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Indicted or unindicted? What fate does * face with Fitz?

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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 02:46 PM
Original message
Indicted or unindicted? What fate does * face with Fitz?
I found this article at dailykos very intriguing:

Indicting Bush and Cheney
by Richard Mathews
Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 07:03:50 PM PDT

snip

Vice President

Precedent exists to indict a Vice President.

Vice President Aaron Burr was subject to indictments in two states while still in office. Burr stayed out of those two states to avoid prosecution.

In the case of Spiro Agnew, Solicitor General Robert Bork filed a brief arguing that, consistent with the Constitution, the Vice President could be subject to indictment and criminal prosecution. While still Vice President, Agnew plea bargained a deal in which he plead "no contest" to tax evasion. He resigned the same day he entered his plea.

President

For a President, there is no clear precedent one way or another. The closest is the case of Nixon. The Grand Jury reportedly wanted to indict Nixon. Prosecutor Jaworski convinced them to avoid the issue of whether the President may be indicted by naming him as an unindicted coconspirator. This was sufficient to get a subpoena for Nixon's records including the tapes. Nixon argued that the subpoena was invalid because he was not subject to indictment. The Supreme Court sidestepped the indictment issue by ruling that they did not need to answer that question in order to reach their conclusion that the subpoena was valid. United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 687 n. 2 (1974).

There is not a single word in the Constitution that supports a claim that the President cannot be indicted. On the contrary, the Constitution merely says this about impeachment:
Article I, Section 3, Clause 7:


Judgment in Cases of Impeachment 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.

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.

Note that in the above sections the Constitution treats impeachment of the President exactly the same as impeachment of any other Officer. The only place where the Constitution treats the President differently with respect to impeachment is in that the Chief Justice sits as the presiding officer in the Senate trial of a President:
Article I, Section 3, Clause 6:


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.

more...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/10/18/22350/485


I find it interesting that it is conceivable that Fitzgerald has the option of setting a precedent by indicting * outright. But beyond the question of will he or won't he, there is the obstacle of having to present this case before basically the same SCOTUS that appointed * in the first place. I wonder if Fitz is taking that into account and will go with the seemingly safer choice of naming * as an unindicted co-conspirator.

I say "seemingly safer" because I just thought of something reading about Watergate on wikipedia:

On March 1, 1974, former aides of the president, known as the Watergate Seven Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, Colson, Gordon C. Strachan, Robert Mardian, and Kenneth Parkinson were indicted for conspiring to hinder the Watergate investigation. The grand jury also secretly named Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator. Dean, Magruder and other figures in the scandal had already pleaded guilty.

more...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watergate_scandal

What worries me is that if Nixon was secretly named, then I assume the same will happen with * if Fitz instructs the grand jury. So if it's secret, when will the general public know? Can we trust Congress in 2005 to do the right thing and put principle over neo-con loyalty and put such a co-conspiracy charge to good use by starting impeachment proceedings?

Is anyone else worried about this?
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electropop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good Constitutional points we all need to study up on.
The President can be both impeached and indicted. In fact, if the indictment is in regard to the same crime(s) as the impeachment, the impeachment in itself makes pardon impossible.

The same rules apply to all civil offices in the government: Pres, VP, cabinet, and on down the line.

Article I, Section 3, Clause 7:
"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment 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."

Article II, Section 2, Clause 1:
"The President ... shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

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."

http://www.law.emory.edu/erd/docs/usconser.html
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longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. In Watergate, the public knew very quickly.
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 03:14 PM by longship
The indictments came on Friday--I remember it being late afternoon. If my memory serves me correct, it was shortly reported that Nixon had been named "secretly", although I do not recall how soon. I believe it was right away, within a couple of days.

Does anybody else recall these details?
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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. That makes me feel a little better.
On March 1, 1974 I was barely over one year old, so I have no memory of the event. But if the public found out within a couple of days, then hopefully we can expect the same from Fitz.

Then again, when Fitz keeps something secret, it usually stays secret for some time. :)
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longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. It's not something that will stay secret.
For some reason I remember Mike Wallace reporting it. I dunno. I may be having old farts disease attack.
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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I sure hope not.
Also, if this matter is referred to SCOTUS, Roscoe T brought up a good point: wouldn't Roberts have to recuse himself since * appointed him? That would be helpful.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I read that post.
I do not agree with it. I do not think that he has to recuse himself. Furthermore, even though I agree with you that he *should* recuse himself, I believe that he would *not* do so.
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
6. Concerning the Chief Justice presiding in
the Senate trial for impeachment..this Chief Justice Roberts should have to recuse himself as Bush appointed him, but that can't be counted on because there is no law that says he has to..remember Scalia and Cheney's energy papers.
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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Rehnquist recused himself in United States v. Nixon
Not sure if it was because Nixon appointed him or not, but it was 8-0.

Opinion
Written by: Chief Justice Warren E. Burger
Joined by: Justices William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan, Potter Stewart, Byron White, Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun and Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr.
Associate (later Chief) Justice William Rehnquist recused himself, and did not participate in the trial.


The case
Following a subpoena of the Watergate tapes by special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, Richard Nixon sought to have them quashed on the ground of executive privilege. The Court ruled 8-0 that the tapes should be released.

The Court determined:

that the courts have the final voice in determining constitutional questions and
that no person, not even the President of the United States, is completely above law.
Most importantly the Court determined that a president cannot use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence that is 'demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial.'




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Nixon
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
8. No.
Don't worry. Things are perfect.
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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I'm so used to being beaten up by * & thugs, it's hard to believe this!
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 04:08 PM by robertpaulsen
When was the last time you thought justice had a chance in this country? I haven't felt this hopeful since December 11, 2000. Things seem so good right now, it's hard for me not to wonder when I'm going to wake up.

Thanks for trying to reassure me. But it's just so exciting, I want to be sure there's no loopholes short of martial law to put a stop to this fun!
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MN ChimpH8R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
10. Unindicted co-conspirator on at least one or two counts
I am starting to think that Unka DicKKK is going to be indicted, and a slough of other top ChimpCo types.
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