have
According to Lindsey Graham that's not true. “if this body [Congress] determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role . . . because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
 
Jul 2014
15,263
9,364
massachusetts
According to Lindsey Graham that's not true. “if this body [Congress] determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role . . . because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
And he's correct, there is appeal, in a criminal proceeding, you have rights, if they are violated, you appeal, the appeals court can throw out the conviction, because the evidence was flawed, the trial was flawed, because something was wrong.
With impeachment, it is what it is.