On Wednesday, Dec. 18th, the House of Representatives voted along party lines to impeach President Donald Trump on two articles; leaving questions about the process, its fairness, the political calculations, and Congress’ own abuse of power.
President Trump is now the third president in American history to be impeached.
Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 over policy differences on reconstruction after the Civil War and personality clashes with Congress; that was in addition to claims of illegitimacy after assuming the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The second was Bill Clinton in 1998 for perjury to a grand jury and obstruction of justice.
Neither were convicted by the Senate.
Calls to impeach Trump by Democrats began almost as soon as he took office in 2017.
In March, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “I’m not for impeachment… Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.”
Not one Republican voted for the impeachment and the country is divided according to polls.
Did Democrats Use Facts or Politics in Their Charges?
Democrats passed two articles of impeachment that are broad, vague, and have no underlying criminal actions behind them. In fact, Congress didn’t even impeach Trump over the actions they claimed he committed.
“Abuse of Power”
Regarding the first vote on abuse of power, Democrats allege Trump abused his power in two ways.
The first concerns a call with the Ukranian president in which Trump asked him to look into potential corruption regarding former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The Second involved financial aid withheld to Ukraine in the form of a quid pro quo. Ukrainian leaders say they had no knowledge of money being withheld, which was released a few weeks later. They also say they never felt a demand to look into the Bidens and that an investigation never occurred.
While Trump may have been reckless in his call with the Ukrainian president, Democrats wildly distorted it and then couldn’t defend their perception. They began changing the narrative from quid pro quo, to bribery, to extortion, and, finally, watered it down to abuse of power. This claim is so vague that any president could be charged with that as a reason for impeachment.
“Obstruction of Justice”
On the second vote of obstruction of Congress, Democrats claim that President Trump resisted subpoenas. The Trump administration asked the courts to intervene to protect executive powers from abuses by Congress. Democrats claim he went to court “without lawful cause or excuse.”
Yet, every president has the right to ask the third branch of government to exercise its Constitutional power to provide a check and balance.
Pelosi Won’t Commit to Forwarding Articles After Rushing Impeachment
Now that Democrats have rushed through impeaching Trump, Pelosi has decided that the Republican-led Senate is not going to fairly take their case up. Therefore, she may not forward the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
In a press conference after the vote was taken, she declined to say if, or when, Democrats will forward the articles to the Senate.
“We’ll make that decision as a group, as we always have, as we go along… Let me tell you what I don’t consider a fair trial. This is what I don’t consider a fair trial — that Leader McConnell has stated that he’s not an impartial juror, that he’s going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office.”
-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Senate Republicans have stated they believe the House impeachment was a “sham” and “scheme” and that they expect a quick trial and dismissal.
The problem for Pelosi is that she doesn’t get to dictate to the Senate. She’s not Speaker of the Senate. By even considering to withhold the articles from the Senate, Pelosi is doing two things:
- She’s violating the Constitutional requirement to do so. Impeachment is similar to a grand jury. Democrats said there was enough evidence and therefore they are obligated to forward the articles to the Senate for a trial. The House does not get a say in the Senate’s processes or decisions.
- She’s proving that impeachment was partisan politics and a witch hunt in search of a crime that did not exist.
Democrats did not impeach Trump over Ukraine. They did it because they never agreed with the American voters and believe he is unfit to be president. Now, the Senate will decide Trump’s fate — eventually.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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