The Democrats have been plotting and planning a coup d’état against President Trump since before he was even elected to office. They’re even trying to make it look like they’re following the Constitution. But they’re not. And in the process, they are creating a dangerous threat to the peaceful transfer of power and the rule of law.
As keen observers of the European powers, the Founders knew that the traditional means of the transfer of political power was through the use of violence and assassination. They had seen the instability and the political chaos that follows abrupt changes in power brought about by force. Determined to create a better alternative in the nascent nation, one that did not require the shedding of blood, they provided Congress with the tool of impeachment and set a very high threshold for its use.
The standard is so high in the Constitution that presidential abuses of political power must involve “truly abominable misconduct” (to use Andy McCarthy’s phrase) and require a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict. This is a threshold that is impossible to reach short of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that arouse the indignation of the entire populace. That indignation does not exist at the moment. The only way Democrat pollsters can create the illusion of a national consensus for impeachment is to oversample Democrats by 14 points. Trump’s disapproval number is at 43%, right where Obama’s was a year before he was re-elected to a second term.
The reason for this high threshold was to prevent the use of the power of impeachment for petty partisan political hackery. Dealing with petty partisan political hackery is the business of ordinary and regularly scheduled elections. The American people throw congressional hacks out of office every election cycle and tossed the incompetent Jimmy Carter after one dismal term. Voters will have another opportunity to pass judgment on Trump’s fitness for office a mere 13 months from now.
The only reason Democrats are pursuing impeachment now is the terrifying realization that they have no one who can beat Trump at the ballot box. (Oprah is so desperate she’s pleading with the head of Disney to run.)
The Founders made it clear the only tool Congress has for dealing with the egregious misconduct of a sitting president, beyond overriding vetoes and the power of the purse, is impeachment. Presidents are exempt from the ordinary system of justice while in office, and only “liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law” after they have been removed from office. Otherwise, political adversaries would quickly discover they could effectively disable a president by tying him up in one frivolous lawsuit after another.
(This is why President Trump cannot be forced to cough up his tax returns until he is out of office, and why the Supreme Court was certainly wrong to force President Clinton to answer in civil court for his behavior with Paula Jones.)
The House Democrats are already misfiring by failing to note that “the House of Representatives...shall have the sole power of impeachment.” Only a vote of the entire House can impeach. On her own authority, the Speaker can’t, nor can Adam Schiff nor any other committee chairman. Since the full House has the sole power of impeachment, and the House has never voted on the matter, there is no true impeachment inquiry at the moment at all. This is why it is perfectly proper for the executive branch to ignore “subpoenas” from House committees. If they want those subpoenas to have any legal force, they’re going to have to make things official.
In fact, the Democrats do not want a genuine impeachment inquiry because that would bring this one-sided business of closed-door hearings and cherry-picked excerpts of witness testimony to a screeching halt. It would also provide Republicans with the opportunity to subpoena witnesses of their own, which they can’t do at this point.
I’m predicting we are not ever going to get an official impeachment inquiry or official articles of impeachment sent to the Senate. As Andy McCarthy put it, “Trump’s missteps do not rise to the level of impeachable offenses. If they did, Democrats would not fear voting to conduct the impeachment inquiry, and they would proudly hold their hearings in public with due process, rather than behind closed doors with selective leaking.”
Speaker Pelosi was adamantly opposed to impeachment proceedings until she got stampeded into it in the wake of the president’s utterly innocent phone call with the Ukrainian president. Even now she continues to offer only vague comments about where the process is going to go. She seems to be the only Democrat with an appreciation of the pit into which the Democrats could fall if their impeachment attempt fails.
Meanwhile, the Democrats don’t want a resolution to this entirely manufactured and non-substantial crisis. They’re getting plenty of mileage out of using this political charade to beat Trump about the head and shoulders, whacking him like a pinata suspended from the rafters in the garage, with a compliant media and invertebrate Republicans like Pierre Delecto joining in the assault.
But restless Democrats are starting to fret that they’ve overplayed their hand, and this impeachment farce is going to slop over into next year and everybody’s election campaign. The American people care about the economy, immigration, and national security, and Democrats are keeping Congress from dealing with any of those issues. On top of making a travesty of the Constitution, that’s just dumb politics.
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