This week brings to a close the first week of President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. The Democrats lead by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer submitted 11 amendments, all of which were brought to a vote to be tabled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. All passed via party line votes of 47 – 53, save one exception that was still ultimately passed. Democrats professed the need for more witnesses and documentation while Republicans snubbed their every request. Despite the rhetoric, sound bytes and colorful commentary from both sides there are some inconvenient truths that neither side wishes to acknowledge.
First lets start off with the call to Ukraine that started it all. President Trump has repeated time and again that the call with Ukraine was “perfect”. It was not. However, it also was not illegal. Inappropriate? Absolutely. But both sides of the argument need to digest this heavy dose of reality. The call was not perfect. The call was not illegal.
So the Democrats took an inappropriate comment on a legal phone call between the President of the United States and the newly elected President of Ukraine and claimed high crimes and misdemeanors the likes of which could only be remedied by impeachment. In their Trial Memorandum submitted at the beginning of the week they indicated “overwhelming” evidence to such end and tried their best to illustrate that point for another 110 pages. They failed to achieve their goal and ultimately had to admit that fact on the Senate floor.
Rep. Adam Schiff in his opening remarks on Wednesday called on the need for witnesses and documents to support their case and illustrate the president’s guilt. Mr. Schiff said, “If the senators are serious about wanting to learn all the facts, these documents and witnesses will need to be produced”. This leaves us with the obvious question – which is it? Either there is overwhelming and sufficient evidence in the case the House presented in their articles of impeachment to show guilt of high crimes and misdemeanors, or there isn’t. It cannot be both. In this case the truth is the Democrats have failed to prove their case and are painfully aware of that fact.
Never in the history of the United States has anyone been impeached where no crime occurred. The Democrats now own that asterisk. It takes just a quick review of the impeachment articles to illustrate this fact.
The first article is “Abuse of Power”. The claim being that President Trump abused the power of the office of the president to coerce the president of Ukraine into investigating the Biden’s for a political advantage in the upcoming 2020 election by withholding congressionally approved military aid. The facts around this assertion are clear. No investigation to date has been announced by Ukraine nor has taken place. The funds were released to Ukraine once the investigation into the newly elected president of Ukraine was concluded and found him to not be corrupt – as he had campaigned on. Additionally it has to be noted that the Trump Administration has provided more lethal support to Ukraine than any past administration, including the Obama Administration who only sent food and blankets. If anything the events around this impeachment article prove more the “Lack of Power” than abuse thereof considering Ukraine delivered nothing on the Biden’s yet still received the military aid.
The second article is “Obstruction of Congress”. They question here being – how can you obstruct Congress when you were never given the chance? The Democrats claim that by President Trump instructing his staff, cabinet and advisor’s who were involved with the call to Ukraine to not provide congressional testimony is obstruction. The problem here is that the president has the constitutional right under Executive Privilege to instruct those people to not testify. The Obama Administration asserted this in a memorandum opinion for the counsel to the President issued July 15, 2014. In that memorandum they stated,
“The Executive Branch’s longstanding position, reaffirmed by numerous Administrations of both political parties, is that the President’s immediate advisers are absolutely immune from congressional testimonial process. This immunity is rooted in the constitutional separation of powers, and in the immunity of the President himself from congressional compulsion to testify.”
If, however, the Democrats had taken their time and allowed the courts to determine if Executive Privilege applied in this case and the courts came back ruling in their favor saying that it does not apply and then President Trump still instructed his people to not testify – that would have been obstruction. But the Democrats refused to let that play out and in doing so removed any possible charge of obstruction. The lesson here for Democrats being to let the process play out and allow your mark to commit the crime instead of charging them with it beforehand. This isn’t the Minority Report. Not yet, at least.
At this point we are left with no option but to let this charade of an impeachment play out to it’s rightful end which is the acquittal of President Trump. How long this circus will last is the only true mystery remaining. But the inconvenient truths underlying this impeachment are plain and simple. President Trump should never have been impeached in the House. Instead he should have been censured by Congress and they should have then gotten back to the work the American people elected them to office to do. But instead we, the taxpayers, now have an impeachment few wanted or believe in.
I’m aware it is January 24th, but is it too late to exchange this Christmas gift from Speaker Pelosi?