In the history of Man there was never before the option of Impeachment as offered by Franklin for our Constitution. England had an impotent version that in reality was useless. Only God has the Authority to Impeach a King, afterall.
In America we can change our Government by the vote, by Impeachment, and if those mechanisms are denied by corruption, we have the Second Amendment. Until Benjamin Franklin applied his brain to the issue, we only had the vote and violence as options. There was a lot of open space between the two.
Franklin understood that those in power would from time to time, as he said, "...render themselves obnoxious..." and place themselves at odds with Liberty and the People. Obviously, an obnoxious Master would give no weight to a vote against him, and the only remaining option for the People to be rid of him would be violence against all of Government, or assassination of the individual being obnoxious.
I absolutely love that phrase, "...render themselves obnoxious...". How apt and applicable today.
If a sitting President who circumvents our laws and ideals to meddle in the election of his successor by using foreign intelligence services does not rise to the level of '...rendering himself obnoxious...' - I simply don't know the definition. Obviously, Obama is no longer impeachable - but he can and should be investigated and prosecuted if the dots can be connected. And Obama did not pick up a phone in the Oval and call the Brits and ask them to orchestrate this end run - he had people for that. Many of those people may still be impeachable, and every single one of them can be investigated, prosecuted, and share cell time with the former President.
Franklin understood and argued that including an Impeachment mechanism that offered the ability to punish and remove an obnoxious member of the Political Class would save the republic from the problematic effects of assassinations. Assassinations are not only less than civilized (sometimes), but they impose abrupt disruptions to the country.
Also, they are final. The Impeachment mechanism provides for a defense, the opportunity for the accused to provide a response to the charge of being obnoxious.
Article I of the Constitution provides the House with the sole power of Impeachment, on the following grounds: ...treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors...
The Constitution defined Treason for us, and the charge of Treason applies to politicians, bureaucrats and citizens who act upon and advocate for laws and policies beyond the enumerated powers of the Constitution. Bribery is self explanatory.
High crimes and misdemeanors is deliberately vague. It is clear that the mechanism of Impeachment is intended as a remedy for criminal misconduct, but also political misconduct. Here is where my thinking was expanded: Franklin considered any act worthy of assassination to be an impeachable offense. And conduct that does not rise to the level of warranting assassination likewise does not warrant Impeachment.
Generally speaking an Impeachable offense is one that finds the obnoxious party expanding the role of Government beyond the boundaries set by the Constitution. For our purposes, any politician who advocates or acts to expand Government beyond the clearly enumerated powers of our Constitution warrants Impeachment proceedings in the House, and trial in the Senate.
Prior to Franklin's remedy, the only way to deal with such obnoxious politicians would be assassination or broad, general revolution. Most of us consider bureaucrats who facilitate the expansion of power to be as guilty as is the politician who voted the policy into existence. And the percentage of Citizens who support such politicians, either by voting or by financing...nearly 100% are guilty of the same invasions of the individual Liberty of us all.
As we move forward with our efforts to restore Liberty within our republic, we must consider the power of Impeachment. The Constitution identifies: The President, the Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States as qualified for Impeachment. This includes the Judiciary, and bureaucrats, but certainly excludes members of the military. It is generally considered that Members of Congress may not be Impeached, though I would argue that Franklin's standard of Impeachment must apply to Members of Congress, lest the only recourse remaining in the face of a corrupted voting procedure would be assassination or armed revolution, precisely what the Impeachment mechanism is intended to prevent.
The obvious problem that presents: Getting our current Political Class to begin Impeaching one another is likely a non-starter, until there is much blood in the water and they deem it to be in their best interests to start hunting one another. But we must click through the Necessary Fail and make our Masters know our intentions and expectations. We must also impress upon them that failure to carry out their duty as elected officials will push We the People to the morally justifiable position of imposing Impeachment proceedings ourselves, most likely through a return of Vigilance Committees.
Benjamin Franklin provided a middle ground between the vote and assassination/war. If we intend to be a free people who live in the ideal of Liberty as defined by Thomas Jefferson, we will vote, impeach, or go to arms. we voted Donald Trump to the White House as a final warning to the Enemies of Liberty - and to keep Hillary out of there. President Trump's campaign promises, upon which he was elected, are being blocked and slow-walked by precisely the people who deserve impeachment.
The next step is entirely up to the Other Side.
John F. Kennedy: Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
Here's the link to the original paper.