A post from several months ago claiming to be from “Hyram F. Suddfluffel” about President Donald Trump’s impeachment is making the rounds on social media again. And as a result, a lot of people are searching for Suddfluffel on Snopes. Is Suddfluffel real? What’s the post’s origins? Interestingly, the post that claims Trump is playing a version of 4D chess with the impeachment first made the rounds back in June before it started making the rounds again in the last couple of days. The earliest signs that Heavy can find of that post didn’t show the Suddfluffel name attached. Read on to learn more about the post’s origins and what’s true and what’s not.
Early Versions of the Suddfluffel Post from June Didn’t Have the Name Attached
No one has ever officially come forward claiming to be the person who wrote the Hyram F. Suddfluffel post, and searches for Hyram F. Suddfluffel came up empty. Although there some elements in the impeachment post itself that are accurate regarding Trump’s chances of being impeached and some procedures, other elements are not. And an actual person named Hyram F. Suddfluffel cannot be verified. In fact, the earliest signs of this post didn’t have a name attached to it.
Here’s what the long post making the rounds says. Not everything in this is factual, but some points are.
I have a degree in Political Science, and I am a card-carrying Libertarian. I’ve been studying politics and political history for the past 30 years. My specialty is U.S. Presidents. That said, I hope that the House of Representatives impeaches Trump. Let me tell you what will happen next!
1. The House can pass articles of impeachment over the objections of the Republicans, and refer to the Senate for trial.
2. The Senate will conduct a trial. There will be a vote, and the Republicans will vote unanimously, along with a small number of Democrats, to not convict the President. Legally, it will all be over at that point.
3. However, during the trial, and this is what no one is thinking about right now, the President’s attorneys will have the right to subpoena and question ANYONE THEY WANT.. That is different than the special counsel investigation, which was very one-sided. So, during the impeachment trial, we will be hearing testimony from James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, Donna Brazille, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, Christopher Steele, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, James Clapper, and a whole host of other participants in this whole sordid affair and the ensuing coverup activities. A lot of dirt will be dug up; a lot of truth will be unveiled. Finger pointing will occur. Deals will start being made, and suddenly, a lot of democrats will start being charged and going to prison. All this, because, remember, the President’s team will now, for the first time, have the RIGHT to question all of these people under oath – and they will turn on each other. That is already starting.
4. Lastly, one more thing will happen, the Senate will not convict the President. Nothing will happen to Trump. Most Americans are clueless about political processes, the law, and the Constitution. Most Americans believe that being impeached results in removal from office. They don’t understand that phase 2 is a trial in and by the Senate, where he has zero chance of conviction. Remember, the Senate is controlled by Republicans; they will determine what testimony is allowed — and **everything** will be allowed, including: DNC collusion with the Clinton campaign to fix the election in favor of Hillary, the creation of the Trump dossier, the cover up and destruction of emails that very likely included incriminating information. They will incriminate each other for lying to the FISA court, for spying and wiretapping the Trump campaign, and for colluding with foreign political actors, especially George Soros. After the Senate declines to convict the President, we will have an election, and Trump will win. It will be a backlash against Democrat petulance, temper tantrums, hypocrisy and dishonesty. Even minorities will vote for Trump, because, for the first time, they will see that Democrats have spent 2+ years focused on maintaining their own power, and not doing anything at all about black murders in Chicago, homelessness, opioids, and other important issues that are actually killing people. And, we will spend the following four years listening to politicians and pundits claim that the whole impeachment was rigged.
So let’s move on to impeachment.
Hyram F. Suddfluffel, PhD
The earliest version of this post showing up on an Internet search, Facebook, or Twitter is on a Freepublic discussion here. It was posted verbatim on June 3, 2019 with the subject line: “Come on Trump haters, PUSH for impeachment ‘PLEASE.'” The post was shared by contributer lonster who said “This was passed on by an old friend.” The name Suddfluffel did not appear.
Later on that same day, someone else referenced the post as coming from lonster on Freepublic.
Lonster very well may have gotten the copy from another source, but searches for the copy in that post showing up anywhere else on Google prior to that June 3 date came up empty. (Note: Below is just an example of one attempt to search the copy.
The note quickly started making the rounds at this point. You can see one person sharing pieces of it on Twitter on June 16, 2019.
Interestingly, searches on Duck Duck Go pulled up more information than Google searches. But the results date-wise are the same. Blogs began posting the same story in June frequently, and then it died down until the last couple of days when impeachment news started surfacing again. For example, Fergus Falls Journal just shared the post again in Letters to the Editor, submitted by Bill Schulz but quoting Suddfluffel.
The name Hyram appears to start showing up in late June, so it was connected to the post pretty quickly, although not widely used until August.
The post was also shared on 4 Chan’s /pol/ on June 18, 2019, and the poster at the time was “Anonymous” and they did not include the Hyram name with the post.
The post also showed up on June 12 on Government in Exile without the name. By June 16, it was already making the rounds on Facebook and being shared on forums from Facebook posts. The June 16 post noted that the story was seen on a comment on a Wall Street Journal article. Subsequent searches showed the post has appeared frequently as a comment on news articles, which has probably helped it spread so fast.
Although the exact origin isn’t known, the long comment appears to have first shown up in early June 2019 and did not have the Hyram name attached in the earliest iterations. This article will be updated if earlier versions of the comment are discovered in subsequent searches.
Is Anything in the Content of the Post True?
Interestingly, some things in the content of the post are true, but certainly not everything (including some of the more conspiracy-theory-sounding notes.) But certain comments about procedures, for example, are true. The House can pass articles of impeachment over the objections of Republicans.
If all 435 House members vote, they would need 218 votes for a majority to be reached and for Trump to be impeached. There are 235 Democrats in office in the House, one Independent, and 199 Republicans, Reuters explained. This means that it wouldn’t be too difficult to get those impeachment votes simply from Democrats alone. But like the post says, an impeachment does not mean removal.
The post is also correct in that the Senate would conduct a trial and, most likely, Republicans would not convict Trump. A 2/3 majority is needed in the Senate after the trial in order to remove a sitting President. In Trump’s case, a total of 67 Senators would need to vote to convict and remove the President. There are 45 Democrat Senators and 53 Republican Senators, plus two Independents who typically vote Democrat. So to reach the 67 total needed to remove Trump, they would need at least 20 Republicans to join with Democrats in voting to remove Trump (plus the two Independents), Reuters reported. This is unlikely to happen, although not impossible. If Trump is not convicted then he would be considered acquitted and would continue his term and could run again.
It’s also unlikely that anyone could be subpoenaed about anything. There isn’t a lot of precedent for Presidential impeachment trials. The most recent Senate impeachment trial involved Bill Clinton (and before him, Andrew Johnson), so Clinton’s trial can be reviewed for the most recent precedent and examples.
Rules for Senate impeachment trials can be read here. The 1868 rules are here. The Senate formulated its trial procedures and then-Vice President Thomas Jefferson wrote them down, and then additional rules were added by the Senate during Johnson’s trial, Heritage noted. Those rules were largely followed during Clinton’s trial.
The rules mention that subpoenas (spelled subpena in the document), would call people to testify their knowledge regarding the cause before the Senate.
In Clinton’s Senate trial, the Senators voted on procedural rules that would govern the trial, how many hours each side would have to present its case, and the like. They decided not to call live witnesses for Clinton’s trial, but instead showed video testimony. Senators debated their votes behind closed doors.
Interestingly, Heritage pointed out that the Chief Justice sometimes makes procedural rulings. In 1868, the Senate overruled the Chief Justice’s procedural rulings. In Clinton’s trial, the Senate never challenged the Chief Justice’s procedural rulings.
The Washington Post had an interesting article noting that Mitch McConnell, as the Senate Majority Leader, would have a lot of influence over the trial. The article posits that rules against hearsay evidence could be ignored if desired and the Chief Justice’s rulings overruled (as happened in Johnson’s trial.) McConnell might seek to have Joe Biden and Hunter Biden as live witnesses, for example, and they might look into Biden’s alleged actions in the Ukraine too. There also might be a lot of leeway in determining what would count as exculpatory evidence and, thus, necessary subpoenas to defend Trump.
In summary, Hyram F. Suddfluffel’s identity can’t be authenticated or verified, and the earliest examples of this post that’s circulating don’t include his name. There’s no evidence that Trump actually wants the impeachment or somehow planned for it to happen. There is quite a lot of reason, however, to imagine that Republican Senators likely would not vote for Trump’s removal. If more information about the post’s origins are found, this story will be updated.