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Impeaching a President

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “An impeachment process is a viable option for the current House of Representatives given that the hearings will force several people in or close to the Trump Administration to testify before Congress under oath,” said D. Gilson, a writer who has taught popular cultural studies.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller identified at least ten instances of obstruction of justice by the president during the 2016 presidential campaign and through the course of the Russia investigation. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to move for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump has rocked Washington.

The news of the resulting investigation has also unified Democrats, particularly those like Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who has argued for some time that Trump should face impeachment.

“Donald Trump has admitted to abusing the power of the presidency by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into his political opponent in order to get dirt that the Trump campaign could exploit in the 2020 U.S. presidential election,” Waters stated.

Trump allegedly asked Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, the current frontrunner to be the Democratic candidate in the 2020 election.

“This action within itself – where the president is seeking the cooperation and assistance of a foreign government in uncovering dirt on his opponent – is unlawful, unconstitutional, and unpatriotic. I am elated that the Congress of the United States will move forward in an expedited manner to investigate and impeach this president,” Waters said.

Still, experts and historians told NNPA Newswire that the probability of impeaching Trump remains extremely low.

The idea of impeachment as drafted into the Constitution by its framers, is designed to establish the process whereby we can remove a President from office that was engaged in unlawful activity, said David Reischer, an attorney and CEO of LegalAdvice.com.

“Technically, the House and Senate can impeach President Trump purely for political reasons but the standard by which to get sufficient votes in the House and Senate is whether ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’ have been committed,” Reischer added.

Section 4 of Article Two of the United States Constitution reads:

“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.”

The Constitution requires a two-thirds super-majority among Senators voting for conviction because the framers wanted to establish that removal from high office via any process that, thereby, overturns the vote (the will) of the electorate, justifies and requires a high burden of proof, according to experts.

“Like the Mueller report, while the allegations against the president are serious, the allegations stop just short of actually concluding that a crime had been committed,” stated Reischer.

Removal is not the only reason to launch a formal impeachment inquiry, according to Sam Nelson, an associate professor and chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Toledo.

“Many observers have focused on the futility of impeachment given that a Republican-controlled Senate will almost certainly not vote to remove the President,” Nelson noted.

He added that the impeachment investigation into President Richard Nixon proved that the proceedings could move public opinion when there is evidence presented in an open forum.

Additionally, an official inquiry strengthens the hand of the six committees already investigating the president and his administration, Nelson told NNPA Newswire, adding, “These committees are locked in legal battles with the White House over subpoenas, witness testimony, and executive privilege.”

“Courts are more likely to side with Congress in the exercise of its Article I power to investigate an impeachment than when they are engaged in regular oversight.

“And, perhaps most importantly, impeachment exists in the Constitution to be a deterrent to unconstitutional, criminal or illicit behavior by presidents, judges and other government officials,” he said.

Impeachment is the ultimate backstop for the constitutional separation of powers and Congress’s co-equal role in the constitutional design, according to Nelson. Impeachment, even if the Senate does not vote for removal, should act as a deterrent not just to Trump but also to future presidents of both parties, he said.

“To not open an impeachment inquiry given the gravity of the most recent allegations against the president is to give him, and all future presidents, vast, unchecked power to ignore the Constitution, the other branches of government, and the public interest,” stated Nelson.

So, what’s the process to impeach the president?

Historian and radio show host Michael Hart said it begins when one member of the House drafts articles of impeachment against an elected official.

Impeachment is the same as an indictment in U.S. criminal courts.

Following the drafting of the articles of impeachment, the Speaker of the House decides whether to entertain the idea by convening an impeachment committee.

“This is done to discuss the merits the merits of the charges – and there could be many – and determine if support for the move is there,” Hart stated.

If the charges rise to the height of impeachment – as determined by the Speaker and under advisement from other caucus members, a formal declaration of impeachment is drawn, and hearings begin.

After the hearing, Congress decides whether to vote on impeachment.

If the vote succeeds, the Senate then must determine whether they will act.

“A little-known fact is that the impeachment of a president can be originated by a senator – but that senator would have to find a House member to sponsor and bring forward the call to the House,” Hart said.

Despite little chance of success, members of the House have used or considered impeachment as a way to taint a president, Hart noted.

“It’s a public condemnation, although it can be a risky one,” he said.

It can also bring forth needed facts, something Democrats and a growing list of other observers said is necessary for the current administration.

“An impeachment process is a viable option for the current House of Representatives given that the hearings will force several people in or close to the Trump Administration to testify before Congress under oath,” said D. Gilson, a writer who has taught popular cultural studies.

“Politically, this is smart as it will likely reveal misdeeds and contradictions leading up to the 2020 election. Judicially, this is smart as it requires folks to speak under oath, as opposed to on Twitter or Fox News,” Gilson stated.

Waters added that when coupled with Trump’s already shady history, there’s more than enough evidence for Congress to launch an impeachment query.

Although the U.S. intelligence community unequivocally concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Trump has shown brazen support and deference for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin and has continued to undermine and outright deny the validity of the U.S. intelligence community’s findings, stated Waters.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller identified at least ten instances of obstruction of justice by the president during the 2016 presidential campaign and through the course of the Russia investigation.

Mueller furthered the scope of what’s known about collusion and coordination between the Trump campaign, Trump’s allies, and the Kremlin in their efforts to undermine U.S. election systems on Trump’s behalf, Waters said.

“This president orchestrated hush-money payments in order to silence his mistresses with the aid of his attorney, Michael Cohen, who pled guilty and is serving jail time for these acts, which are potential felony violations of campaign finance laws,” she stated.

“He and his children have sought out opportunities to enrich themselves during his tenure as president. He is under investigation for accepting payments from foreign governments and officials that have stayed at his hotels and golf properties in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits elected officials from personally profiting from payments from foreign governments and officials that have stayed at his hotels and golf properties.”

Waters continued:

“This president has been documented by the Washington Post for having lied more than 12,000 times since taking office. Unlike any other president in modern history, Trump has refused to release his tax returns to the American people. These and a host of other actions are further evidence of his disgraceful and contemptible actions as the president of the United States.

“As I have stated time and time again, Donald Trump is a dangerous and dishonorable man. He has no respect for our democracy, our Constitution, or the rule of law. It is past time that Congress fulfills its Constitutional duty to impeach him. I am elated that it appears that day is upon us.”

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FILM: Top 10 Must-See Black documentaries

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From “I Am Not Your Negro” to “High on the Hog,” each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.
The post FILM: Top 10 Must-See Black documentaries first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By The Houston Defender | Word in Black

The AFRO’s October Special Edition is all about the roots of our culture, our family lineage and the return to old ways and traditions. Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by our Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From I Am Not Your Negro to High on the Hog, each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.

#10: Attica (2021) 

In September 1971, Attica Prison became the location of one of the largest prison riots in US history, taking place just weeks after revolutionary activist George Jackson was murdered by prison guards at Rikers Island, an act that initiated the birth of Black August and the prison reform movement. The constant abject cruelty and inhumane treatment doled out to the incarcerated (who were overwhelmingly Black and Latinx) by Attica guards (all White) created the context. The riot itself, and its aftermath, are something all human beings should be required to reckon with.

#9: Quincy (2018) 

If you’re Black, it literally doesn’t matter when you were born, what generation you’re a part of, or where you’re from. You’ve been impacted by the genius of Quincy Jones. We’ve all been influenced by the genius of Quincy Jones. The music he made, the albums he produced, the artists he developed, the movies he scored, and about a gazillion other things Jones did, means, as I’ve already said, if you’re Black, Quincy has had a hand in your life. Don’t believe me. What Black person do you know who isn’t a Michael Jackson fan, who hasn’t seen The Wiz, or who doesn’t have a family member who worships jazz music? Quincy Jones had his hand in all that and so much more. Directed by one of his daughters, actress Rashida Jones, this doc is most definitely a must see.

#8: Four Little Girls (1997) 

On Sept. 15, 1963, just 18 short days after the much-celebrated March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed by four members of a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated racist group. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, four African American girls between the ages of 11 and 14 who had been attending the church’s Sunday school, were killed in the blast, an act of White domestic terrorism that served as a horrific and sober reminder that Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not enough to end the hold the myth of White supremacy had on so many. Director Spike Lee tells this powerfully compelling and important story as only he can.

#7: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019) 

For generations that came after the Baby Boomers, it’s hard for us to fully fathom how big a star Sam Cooke was. Think of the biggest singer of any generation. That was Sam Cooke in his heyday. And not only was he hyper-talented, but not only did he call some of the biggest names in Black history his personal friends (Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X just to name a few), Cooke was a man of the people. And he was heavily invested in the Civil Rights Movement and an advocate for Black self-determination and Black ownership. Cooke even pulled a “Prince” long before Prince—gaining ownership of his own music, something that was as rare then as it is today. This documentary chronicles Cooke’s life, rise to fame, and eventual end, though his influence never died.

#6: Thunder Soul (2010) 

Here’s a hometown entry. Thunder Soul spotlights the extraordinary alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band which the iconic Conrad Johnson led. These alums return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old ‘Prof’, their beloved band leader who transformed the schools struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early 1970s. This one will have you out of your seat and dancing in the streets. Check it out.

#5: Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (2021)  

In this documentary, criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson “draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.” It’s that simple, and yet that complex. And it goes without saying; it’s a must see.

#4: Jeen-Yuhs (2022) 

No matter where you score on the Love Ye / Hate Ye scale, this 2022 documentary about his rise to superstardom is beyond compelling. I mean, who thinks to chronicle their every move from the moment they start pursuing their dream until they either give up on it or see it to fruition and beyond? Who does that? No one but this negro Kanye. He may be the only human being with an ego big enough to conceive of such a project. And believe me, the scope and scale of this documentary match that galaxy-sized self-obsession brahman has that make him both insanely talented and just plain insane at the same time.

#3: I Am Not Your Negro (2016) 

This documentary by Raoul Peck, director of Exterminate All the Brutes (2021) which made the first list of must-see documentaries, introduced the brilliance and unabashed Black of James Baldwin to a whole new generation. Described as a work that imagines the completion of Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House (about Baldwin’s personal reflections on and recollections of three of his personal friends who were killed during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), I Am Not Your Negro is about so much more.

#2: The Last Dance (2020) 

You don’t have to be a basketball fan to get caught up in the chronicling of the last run at an NBA championship by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls who had been told before the season began that the team would be broken up. The doc not only takes you on that 1996 Bulls’ championship ride, but it also digs deep into the past of players, coaches, and family members, spotlighting triumphs and tragedies that are part of the human story, not just the story of professional athletes.

#1: High on the Hog 

How African American Cuisine Transformed America (2021)

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for anything that celebrates our history, especially those things that connect us to our African roots and our Pan-African family. This documentary does all that and more. Because the main character is food. Our food. The stuff we grew up on. The meals many of us are eating right now, and never stopped eating since our youth. This beautifully filmed, beautifully narrated piece of art is full of both the familiar and the foreign; or rather, things we’ve come to believe are foreign to us, but are really part of our story and our heritage. And the okra on top? High on the Hog has a powerful H-Town connection. A few, in fact.

This list of documentaries based on the roots of African American culture was compiled by Word In Black.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades

NNPA NEWSWIRE — According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.
The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Black Information Network | Atlanta Daily World

A new lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) alleges that the U.S. government discriminated against Black veterans for decades.

On Monday (November 28), the suit was filed by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic (VLSC) on behalf of Vietnam War veteran Conley Monk Jr, whose applications for education, housing, and disability benefits have been denied since he returned home from the war, per The Hill.

According to the suit, discrimination by the VA has left Black veterans without benefits more frequently than their white counterparts.

Yale’s VLSC said the lawsuit could “provide a legal pathway for Black veterans to seek reparations from the VA.”

“This lawsuit seeks to hold the VA accountable for years of discriminatory conduct,” Adam Henderson, a law student working with the VLSC on the case, said in a statement, per the Hill.

“VA leaders knew, or should have known, that they were administering benefits in a discriminatory manner, yet they failed to address this unlawful bias,” Henderson added. “Mr. Monk — and thousands of Black veterans like him — deserve redress for the harms caused by these negligently administered programs.”

According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.

VA press secretary Terrence Hayes said the agency is working to combat “institutional racism.”

“Throughout history, there have been unacceptable disparities in both VA benefits decisions and military discharge status due to racism, which have wrongly left Black veterans without access to VA care and benefits,” Hayes said. “We are actively working to right these wrongs.”

The post U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans For Decades: Lawsuit appeared first on Atlanta Daily World.

The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together, when Bennet gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday.
The post BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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‘A Basketball Hero is Born’ is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which aims to inspire youth to make a positive change in their communities and the world in general

Widely celebrated African American author, Jerald LeVon Hoover, is once again inspiring young people to make a positive change in their communities with the launch of a new children’s book. Titled A Basketball Hero is Born, the new children’s reading book contains colorful pictures that warm the heart and keep young readers glued to its pages.

The plot follows the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson who gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday. Affectionately naming the new basketball “Lucky,” the story unfolds as young Bennett tries to take his new best friend everywhere, including the dinner table, to school, and to bed when it is time for sleep.

Jerald L. Hoover

Jerald L. Hoover

Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into Bennett’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together. Currently available for purchase on Amazon, A Basketball Hero is Born is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which emphasizes instilling a love of sports and friendship in young readers.

About The Author

Jerald L. Hoover is a multi-talented individual with countless accomplishments in the creative, literary, and entertainment worlds. After winning an award for “The Best New Male Writer of the Year” for his fictional novel, My Friend, My Hero Jerald went on to be listed from 1994 – 1996 as a best-selling author among young Black writers in various African American publications. In 1995, he was awarded the Writers Corp Award by then-President Bill Clinton. In 1998, Jerald was inducted into the Mount Vernon Boy’s and Girl’s Club Hall of Fame. Since then, Jerald has won several other awards and is also an in-demand motivational speaker who overcame a childhood speech impediment.

The post BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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