President's Executive Privilege & Impeachment Process
'You have the right to remain silent Mr President' Executive Privilege & Impeachment Process
The following questions delude everyone in the country when it comes to answering the following questions on the impeachment process
1. What is an impeachable offense ? what offense of the president can be deemed impeachable?
2. How should the President be tried? By Court? what if the courts verdict is different than the majority of the Senate and House of Representatives?
3. Can a president on an impeachable trial exercise executive privelage by not providing the required information
4. How should the invstigation be carrid out to find the evidence in support of the impeachment?
Firstly it would be very hard to define and list ever possible offence if not impossible to do so, as it requires to be investigated case by case and under the current economic, political and general welfare of the country.
Eventhough all criminal offences by the President done directly or orchestrated (Nixon) would definitely be entitiled for impeachment. There are however non criminal yet impeachable offences which are very difficult to classify and thus the House of reprsentatives may be given the right for deciding to define whether it is impeachable or not by a referendum of vote.
Assuming the act of the President falls under a criminal impeachable offence, then the President needs to be tried under a judicial court and subpoena for the crime. Well, the question comes whether such a kind of an act is useful? as the President being tried can use his executive privage and hide from providing any information related to the case he is being tried.
Since unless proven he is not guilty, just an indictment of criminal offence against the President does not make him lose his executive privilege nor a need for resignation. How much of public outcry needs to be considered in this whole proceeding? how to involve the public to determine to demand whether President should indeed use his executive privilege(EP) or not?
Giving unquestionable EP under any circumstance is probably not the right thing to do, eventhough owing to confidential or classified information of the country secrets a President may be in a need to protect and may not be able to provide the requested information to the grand jury. Also how far can the investigative council appointed by the grand jury can go in collecting information from the white house needs to be questioned, as access to each and every information may open the country to both inside and outside vulnerability because of sensitive or classified information.
House cannot and does not have the right to call for a subpoena in a criminal impeachable offense. The judge or the grand jury (consisting of judges) make the decision to decide whether is it indeed an impeachable offense or not as raised by the Senate or House of representatives. Hence instead of giving the complete control to a group of Congress, there is a judiciary comittee who overlooks case to determine the offence brought to their table is impeachable and whether the President be called for a subpoena hearing.
If the judge agrees, then a vote is passed between the grand jurors and the congress to determine whether President on the particular case of indictment can use his executive privilege or not. Now if they all agree the case is made against the President and also his executive privilege stripped off during the investigation into the case and everything is vanilla.
But if the Congress fails to convince the grand jury of a criminal impeachable difference, what does the Congress do? If it is not deemed a criminal offence as perceived by the congress and against by the court, then the congress has the freedom to make it an indictable offence and still use the option and the always owned right to impeach without calling for a grand jury. However in a case where court admits of a possible criminal impeachment, but decides the President can use his executive privilege then there is a deadlock, which ofcourse can be broken by Congress appealing to Supreme Court and the deicision finally thereof settled .
However the congress consisting of the Senate and House of representatives do not need to go that far as the constitution provides a provision to impeach without a court ruling. After such an impeachment, the President becomes like any other citizen and he can thus be tried stripping of the executive prvilege in a court as any other criminal , in case the sole reason if the congress believes for his impeachment , is criminal in nature.
Thus a greater trust can be enthrusted to a group of 100 Senators and 240 and odd House of representatives to take the decision, even if the criminal offence impeachment request fails in the court as constitution provides the house having the right to impeach and overrule and we hope they would excerice this right against extreme caution fully understanding why a particular president may use an executive privilege. Nixon resigned before the impeachment trial could pull him down,