Could Hillary Clinton Get Elected, Then Impeached?

The GOP can’t wait for an impeached Hillary Clinton

One week from today there is a very good chance that Hillary Clinton will be elected president of the United States. That would be the good news for both the Democrats and the “Never Trump,” followers.

But we know that the FBI will continue to investigate incoming President Clinton’s emails with the possibility that sometime after she is sworn in as president she could be indicted and face a possible impeachment.

If in the at this point Clinton is indicted and charged before President Barack Obama, he could pardon her before the January 20th swearing in ceremony. But the chance that Clinton could be indicted of a crime, tried and convicted by that date is nearly impossible.

There is a very good chance that a Republican House in 2017 could force the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the Clinton Foundation, along with the email issues. The GOP House members feel the Clinton Foundation donors had unusual access to the former secretary of state and that there is case to be made there.

Back in August 50 members of Congress asked for exactly that, a special prosecutor but at the time there was too much going on with both campaigns and so their efforts went nowhere.

1. Clinton is the focus of impeachment

Again, Clinton has yet to be found guilty of anything but the Republicans want to see that change even if she wins. They expect her to get caught by one of those emails down the line.

There is as of today a very good chance that more investigations will put into place if Clinton becomes president. The goal of impeaching Clinton remains a very strong possibility for some members of Congress.

It a recent article published the highly respected Law Newz, they explored a legal option that was very interesting. Could a President Hillary actually pardon herself?

Chris White penned the following in Law Newz:

The short answer is she could certainly try, and may very well get away with it. What’s more, there is likely little Congress could do about it — even with a Republican controlled House of Representatives and Senate.   Here is why.

The president’s pardon power comes from Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution that provides, “The President … shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”

Based on the language of Article II, Section 2, the only limits placed on the power are that pardons may only be issued for federal offenses (not civil or state crimes), and a pardon cannot override the Congress’ impeachment power. Presidents have used this power to issue pardons in a wide range of matters throughout the country’s history. However, no president has ever attempted to pardon himself.

As a result, the legality of the self-pardon remains an open question. There are persuasive arguments on both sides.   For the sake of brevity, the two arguments can be boiled down to this: (1) those that argue a self-pardon violates longstanding legal principles that a person should not act as their own judge and that no person is above the law; and (2) those, including Richard Nixon’s attorneys in the aftermath of Watergate, that argue that power to pardon is broad and unlimited, except for the two specific limitations mentioned in the Constitution.

So, assuming Clinton follows the latter approach and issues the self-pardon, where does that leave Congress? Could the House of Representatives start impeachment proceedings based on the criminal indictments?

That answer to that question is a resounding “no.”

Under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, “The President… shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The Constitution further provides that impeachment proceedings are to begin in the House of Representatives and if approved by a simple majority vote, the matter proceeds to the Senate for trial. When the president is tried, the Chief Justice presides over the Senate trial. A conviction requires a 2/3-majority vote and the Senate may impose punishment including barring the individual from holding future office. Although, the Senate is required to take an additional vote if it wishes to impose a ban on holding future office.

1. hillary clinton could be impeached

In Clinton’s case, however, the conduct underlying this hypothetical indictment occurred prior to her taking office. The House of Representatives, as far back as 1873, has determined that a person cannot be impeached based on conduct prior to them holding office. In other words, House precedent says a President Hillary Clinton could not be impeached as president for crimes related to the e-mail server or the Clinton Foundation.

In 1873, the House of Representatives considered impeaching the Vice President for crimes committed before he took office. After considering the matter, the House determined impeachment was only proper for crimes committed while in office. For more on the subject click here.

Many other legal analysts feel that the House could take the action of impeachment but getting 2/3 of the Senate to remove her from office is a reach. But for political junkies the idea of an impeachment battle will just keep the craziness rolling.

SHARE
Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.