IMPEACHMENT DISTRACTION

TRUMP - ACQUITTED (Times of Israel)

(Photo courtesy of Times of Israel)

by Diane Rufino, February 9, 2020

For the past months, we have watched as President Donald J. Trump was impeached in the House by rabid partisan politicians, then tried in the Senate, and ultimately ACQUITTED. We have been utterly disgusted at the depths to which Democrats were willing to go to tarnish the name of this president, to somehow remove him from office, to undue the legitimate election of 2016, and at the very least, to smear his legacy and help derail his changes at re-election in November. We will never forget how the wicked witch of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said these words at the podium “He is impeached forever.”

Now we know that Trump’s popularity increased steadily and impressively during the entire process of impeachment and that his campaign took in record donations. We also now know that history will record Trump’s impeachment as nothing more than the desperate act of the most angry group of House Democrats in our country’s history. It was distinctly partisan, it was highly prejudicial to the Republicans and to Trump (they were all excluded from the testimony phase of the inquiry), and it was profoundly bitter and angry. History will record Rep. Adam Schiff as a conniving clown who fabricated charges, fabricated testimony, interpreted Trump’s conservation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky using his own personal and political slant, and essentially fabricated the two articles of impeachment without any actual crime committed (not that it is absolutely necessary) and in the most ambiguous and undefined terms. It was truly a “Schiff Show.”

So let’s take a look at this most solemn and serious of government processes – Impeachment of a US President.

Impeachment is the process whereby we can attempt to remove a president of the United States, other civil officers, or federal judges because of some egregious conduct.

As we’ll see, the term egregious conduct is what is and MUST BE the standard and the basis to legally attack a sitting president of the United States, or the other officers and judges, and then to remove him (or her) from office. So rabid were the House Democrats in their quest to destroy President Trump that their articles included a provision that he not be eligible to hold any other official public office.

Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution provides:

The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

First, we must notice which class of government officials the Constitution reserves the process of “Impeachment” for. The provision specifically identifies “the President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States.” LectLaw defines “all civil officers of the United States” this way: “All officers of the United States who hold their appointments under the national government, whether their duties are executive or judicial, in the highest or the lowest departments of the government, with the exception of officers of the army and navy.” [See: https://www.lectlaw.com/def/c236.htm].

Clearly, members of Congress are not subject to the Impeachment process. Each house of Congress has its own set of rules to govern conduct, breach of conduct, and punishment.

Justia US Law explains even further what the drafters of the Constitution and our Founders envisioned with Impeachment:

“During the debate in the First Congress on the “removal” controversy, it was contended by some members that impeachment was the exclusive way to remove any officer of the government from his post, but Madison and others contended that this position was destructive of sound governmental practice, and the view did not prevail. Impeachment, said Madison, was to be used to reach a bad officer sheltered by the President and to remove him “even against the will of the President; so that the declaration in the Constitution was intended as a supplementary security for the good behavior of the public officers.” While the language of Section 4 covers any “civil officer” in the executive branch, and covers judges as well, it excludes military officers, and the precedent was early established that it does not apply to members of Congress. [See: https://law.justia.com/constitution/us/article-2/48-persons-subject-to-impeachment.html].

Also notice that the operative words in Article II, Section 4 are “shall be removed from office.” And that’s what it’s all about, right? It’s about removing such an officer (and here we are specifically referring to the President of the United States) because of some horrendous conduct that is so shocking and repulsive as to erode general confidence, on a bi-partisan basis, in his ability to continue as the Chief Executive of the United States.

The provisions in the Constitution, which as we shall see, are written in simple and plain language, and without any detail, were designed to mirror the process of removal that was followed in Great Britain in the 14th century. Alexander Hamilton explains this in his essay, Federalist No. 65.

The purpose of Impeachment, therefore, is not to shame the president, insult him, demean him, tarnish his name or his legacy, diminish his likability with the American people, or to erode his chances of re-election. And it most certainly isn’t the process to use to undue a legitimate and constitutional election – to reverse the decision of the American people and the Electoral College at the ballot box, the sacred venue of the people to exert their voice in government. The purpose is to address a most serious and egregious violation (criminal or otherwise – “treason, bribery, or other high crime or misdemeanor”) and remove him from office because of it.

Democrats, as always, ignore the Constitution.

The Constitution gives the US House of Representatives the sole power to impeach the president (that is, to bring charges against him) and it makes the Senate the sole body to try him on those impeachment charges. That is, the Senate alone has the power to convict or acquit the President on the charges.

So what is the “process” of Impeachment? Clearly, and expressly, it is a 2-step process that takes place in the most powerful branch to counter the Executive – the Legislative branch.

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution provides: “The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment.”

Article I, Section 3 provides: “The Senate shall have the sole power to TRY all impeachments.”

This latter provision necessarily implies something extremely important – it implies that Due Process is required in the Senate “trial.” In other words, the President, like any other civil officer of the United States who has impeachment charges brought against him (or her), has the right to address the charges, the right to address those who brought the charges against him, and in general, the right of Due Process.

Due Process is one of the essential cornerstones of our American society. It passes down from the British system which hails a sordid history where kings abused the rights of their subjects and in fact, targeted their political opponents to silence them. “Due Process” guarantees that before depriving a citizen of life, liberty or property, government must follow fair procedures. Citizens are entitled to have the government observe or offer fair procedures to secure said rights of life, liberty, or property (or other rights offered to citizens). Action denying the process that is “due” would be unconstitutional. Here is an example we can all appreciate: Suppose, for example, state law recognizes the right of every student to exercise the tenets of their religion (as long as it doesn’t interfere with or burden the learning environment). Before the state could deny, for example, a student from wearing a cross or using a backpack that displays an image of the crucifixion, it would have to provide fair procedures, i.e. “due process.”

The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” And the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. These words have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law and provide fair procedures.

Regarding the recent impeachment of Donald Trump, he clearly had a right at stake. He campaigned for the office of the presidency (like no other candidate ever did, by the way) and he won. He was duly and constitutionally elected to the office by the American people and our Electoral College system.

In short, Trump had a right to the Presidency.

And House Democrats, out of hatred, political ambition, and extreme anger and desperate frustration, tried to deny him this right by passing two ridiculous Articles of Impeachment – (1) Abuse of Power, and (2) Obstruction of Congress.

According to the Impeachment process, according to the Constitution, the Senate was obligated to give President Trump his “day in court,” so to speak. And his legal team (including the esteemed attorneys Jay Sekulow, Pat Cippolone, Kenneth Starr, Alan Dershowitz, Pam Bondi, Pat Philbin, and Robert Ray) did an absolutey brilliant job.

I was lucky and honored to have been ale to sit in the Senate chambers to observe the proceedings. What an experience to observe such a historical event.

The Constitution doesn’t provide much detail or insight into what constitutes a “high crime or misdemeanor” sufficient to warrant removal from office, so we look to our nation’s history to see what past attempts at impeachment have taught us.

First, we should note that Impeachment was always intended as a process that was hardly ever to be used. It was to be reserved for the most egregious of behavior. Ken Starr addressed this in the remarks he delivered to the Senate. He explained that Impeachment was intended to be used, if ever, maybe every century. But something happened in the latter part of the 20th century to “weaponize” impeachment. He described it as “The Age of Impeachment.” It began, he explained, with Richard Nixon and the Watergate Scandal cover-up that he engaged so aggressively in.

President Richard Nixon was not impeached, as it turned out, but he was threatened with it. Congress was getting ready to bring articles of impeachment against him, including, of course, “Obstruction of Justice.” Nixon was convinced that too many representatives and senators, from both sides, were so disgusted and repulsed by how aggressively he obstructed justice during the Watergate investigation (obstructed the Starr investigation, as Independent Counsel), that they would have easily voted to impeach and then remove him. And so he decided to reign – to save face.

That would have been an actual and authentic exercise of the Impeachment process. Richard Nixon clearly used terrible judgement and used the full power of his office and the power of the federal government to cover up some illegality perpetrated by others (ultimately for his benefit in the upcoming presidential election).

Impeachment of a President has occurred in our nation’s history only three times – with Andrew Johnson (1868), Bill Clinton (1998), and Donald Trump (2019). None of them were removed from office, even though impeachment charges were brought against them by the House. Johnson came the closest to being impeached, and we’ll look more closely into how that happened.

First, let’s look at the impeachment of President Bill Clinton to see what it teaches us about the kinds of crimes that warrant removal from office. As mentioned earlier, Kenneth Starr, a brilliant and respected attorney, was appointed as the Special Counsel to investigate the charges that stemmed from Clinton’s sexual conduct (that is, misconduct) and especially from the sexual harassment lawsuit brought against him by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who was sexually assaulted by then Arkansas Governor Clinton. Ken Starr found eleven felony charges that Clinton was guilty of and, as he summed up in his famous Starr Report: “The President has pursued a strategy of (i) deceiving the American people and Congress in January 1998, (ii) delaying and impeding the criminal investigation for seven months, and (iii) deceiving the American people and Congress again in August 1998.” His repeated false statements to the American people about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky “represents substantial and credible information that may constitute grounds for an impeachment.”

The House of Representatives took up Starr’s Report and compiled the felony charges into four Articles of Impeachment. The House only approved of two of them: (1) Lying Under Oath (“perjury”), and (2) Obstruction of Justice. The charges stemmed from the sexual harassment suit filed by Paula Jones, and specifically, arose out of Clinton’s testimony before a grand jury. The testimony addressed his harassment of Ms. Jones and his relationship with Ms. Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was impeached by the House by bi-partisan support: He was impeached on the “Perjury” charge (228-206) and on the “Obstruction of Justice” charge (221-212). His presidency was saved in the Senate. All 45 Democrats in the Senate voted “not guilty” on both charges, and were joined by Republicans as well. He was acquitted by the Senate.

I didn’t agree with the Senate’s vote regarding President Clinton’s conduct. I saw him perverting his obligation to the Office of the Presidency and subjugating it in order to hide his sexual misconduct and to hopefully continue it. I interpreted the results of the Senate’s vote either of two ways: (1) First, I assumed the Senators didn’t believe Clinton’s conduct – as bad and derelict as it was – was serious enough and of the type to warrant removing him from office. Sure, it was bad conduct… very bad. It evidenced a lifetime of poor judgement and sexual predation, but it was of a personal nature and the Senate should understand that and excuse it. I didn’t buy that. It was of a serial nature. He simply had no will power or any other power to decline his sexual urges, even when it touched on his work in the White House Oval Office. (2) Second, I assumed the Senators were simply voting along partisan lines, which clearly the Democrats did. As I mentioned above, none of the Senate Democrats voted to convict.

But Clinton did face some degree of justice. Being a notable attorney, a state Governor, a US president, a Rhodes scholar, he proved his skills were more adept at lying. He was immediately disbarred and his license to practice before the Supreme Court was taken away.

So, whether it was politically partisan or not, it appears that Democrats didn’t believe that conduct as willfully deceptive and sexually predacious as Clinton’s was of a nature sufficient to remove a president from office.

Next, let’s look to see where Impeachment was first used as a “weapon” for strictly political reasons. That would be the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in 1686.

In 1864, Abraham Lincoln won re-election. He had run as the Republican Party’s first presidential candidate in 1860, but he was looking to expand his base in 1864. Adding Andrew Johnson to the ticket was just the way he would do so.

Johnson proved to be a sharp and independent thinker. This was most evident following the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln when Southern states began to secede. While the secession convention met in Charleston, South Carolina in December 1869, Johnson addressed the Senate and proclaimed his allegiance to the Union. He was born in North Carolina to a poor family but when he was still young, he and his family moved to Tennessee. Johnson was a Democrat and didn’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with Lincoln.

Tennessee seceded in 1861, but Johnson decided to remain in Washington.. In March of 1862, President Lincoln rewarded Johnson’s loyalty with an appointment as military governor of Tennessee. When Lincoln sought a second presidential term in 1864 and needed the support of “Union Democrats” (as opposed to “Southern Democrats”), he chose Johnson as his running mate. He chose a Democrat as a running mate. Johnson became Vice-President on March 4, 1865, and just forty-two days later, after Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, he was sworn in as President of the United States.

At first things went well. It appeared, from the Radical Republicans, that President Johnson was a god-send. Relations between he and the Republicans was quite well. However, soon Johnson’s views on mending the Union and on Reconstruction became clear and they were not in line at all with the Republican plan. Johnson opposed political rights for freedmen and called for a lenient reconstruction policy, including pardoning former Confederate leaders. The president looked for every opportunity to block action by the Radical Republicans and freely used his veto power.. It became obvious that had no interest in compromise. When Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and then vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau bill in February of 1866, he officially broke any final ties with his Republican opponents in Congress. They responded with the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, promising civil rights to freed slaves and then guaranteeing them the right to vote. In March of 1867 Radical Republicans also passed, over Johnson’s presidential veto, the Tenure of Office Act which was designed to limit the president’s ability to shape his cabinet by requiring that both appointments and dismissals be approved by the Senate. The bill was a clear unconstitutional exercise of legislative power – as violative of the Separation of Powers doctrine.

Johnson’s biggest point of contention was with a particularly nasty hold-over from Lincoln’s cabinet – Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War. Stanton was a bad guy – a very bad guy. He supported total war against the South, supported General Sherman’s devastating treatment of the southern states, supported his “scorched Earth policy (as Lincoln did), and supported his “March to the Sea” (an overt act of supremacy and over-kill). Stanton supported strong punishment of the former Confederate States and demanded total control of the those vanquished states. According to Stanton, they would not be permitted a seamless transition back into the Union.

When Johnson tried repeatedly to remove Stanton, Congress responded quickly by passing the Tenure of Office Act. Stanton, a Radical Republican, was critical to the Republican plan to re-make the Union after the Civil War.

By mid-1867, Johnson’s enemies in Congress were repeatedly promoting impeachment. Johnson would have to go. The precipitant event that resulted in a third and successful impeachment action was the firing Stanton. Stanton was not aligned with the President and persisted in opposing his Reconstruction policies. Johnson hoped to replace him with Ulysses S. Grant, whom Johnson believed to be more in line with his own political thinking. In August of 1867, while Congress was in recess, Johnson suspended Stanton and appointed Grant as secretary of war ad interim. When the Senate opposed Johnson’s actions and reinstated Stanton in the fall, Grant resigned, fearing punitive action and possible consequences for his own presidential ambitions. Furious with his congressional opponents, Johnson fired Stanton and informed Congress of this action, then named Major General Lorenzo Thomas, a long-time foe of Stanton, as interim secretary. Stanton promptly had Thomas arrested for illegally seizing his office.

Johnson believed the Tenure of Office Act to be unconstitutional [and Congress must have ultimately agreed. It repealed the law in 1887 and the US Supreme Court, while evaluating the constitutionality of a similar law in the case Myers v. United States (1926), stated that the Tenure of Office Act was likely unconstitutional] and so he didn’t take it seriously as a bar to him getting rid of the pesky Stanton.

And that’s all Congress needed to finally bring, in their minds, a solid case of impeachment against Johnson. In 1868, Congress brought eleven articles of impeachment against him, most of them stemming from his suspension of Stanton – his alleged violation of the Tenure of Office Act. Article 1 stated that Johnson ordered Stanton removed with the intent to violate the act. Articles 2, 3 and 8 alleged that the appointment of Thomas, to replace Stanton, without the advice and consent of the Senate was a further violation of the Constitution. And so their political assassination of Johnson proceeded.

In the Senate, the vote fell short by one. The votes of all Senators was carefully noted and it was clear that Johnson would have been convicted. But at the last minute, Senator Edmund Gibson Ross of Kansas, decided not to vote to convict but rather to acquit. And thus, Johnson was acquitted and allowed to remain in office by one vote. The reason given by those who voted to acquit was that they “could not agree to destroy the harmonious working of the Constitution for the sake of getting rid of an unacceptable President.”

In other words, to convict Johnson on the specious charges brought by the rabid Radical Republicans in the House would be to plunge the country in a constitutional crisis.

That was 1868.

History repeated itself these past two months. As it was done with Andrew Johnson, angry and desperate political opponents weaponized the impeachment option for purely partisan political purposes.

In our history, twenty government officials have been impeached – including the three presidents I mentioned. Eight of them have been found guilty and have been removed from office – ALL FEDERAL JUDGES.

 

References:

“Civil Officer,” in Lectlaw. Referenced at: https://www.lectlaw.com/def/c236.htm

“Persons Subject to Impeachment,” in Justia US Law. Referenced at: https://law.justia.com/constitution/us/article-2/48-persons-subject-to-impeachment.html

“Due Process,” in Cornell Law School. Referenced at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/due_process

The Starr Report (Full report submitted to the House of Representatives by Special Counsel Kenneth Starr on September 9, 1998 – https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/icreport/srprintable.htm

The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson (1868),” United States Senate. Referenced at: https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Impeachment_Johnson.htm

IMPEACHMENT – Where Do We Go From Here?

IMPEACHMENT - how it works

by Diane Rufino, December 23, 2019

My friend Joe McLaughlin said that he heard that despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi choosing to hold back the articles of impeachment that House Democrats alone passed against President Trump from the Senate (until certain conditions are met – ie, “quid pro quo”), the Senate has the opportunity to act. He asked if this is true.

Here is how impeachment works, as I understand it. The Constitution speaks to impeachment process but not to an detailed procedure. It is a 2-part process, to be separated by 2 distinct branches of the legislature. It is an act of separation of powers, designed to temper political passions and to resort to reason and responsibility. All the Constitution says is that the House of Representatives can bring impeachment charges against the president (a simple majority is all that is required) but it is the Senate that has the power to remove him for those charges. Article 1, Section 2 states that the House “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” – meaning it alone has the power to bring charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” against a president. The far greater responsibility lies with the Senate, as it should, since those representatives were (as the original Constitution provided) selected by the states and not the populace and hold a far longer tenure in office and hence are (or should be) more knowledgeable and responsible. Section 3 states that the Senate “shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” A president is removed from office by a 2/3 supermajority vote of the Senate. As you can see, there is no mention of procedure in the Constitution. The question we are pondering is this: Isn’t the House REQUIRED to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate IMMEDIATELY? To answer this, we have to look to the Senate’s own RULES governing how it handles its role, its procedure, in the impeachment process. Currently, those rules begin by stating: The first rule of impeachment procedure states that the Senate will not act on an impeachment until the House sends to the Senate its appointed “managers”— the representatives who will act as the lawyers during the impeachment trial. After the House has presented its managers to the Senate, then the Senate takes the reins and launches its trial. If the Senate wants to frustrate Pelosi’s “quid pro quo” attempt, all it needs to do is alter its rules outlining the impeachment procedure in the Senate. It simply needs to put a time limit on the transmission of articles of impeachment to the Senate, asserting that any so-called “crimes” levied against the President under the impeachment power must be deemed serious enough to warrant immediate action by the Senate. Otherwise, they are not serious enough to have been brought against him in the first place.

In an opinion piece for FOX News by GianCarlo Canaparo titled “Pelosi Powerless to Delay Trump Impeachment Trial if Senate Does THIS,” Mr. Canaparo pretty much summed up the very same opinion. He wrote:

The first rule of impeachment procedure states that the Senate will not act on an impeachment until the House sends to the Senate its appointed “managers”— the representatives who will act as the lawyers during the impeachment trial. After the House has presented its managers to the Senate, then the Senate takes the reins and launches its trial.

So can Pelosi delay an impeachment trial?  Yes, as long as the Senate doesn’t change its current rules. But there’s absolutely nothing stopping it from changing this rule, and the Senate should change the rule to prevent this sort of gamesmanship.

The Senate should not let Pelosi interfere with its constitutional obligations and its independence in this way.

Impeachment of the president shakes the nation to its core, and when, as here, it’s done in a nakedly partisan way, it divides the country and damages our constitutional framework. It needs to be over as quickly as possible.

So the Senate should change its impeachment rules as follows: once the House has impeached the president, the Senate shall set a date for trial and shall set a deadline for the House to present its managers to the Senate. If the House fails to meet that deadline, the Senate will either dismiss the articles of impeachment for lack of prosecution or, better yet, vote on the articles immediately in light of the evidence presented to it — in this case, no evidence.

Having set this boulder rolling, House Democrats should not be allowed now to hold it up. They started this process. It’s up to the Senate to finish it on its terms alone. Not Pelosi’s.

As I pointed out earlier, the Constitution doesn’t say how fast the articles must go to the Senate. But it can arguably be assumed that some modest delay might be expected. It certainly wouldn’t be inconsistent with the Constitution. But certainly an indefinite delay – and certainly a “quid-pro-quo” type delay – would pose a very serious problem. It might even rise to a “constitutional crisis.”

But FOX News isn’t the only opinion on Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment.

According to leftist/ progressive Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who testified in favor of impeachment and on behalf of Democrats in front of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, President Trump isn’t actually impeached until the Pelosi sends the articles to the Senate. He argues that impeachment, as contemplated by the Constitution, is a process. It does not merely consist of a vote by the House, but includes a trial in the Senate on those charges (the impeachment charges) to determine whether they are serious enough to warrant removal from office. Both parts – the articles of impeachment brought by the House and the trial in the Senate –are necessary to legally constitute “impeachment” under the Constitution. to make an impeachment under the Constitution: In other words, the House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial.

In an article he penned for Bloomberg Opinion, titled Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate, Professor Feldman wrote:

“According to the Constitution, impeachment is a process, not a vote If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.”

In fact, President Trump is already hinting that this is his position.

And this brings us to another point – the Senate must actually hold a trial on the impeachment charges. Once the articles are sent, the Senate has a constitutional duty to hold a trial on the impeachment charges presented. Just as unreasonably holding back the articles of impeachment or indefinitely holding them back from the Senate frustrates and therefore violates the Constitution scheme of impeachment, failure for the Senate to hold a trial after impeachment would also clearly deviate from such expectations. It would deny the president the chance to defend himself in the Senate that the Constitution provides. We couldn’t, in good conscience as a “free nation,” deny the President of the United States, duly elected by the American people under the Electoral College system, the fundamental right to confront his accusers and to defend himself in a trial before a vote is taken on removal from office. Due Process demands that when there is a right at stake (the office of the presidency being the right in this case), there must be a legal procedure in place to allow the accused to confront and address those who try to deny him that right. The most debase and vile of criminals are guaranteed this right, after all.

The drafters and framers of our Constitution included the provisions for impeachment taking note of how it had been practiced in England. In England, the House of Commons brought impeachment charges and the House of Lords tried those charges. In fact, the whole point of Commons bringing the charges was for them to brought against the accused in the House of Lords, in the form of a trial. Strictly speaking, therefore, “impeachment” refers to the process of presenting the articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial. And, as emphasized earlier, at that point the Senate would be obliged by the Constitution to hold a trial.

If the House were vote to “impeach” Trump (which it did) but doesn’t send the articles to the Senate or send impeachment managers there to carry its message, then while it hasn’t directly violated the text of the Constitution, it certainly has technically violated it by intentionally acting against the implicit logic of the Constitution’s process of impeachment. Again, we see the logic in President Trump’s position.

With respect to Pelosi’s quid-pro-quo argument that articles of impeachment will be withheld until SHE deems that the Senate procedures are fair enough to the Democrats, Professor Feldman dismisses that position altogether. He asserts that only the Senate is empowered to judge the fairness of its own trial. After all, that is what is explicitly stated by the phrase “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”

But even if we decide to overlook GianCarlo Canparo from FOX News and Professor Noah Feldman, there is still liberal law school professor Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz pretty much echoes the same position as Feldman.

Dershowitz further criticizes the Democrats for its second article of impeachment, which in his opinion is abusive and threatens the integrity of the impeachment process. He says that although the entire impeachment process by House Democrats smacks of partisanship, it is the second article of impeachment that particularly does so. And he is concerned for its effect in future attempts to impeach a partisanly-unpopular president.

While lamenting over this second article of impeachment, Dershowitz was encouraged by the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to review the lower court rulings involving congressional and prosecution subpoenas directed toward President Trump, which he claims “pulls the rug out from” or “undercuts” the Democrats’ second article of impeachment. That second article of impeachment charges President Trump with obstruction of Congress for refusing to comply with the congressional subpoenas in the absence of a final court order. In so charging him, the House Judiciary Committee has arrogated to itself the power to decide the validity of subpoenas, and the power to determine whether claims of executive privilege must be recognized, both authorities that properly belong with the judicial branch of our government, not the legislative branch.

In an article he wrote for The Hill, Dershowitz explained: “President Trump has asserted that the executive branch, of which he is the head, need not comply with congressional subpoenas requiring the production of privileged executive material, unless there is a final court order compelling such production. He has argued, appropriately, that the judicial branch is the ultimate arbiter of conflicts between the legislative and executive branches. Therefore, the Supreme Court decision to review these three cases, in which lower courts ruled against President Trump, provides support for his constitutional arguments in the investigation.”

He further wrote:

The cases that are being reviewed are not identical to the challenged subpoenas that form the basis for the second article of impeachment. One involves authority of the New York district attorney to subpoena the financial records of a sitting president, as part of any potential criminal investigation. The others involve authority of legislative committees to subpoena records as part of any ongoing congressional investigations.

But they are close enough. Even if the high court were eventually to rule against the claims by President Trump, the fact that the justices decided to hear them, in effect, supports his constitutional contention that he had the right to challenge congressional subpoenas in court, or to demand that those issuing the subpoenas seek to enforce them through court.

It undercuts the contention by House Democrats that President Trump committed an impeachable offense by insisting on a court order before sending possibly privileged material to Congress. Even before the justices granted review of these cases, the two articles of impeachment had no basis in the Constitution. They were a reflection of the comparative voting power of the two parties, precisely what one of the founders, Alexander Hamilton, warned would be the “greatest danger” of an impeachment.

So, we have reasoned constitutional analysis that tells us that impeachment is a process by which articles of impeachment (“the charges”) must be delivered by the House to the Senate in a timely fashion and whereby a trial must be conducted in the Senate on those impeachment charges. Removal from office is a decision made solely by the Senate, based on procedural rules decided upon solely by the Senate. We further have reasoned constitutional opinion, by both liberal and conservative constitutional attorneys, that condemns the games that Nancy Pelosi is playing with impeachment and condemns further the very articles of impeachment that Democrats alone voted in favor of.

President Trump appears to be on very solid ground in his positions first to claim executive privilege with regard to the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoenas and second with regard to his criticism of the quid-pro-quo games Nancy Pelosi is playing by withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate.

The House Democrats pursued their evil purpose and achieved their evil goal – to bring articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump. How proud they must be that they allowed an anger over losing the presidential election in 2016 to Donald Trump to consume their very being, blind their oaths of allegiance to the Constitution, and to corrupt their ability to act as responsible representatives over the most successful free nation in the world to the point that they have made a mockery of our very institution of government and have put the interests of a political party over the best interests of the country. Such a sad day in the history of our country. But the good news is that their part in the process is over. It is now up to the Senate to complete the process. Luckily we don’t have the same level of Trump Derangement Syndrome (or the same level of abject stupidity) in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi may try to continue playing games and rigging the process and twisting the rules and perverting the Constitution, but the truth of the matter is that her part is done and the process outlined by the Constitution requires her to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial in order that President Trump can have his day and defend himself. If she continues to play games, the Senate can force the matter by simply altering the procedural rules. And we hope that will happen to shut her up and to allow her to finally seek the psychiatric help she so sorely needs.

 

References:

GianCarlo Canaparo, ““Pelosi Powerless to Delay Trump Impeachment Trial if Senate Does THIS,” FOX News, December 20, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/giancarlo-canaparo-pelosi-cant-stop-trumps-trial-in-the-senate

Noah Feldman, “Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate,” Bloomberg Opinion, December 19, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-12-19/trump-impeachment-delay-could-be-serious-problem-for-democrats

Alan Dershowitz, “Supreme Court Ruling Pulls Rug Rut from Under Article of Impeachment,” The Hill, December 16, 2019. Referenced at: https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/474710-supreme-court-ruling-pulls-rug-out-from-under-article-of-impeachment

Matt Vespa, “Liberal Lawyer: SCOTUS Just ‘Ripped the Rug’ from Under the Democrats’ Trump Impeachment Push,” Townhall, December 20, 2019. Referenced at: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2019/12/20/liberal-lawyer-scotus-just-ripped-the-rug-from-under-the-democrats-trump-impeachment-push-n2558364?utm_campaign=inarticle

It’s Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight; It’s the Size of the Fight in the Dog

TRUMP - wrestling belt

(Photo from Twitter)

by Diane Rufino, December 18, 2019

Mark Twain once said: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

With President Donald Trump we have both the size of the dog and the size of the fight.

This is re-affirmed to us every single day.

Trump took on the historic tasks of making America great again, draining the DC swamp, and returning the government to the people, as he promised in his inaugural address. For these admiral goals, he has been vilified, persecuted, and hated.

For these admirable goals, we are witnessing evil-intentioned partisan political insiders attempt something that was also attempted in 1868 with Andrew Johnson – a political coup to oust a president that is intent on frustrating the policies and goals of a political party. The Radical Republicans wanted to punish the defeated southern states and use the freed slaves to re-make the body politic in the south to reject the Southern Democrats and to align with them politically. Only then would Lincoln’s War to force the South Back into the Union achieve its ultimate goal – to re-join the Union and to go back to paying all the protective tariffs. Johnson was impeached in the House for violating the Tenure of Office Act (hastily passed by the Radical Republicans to prevent him from removing the vile and ambitious Secretary of War (Edwin Stanton) that Lincoln had appointed but saved in the Senate from removal by only 1 vote. The Tenure of Office Act, by the way, was found to be unconstitutional. [Sounds like today’s ambitiously blind Democrats!]. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and the rest of the ilk initiated impeachment hearings after almost 4 years of conducting a witch hunt in their frenzied attempt to remove Trump from office. Since there was no crime to attach to Trump, one had to be found (or made up) – the so-called “insurance policy.” For that, a witch hunt needed to be initiated. And politically-motivated elements of the Obama administration, including Obama himself and the likes of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, were happy to accept the Steele dossier that was given to them by the Hillary Clinton campaign together with the DNC without verifying or confirming its accuracy and veracity. Why? Because the ends justified the means. When political insiders attempt a coup, they don’t care that it is based on actual facts or evidence of actual wrongdoing. And so these ambitious and rogue elements of our government presented this unverified and unproven dossier to the FISA court in support of its application for FISA warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign, and withheld KEY information that the judges would have needed to prevent a fraud from being perpetrated on the court. These persons (criminals) without information proving the highly partisan nature of the information (it was intended merely for “opposition research” to be used against Trump by Clinton in her campaign, plus it was paid for by her and the DNC), withheld information undercutting the truth of the information (no verification at all; the only information to support it was given by Steele himself – from an article that he wrote – totally self-serving), and withheld information which would have persuaded the FISA court to protect Trump’s privacy (exculpatory information). The real Russian Collusion scandal was between Hillary Clinton, the DNC, Obama, the FBI and DOJ, and the mainstream media – for the sole purpose of interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Chuck Schumer, and the rest are attempting a political coup to undo a lawful election result that was constitutional and legitimate. They are attempting a political coup for no other reason than they are angry. They are attempting a political coup to undo the collective will of the American people who have been rightfully frustrated over the years by the political goals of DC politicians, have been robbed of their interests by the Deep State and by powerful special interest groups, and have been ignored and used/abused by Obama and the Democratic Party. The so-called “party of the people” (Democratic Party) is actually the “party of political elites.” It is a group of hypocrites skilled at mobilizing useless idiots.

WE MUST DO ALL IN OUR POWER TO SUPPORT DONALD TRUMP THRU THESE TRYING TIMES and MOST IMPORTANTLY, SUPPORT HIM in 2020 !!

The Impeachment Inquiry – It Isn’t Going to Work

IMPEACHMENT - Pelosi (GOPUSA)

(Photo Courtesy of GOPUSA)

by Diane Rufino, October 31, 2019

Now that Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry, they’ll need to convince 20 Republicans in the Senate to vote to convict and remove him from power. We all know that the Senate will never remove him. And Democrats know that as well.

So what is the Democrats’ real goal? What is their end game?

Pelosi, Schiff, Shumer, D’Nang Dick Blumenthal, and all the other unhinged Democrats understand that the most important number when it comes to removing Trump from power isn’t the 67 votes in the Senate needed to convict. It’s his APPROVAL RATING. They have chosen this particular point in time to launch an Impeachment Inquiry because of the upcoming 2020 presidential election. They are hoping to capitalize on a tanking approval rating (as a result of the inquiry) to affect the election. They are hoping to impugn Trump’s reputation as they did to Nixon in the Watergate investigation (leading to his resignation in August 1974) and as Republicans did to President Clinton in the late 1990’s in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

But here is the difference between the Clinton impeachment investigation and the Trump impeachment investigation. Donald Trump has done absolutely nothing to warrant such an investigation. Remember the impeachment standard – “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Impeachment was reserved for those actions of a President that are so objectionable, so touching on his character and fitness for office as to convince members of BOTH PARTIES that the best thing for the country is to remove him from office. It is not a mere political tool – to be used by one political party to effect a political coup-d’état and remove a president they hate from office. Yet that is what we are seeing from the rabid Democrats from the very minute that Donald Trump took that historic walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol Building to take the oath of office in 2017.

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, committed actual crimes – 11 felonies to be exact. That was the conclusion of the (Ken) Starr Report which was issued in 1998 to the House Judiciary Committee. The Report cited 11 possible grounds (felonies) for impeachment – that can be lumped into four general categories: perjury, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and abuse of power. All of these felonies were linked to Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. These felonies were:

1. President Clinton lied under oath in his civil case when he denied a sexual affair, a sexual relationship, or sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.

2. President Clinton lied under oath to the grand jury about his sexual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.

3. In his civil deposition, to support his false statement about the sexual relationship, President Clinton also lied under oath about being alone with Ms. Lewinsky and about the many gifts exchanged between Ms. Lewinsky and him.

4. President Clinton lied under oath in his civil deposition about his discussions with Ms. Lewinsky concerning her involvement in the Jones case.

5. During the Jones case, the President obstructed justice and had an understanding with Ms. Lewinsky to jointly conceal the truth about their relationship by concealing gifts subpoenaed by Ms. Jones’s attorneys.

6. During the Jones case, the President obstructed justice and had an understanding with Ms. Lewinsky to jointly conceal the truth of their relationship from the judicial process by a scheme that included the following means: (A) Both the President and Ms. Lewinsky understood that they would lie under oath in the Jones case about their sexual relationship; (B) the President suggested to Ms. Lewinsky that she prepare an affidavit that, for the President’s purposes, would memorialize her testimony under oath and could be used to prevent questioning of both of them about their relationship (C) Lewinsky signed and filed the false affidavit; (D) the President used Ms. Lewinsky’s false affidavit at his deposition in an attempt to head off questions about Ms. Lewinsky; and (E) when that failed, the President lied under oath at his civil deposition about the relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.

7. President Clinton endeavored to obstruct justice by helping Ms. Lewinsky obtain a job in New York at a time when she would have been a witness harmful to him were she to tell the truth in the Jones case. (Quid-pro-quo for Lewinsky’s silence)

8. President Clinton lied under oath in his civil deposition about his discussions with Vernon Jordan concerning Ms. Lewinsky’s involvement in the Jones case.

9. The President improperly tampered with a potential witness by attempting to corruptly influence the testimony of his personal secretary, Betty Currie, in the days after his civil deposition.

10. President Clinton endeavored to obstruct justice during the grand jury investigation by refusing to testify for seven months and lying to senior White House aides with knowledge that they would relay the President’s false statements to the grand jury – and did thereby deceive, obstruct, and impede the grand jury.

11. President Clinton abused his constitutional authority by (iA lying to the public and the Congress in January 1998 about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky; (B) promising at that time to cooperate fully with the grand jury investigation; (C) later refusing six invitations to testify voluntarily to the grand jury; (D) invoking Executive Privilege; (E) lying to the grand jury in August 1998; and (F) lying again to the public and Congress on August 17, 1998 – all as part of an effort to hinder, impede, and deflect possible inquiry by the Congress of the United States.
[Reference: Wikipedia, “The Starr Report”]

Trump has been the victim of a fabricated plot to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election (the “Russian Collusion” scandal), which will backfire on Democrats and on Obama and his FBI and DOJ officials, has been the victim of a phone call scandal that Rep. Adam Schifty Schiff has inappropriately misrepresented to the House Judiciary Committee and to the American people, has been the victim of a secret Democratic plot to conduct an Impeachment Inquiry, and has been effectively under investigation and been the target of aggressive smear campaigns from the minute he took office, effectively hampering every step he undertakes as president of the United States.

The Democrats are the ENEMY and not President Trump. The only individuals who should suffer in their approval ratings are Democrats. In a world that should ultimately be rewarded for good and not evil, and in a world that we hope should even out as karma would have it, we should see Democrats losing popularity in their districts and then losing seats in Congress in November 2020. Let’s hope that as Democrats continue their witch hunt and their political coup d’état, President Trump’s approval rating will continue to rise !!