The Democrats’ ongoing impeachment adventure is merely theater, fodder for the rubes.
The Framers of the American Constitution envisioned presidential impeachments as rare, solemn, bipartisan, difficult processes during which the U.S. House investigates allegations of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and, based on findings, either declines to prosecute or draws up/votes on articles of impeachment. Constitutionally, if a simple House majority passes articles, a Senate trial ensues: House members prosecute their case; a full Senate jury decides it; and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides. A two-thirds Senate vote is required to convict/remove a president.
Despite Democratic votes against, a House Democrat party-line majority impeached President Donald Trump, so the matter moves to the Republican-controlled Senate.
The House’s impeachment process was neither solemn nor bipartisan. Defamatory sound bites were leaked from and exculpatory evidence suppressed in secretive Democrat-controlled committee hearings. Their process lacked fairness, due process, a presumption of innocence, and the Democrats’ House-passed articles include no discernable high crimes or misdemeanors.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer unwittingly exposed the articles’ deficiencies by demanding that the Senate create what the House failed to provide: a factual case for impeachment that could persuade sixty-seven senators and the American public.
Schumer whined that “the facts” must “come out” before a Senate trial could take place. ”To engage in a trial without the facts coming out is to engage in a cover-up.” The Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, dismissed Schumer’s grousing: “The Senate is meant…to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rush sloppily through it.”
Schumer’s demand admitted that the House articles contain no grounds on which to convict and remove President Trump. House Democrats had their chance, and blew it, so, in the absence of factual evidence justifying removal, why should the Senate waste time on a trial? Indeed, Schumer’s statement invites a Senate motion to dismiss the articles, a motion Schumer supported, unsuccessfully, in 1999 when the Senate tried then-President Bill Clinton for the statutory crime of perjury.
Senate Democrats would be smart to consider dismissal. A Senate trial would allow America to hear exculpatory evidence that was suppressed in House proceedings. The institutional partisanship involved in pursuing candidate and, later, President Trump would be exposed, allowing Americans to learn details covered up by Democrats, their operatives in the bureaucracy and media.
Theoretically, dismissal need not end impeachment efforts. If there’s a legitimate case to be made, the House could still complete the work Schumer thinks they already should have done. Democrats won’t, though.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is withholding the House-passed articles from the Senate, reportedly to pressure Senate Republicans to hold a “fair trial” — despite Democrats having just unfairly violated every relevant House rule, precedent, and the Bill of Rights to impeach.
Pelosi is being deliberately disingenuous. Senate leadership said they’d accept/observe the 1999 bipartisan-written Clinton trial rules. Furthermore, in America, “fair trials” mean protections for the accused, not the accusers.
Mrs. Pelosi has no leverage — and no case.
Contact columnist Jerry Shenk at firstname.lastname@example.org