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Tyrannicide, Regicide and Impeachment

December 10, 2018

The “Framers” of the Constitution came from a generation of well-educated gentlemen who had studied the history of ancient Rome and Greece. They knew the difference between tyrannicide–the justification for killing a tyrant–and regicide. Some may have been familiar with the colony of English in Cape May where regicides who signed the death warrant for King Charles I escaped after the death of Cromwell.

Some provision for punishing the chief executive was needed and “Impeachment” was the remedy settled upon. Like tyrannicide, Impeachment is to be taken only as a last resort, for a lot of reasons. Killing our kings could become a habit and thus deter all but the morally calloused from seeking the highest office.

Two recent Presidents, William Clinton and Donald Trump, fall into that category. Even though President Richard Nixon would proclaim “I am not a crook,” his behavior took down seven men who in good conscience served him and their country well. Known as the “Watergate Seven” they included the former Attorney General of the United States, a White House Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, a White House counsel, and three others.

After Robert Mueller submits his report, the U.S. House of Represents will introduce a resolution to Impeach President Donald Trump and indictments leading to convictions will be brought against Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner. I expect the President will be indicted as well, thus commencing a legal process leading to a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

These are different times from when President Nixon could assert that he was not a crook. Today money is very much a part of Presidential motivation. Peter Schweizer’s important book, Clinton Cash, revealed how the Clinton’s became wealthy by trading favors and actions for donations to the Clinton Foundation. Robert Mueller’s findings will reveal how the Trump Organization pursued “business” by money-laundering the wealth of Russian oligarchs and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will bring an indictment against the President for violation of federal campaign financing laws.

The American people who are witness to these transgressions are angry and in no mood to forgive and forget. Even if President Trump resigns his office, he will be tried and convicted in federal court and serve a prison sentence. Will that be called tyrannicide or regicide?

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