The prospect of impeaching President Trump has no comparison in American history – and it will both divide the nation and stoke the fires of partisan hostility unlike any time since the Civil War.
The impeachment of Democrat President Andrew Johnson by the Radical Republicans in Congress following the Civil War took place BECAUSE the nation was already dangerously divided. In the case of President Jackson, Congress chose to censure the President but not impeach. President Nixon avoided the divisiveness of impeachment by resigning – and his removal was bipartisan and had the assent of the majority of the people. The impeachment of President Clinton failed to divide the nation because his behavior was considered impeachable – not his dalliances in the Oval Office, but his lies and perjury.
No President has ever been forced out of office – and that is significant. The will of the people is paramount to the will of partisan politicians. That is why the Founders said impeachment should be reserved ONLY for “treason, bribery, HIGH crimes and misdemeanors.” Even though they created a political instrument, it is clear that they wanted it applied ONLY in the case of high CRIMES under our rule-of-law. That means rules-of-evidence and defendant protections – such as the right to mount a defense, to call witnesses, to have exculpatory evidence considered AND to confront accusers.
Unfortunately, in leaving impeachment in the judgment of politicians – without the protections of law – the process can be abused and weaponized – and that is exactly what is happening today. And there are several abuses that are being utilized today.
Vote by the House
In the past, the House would vote to commence an impeachment hearing. The hearing would be conducted by the House Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, while that is tradition and good policy and builds confidence in the system, it is not an absolute requirement. Consequently, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have shoved that aside to unilaterally and summarily declare that their iniquitous investigations ARE an impeachment hearing – which they call an “inquiry” for obvious reasons.
Instead, Pelosi appoints half dozen House committees to “inquire.” This is not an investigation or hearing. It is a mandate to prejudge the President and to fish for as much as they can to stitch together a seemingly credible argument for the impeachment for which they already are prepared to vote. It is nothing less than a decision looking for justification.
But the distinction between a real impeachment hearing and this kangaroo legislative process is more than style and semantics. Under the rules of the House, in a REAL impeachment hearing, the President has a right to put up a defense. He can be represented by lawyers. In a REAL impeachment hearing, the Republicans on the committee are allowed additional staff to compensate for the partisan staffing that occurs normally. Republicans would have the right to subpoena witnesses, which they are denied in the current Pelosi political process. Pelosi and the Democrats are putting together a politically rigged process.
Abuse of and by the news media
It is impossible to understate the corruptive influence of the partisan liberal news media. Like any propaganda operation, they obsess with partisan narratives without consideration to fact and counterpoint.
They are worse than a prosecutor in a courtroom. Like the prosecutor, the east coast establishmentarian media presents only one side of the story. They construct, interpret and present all facts, theories and hypotheses to create the most damning case possible. But even prosecutors in a courtroom are legally bound to reveal all exculpatory evidence and are barred from creating false evidence. The press and their Democratic Party client have no such restraints.
We have seen how the press advanced the claim by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who said he had seen hard evidence of criminal collusion by the Trump campaign. Even as he presided over an official investigation, Schiff entered false “evidence” in the court-of-public-opinion by presenting a fraudulent transcript of the Trump phone conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – an action that could have him disbarred and even indicted in the real judiciary system. Instead, the crony news media played it down or even defended it.
Schiff repeatedly lied about his knowledge of the whistleblower and the details of his complaint. Had he done that in a real court or to an investigator, he could have been indicted and sent to prison, like former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos. Again, the media makes light of the situation – and they can because even the rules of fairness and decency do not apply to the court-of-public-opinion.
Those who control the left-wing media – the owners, the producers and the reporters – are abusing the First Amendment’s protections provided by the nation’s Founders to a FREE press. The low regard in which the Fourth Estate is held by the American public is NOT due to the attacks by Trump. It precedes Trump and is largely due to the shameful departure from traditional journalistic standards and ethics. If that were not true, Trump’s criticisms would have no impact. His language may be hyperbolic, but his criticism is spot on.
There is a legal difference between a whistleblower and a leaker, but for all intents and purposes, it is a distinction without a difference. They are insiders desiring to expose information damaging to someone or some institution. The convenient assumption is that they are operating in the public interest. In many cases, that may be true, but they can also be motivated by corrupt desires.
We have on the public record, the complaint of the first whistleblower. It appears to be a lawyer-drafted prosecutorial brief against Trump – charging (implying) that he had created a quid pro quo that held back military aid to the Ukraine for political dirt on a potential opponent in the 2020 presidential election. The case is based on the arbitrary interpretation of one sentence in the phone call. The facts in the complaint, however, fall far short of proving the contention.
The problem with this complaint is that it was a political roll-out partially organized by Schiff and his Intelligence Committee. Having had initial meetings with the whistleblower, Schiff & Co. created a bright shiny object to attract maximum media attention. That in and of itself is an abuse of the whistleblower system.
In a very real sense, a whistleblower is a de-criminalized leaker. There is a reason leaking is a crime – and making it legal is not an appropriate action – especially in matters of criminal accusations. Our Constitution is rather clear on the subject. It requires that anyone accused of a crime has a right to know, see and confront their accuser. As I have previously written, secret accusations are the product of authoritarians. They were used during the Inquisition, by the Salem witch hunters, by segregationist Democrats in the Old South and by Twentieth Century Nazi and Communist regimes – to name a few.
Democrats are using the technicality that an impeachment is NOT a judicial process involving all the rules-of-law, but a political process where there are no rules or legal requirements. That does not mean that the practice of secret accusers is not a dangerous threat to our basic concepts of freedom and inalienable rights.
Without knowing the accuser, we cannot judge the all-important credibility. We do know that the whistleblower is out of the CIA and has a political bias. Those facts alone raise questions of motive and credibility.
Now cometh a second whistleblower who can substantiate the complaint of the first. Unless this whistleblower has new information of significance, it is just a matter of piling-on. Like the first, whistleblower number two is out of the CIA and is represented by the same attorney(s) as the first.
With two whistleblowers out of the same intelligence agency, there is a disturbing possibility of a continuation of the historic efforts by intel officers to take down Trump – something that is currently being investigated.
By politically weaponizing the whistleblower program, Democrats and the media are drawing attention to its dangerous potential. Our members of Congress would be well advised to not only look at the case in hand, but to address the weakness in the whistleblower program that allows it to be so easily and flagrantly abused.
Nullifying the will of the people
It is possible that between an impeachment and a trial in the Senate, the process will go well into 2020 – just months or even weeks before we the people can make our judgment about Trump. Democrats want to snatch that right way for us so that they can engineer a bloodless (maybe) coup. Like all authoritarians, the left-wing Democrats are seeking to usurp the right of the people by imposing an elitist decision. I would argue that that poses more danger to the Republic than anything Trump has done.
So, there ‘tis.