I've spent a fair amount reading this week over the Johnson Impeachment of 1868, and it may lay out of some the problems, and the path that might occur if Impeachment for Trump were attempted.
For those who weren't aware....Johnson was left an enormous task as Lincoln was buried. The Lincoln 'path' meant that forgiving was in order. The behavior of the Republican House and Senate? Less so....they wanted the President to punish the southern states as much as possible.
At some point, Johnson went on a national tour (using the rail network) to make speeches and ask the public to blast their representative/senators. That probably put Johnson on an enormous 'enemies' list.
Upon firing Secretary of War Stanton.....that was the last straw. So Johnson was brought up on 11 charges for the Impeachment.
1. The Senate was not given a chance to concur with the firing of Stanton (a new act came prior to this which suggested that they had to approve of not only hiring Secretaries for the cabinet, but firing them as well).
2. By firing Stanton, the President turned around and appointed a new Secretary of War when the vacancy simply didn't exist. I know, it's a stupid charge but simply added to the burden.
3. Act of conspiring. Mostly with members of the House, and harming the jobs of the Senators.
4. Another act of conspiracy. Mostly by failing to carry out the law on the Tenure of Office Act.
5. Another act of conspiracy. Mostly to take or posses the property of the Department of War.
6. Another act of conspiracy Mostly the same thing as number 5 above except it was meant to violate the Tenure of Office act.
7. Giving the new Secretary of War the ability to control disbursement of government funding for the war.
8. Giving illegal orders to Major General Emory with the illegal intent to violate federal law.
9. Giving three speeches 'insulting' the Congress (mostly the Senate and mostly Republicans).
10. Acting in a disgraceful way to the Presidency.
11. Hiring the new Secretary of War without consulting the Senate.
So when you look over the list, it looks like a lot.
So on day one with the Impeachment accepted....the Johnson team asked for 40 days to present their case....the Senate (by vote) said 'no', and gave him a total of 10 days to present the case. They didn't really want to spend a heck of a lot of time talking about this or how the firing came about with Stanton.
Impeachment at that point required a two-thirds majority to vote on this and the magic number was 36 votes. The Impeachment acts were divided into three votes. As long as they reached 36 on any of the three, then Johnson was thrown out.
Well, this is the curious thing. From the nine Democratic Senators in the Senate...they all voted NO, to all three acts. For the Republicans, they were only able to muster 35 of the Senators to vote in favor of the Impeachment. Nine Republicans voted with the Democrats (on all three acts). Without that one single extra GOP vote....the measures were defeated.
The nine Republican Senators and their future? All left office after their term ended.
As much as the 35 Republicans felt they'd have the votes to toss Johnson out.....they guessed wrong.
So you gaze at the way this might fit into the Trump scenario. You'd have to write up charges. There would have to be some details involved, with accusations and evidence.
The Senate might say 'fine' with the charges, and then Trump's legal team would ask for not just 40 days (like Johnson's team), but Trump's team might say that well over four months are required. You can imagine the Senate in a lock-down situation....nothing to be accomplished for four entire months. No trips to golf resorts....no trips overseas....no campaign trips.
Trump's team bringing out subpoenas in massive quantity? I would imagine well over 150 subpoenas will be issued and some folks will be shocked at being dragged into this. The potential that former President Obama being dragged in and forced to swear on what he said or did? That threat exists. The potential threat that one or two US Senators might be accused of being part of some counter-conspiracy effort.....forcing them to remove themselves from the Impeachment vote? That might occur as well.
The threat of individuals have charges drawn up because of a false testimony? That issue exists as well.
And at the end? If the two-thirds vote doesn't occur? It's more than likely.
Destruction of trust for the Democratic Party? If this pee dossier is proven to be totally fictional, and paid by Democratic operatives, it opens up a big mess which Mitch McConnell would just stand there in glee....like a 8-year old kid in Disneyland.
Anyone saying or suggesting that this would only take ten days...hasn't read the Johnson history piece or tried to connect the dots on this whole entire anti-Trump effort.
Could the news media even survive four entire months of this process?
So, it's a curious thing to imagine.