We are now entering into the third Impeachment of a President in our nation’s history – the Impeachment of President Donald Trump. The first Impeachment being Andrew Johnson in 1868 and the last one being the Impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.
So, what are we to make of all of this?
IT WILL NOT ACHIEVE ANYTHING
Well, known columnist David Brooks wrote this way back in October, in the New York Times, before the decision was made to impeach Trump, “This will probably achieve nothing (emphasis mine). To actually remove Trump from office, at least 20 Republican senators would have to vote to convict him. If you think that will happen because of this incident, you haven’t been paying attention to the Senate Republicans over the past two and a half years. Usually, when a leader takes a big risk, it’s because there’s a big upside. But Nancy Pelosi is taking a giant risk, and there is little upside. At the end of this process, Trump will probably be acquitted by the Senate. He will declare himself vindicated and victorious in his battle against The Swamp. An ugly backlash could ensue – in both parties.” (nytimes.com).
IF THE DEMOCRATS KNOW THIS, WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS?
There are some possible reasons:
- They feel convinced that President Trump committed an impeachable offense on the phone call with the Ukrainian President, so they feel obliged to go ahead and impeach him.
- They believe Trump is in a position, as PresidentPresident, to win the next presidential election in November 2020, so they are seeking to remove him from office before that happens.
- It is all political. The Democrats have not gotten over Trump winning the 2016 election, and as a result, they have been seeking ways to undo the results ever since. As I have pointed out before in previous Langstaff Letters, they have talked about impeachment right from the day he was elected, and the mainstream media have assisted them. Initially, they thought the Mueller investigation would supply the means to Impeachment, but when that failed, they have looked for something else and landed on the Ukraine phone call instead.
TIME CHANGES EVERYTHING
It is interesting to compare political politicians today with how they acted in the Clinton impeachment. In December 1988 then house minority leader Nancy Pelosi declared, “Today the Republican majority is not judging the PresidentPresident with fairness, but impeaching him with a vengeance. . . In the investigation of the PresidentPresident, fundamental principles which Americans hold dear – fairness, privacy, checks and balances – have been seriously violated, and why? Because we are here today because the Republicans in the House are paralyzed with hatred of President Clinton…. Until the Republicans free themselves of that hatred, our country will suffer” (foxnews.com). Change the names and it could be today in Washington.
WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE FOR IMPEACHMENT?
Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, author of “The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump,” and a liberal Democrat, wrote this, “House Democrats have announced the grounds of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on which they plan to seek the Impeachment of President Trump. Neither of these proposed articles satisfy the express constitutional criteria for an impeachment, which are limited to “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Neither are high or low crimes or misdemeanors. Neither are mentioned within the Constitution.
Both are so vague and open-ended that they could be applied in partisan fashion by a majority of the House against almost any PresidentPresident from the opposing party. Both are precisely what the Framers had rejected at their Constitutional Convention. Both raise the “greatest danger,” in the words of Alexander Hamilton that the decision to impeach will be based on the “comparative strength of parties,” rather than on “innocence or guilt.”
That danger is now coming to pass, as House Democrats seek for the first time in American history to impeach a president without having at least some bipartisan support in Congress. Nor can they find any support in the words of the Constitution, or in the history of its adoption. A majority of the House is simply making it up as they go along in the process, thus placing themselves not only above the law but above the Constitution.
If the House votes to impeach President Trump on grounds not authorized by the Constitution, its action, in the words of Hamilton, is void. As he put it in the Federalist Papers, “no legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.” If this is indeed the case, then the Senate will be confronted with a constitutional dilemma, if and when it will receive a void and invalid Impeachment. It will have to decide whether to proceed with a trial of charges that are unconstitutional and therefore are void.
An analogy to consider from ordinary criminal cases may be imperfect but informative. If a grand jury were to indict a citizen on an unconstitutional “crime,” like marrying a person of a different race, the trial judge would immediately dismiss the indictment and refuse to subject the defendant to a trial. Indeed, the House plays a role similar to that of a grand jury in the impeachment context, and the Senate plays a role similar to the trial court. In the presidential impeachment context, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides and rules on the legal and evidentiary issues.
This is all uncharted ground, and it is difficult to predict how it will play out in the short term. In the long term, it is highly unlikely that President Trump will be removed by a two-thirds vote in the Senate controlled by Republicans. However, in the meantime, the unconstitutional action by a majority of the House to impeach a president on grounds not specified in the Constitution will certainly do considerable damage to the rule of law”(thehill.com).
WHAT DOES ALL THIS ACTUALLY MEAN?
It simply means that the current Impeachment of President Trump is not a legal issue; rather, it is a political issue. Whether or not you believe President Trump is guilty and that he should be removed from office, you need to recognize that there is no real basis based on the current two articles of Impeachment in the law. The push for Impeachment is purely political. Instead of waiting for people to decide the issue with the next election in November, the move by the Democrats is to get rid of President Trump now.
For all these obvious reasons, I believe that President Trump will be acquitted!