This is the third of a series of commentaries on the 2020 election process by C. Augustus Landis.
From the moment of Trump’s election, the priority of the Democrat Socialists, in concert with comrades in main street media, has been to deny the legitimacy of the 2016 election by removal from office and to prevent re-election in 2020. First by allegation of collusion with the Russians and, when that failed, articles of impeachment alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress which has also failed.
Irrespective of the lacuna of reason or evidence of impeachable offense, in the final analysis, we are witnessing the worst fears of founders as written by Hamilton and Madison and opined in Federalist Papers… passions of factions. I watched at least 90-95% of the House and Senate proceedings… ad hominin, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Because the Constitution is the governing document for impeachment, I decided my focus would be on constitutional issues.
After the 2016 election, the Democrat party asserted the election of Trump was not legitimate and the Washington Post instantly proclaimed in headline… “The campaign to impeach Trump has begun.” It was, therefore, necessary to revisit some of the books in my library that would be helpful in understanding the broader and particular Constitutional issues that would arise; a from Burke to Kirk kind of approach and including newer Constitutional scholars such as Akhil Amar (America’s Unwritten Constitution), Eric Foner (The Second Founding), and (of course) the Federalist Papers with commentary of Edward Earle of Institute for advanced Study at Princeton, 1937, which I bought in 1958 when involved in a McCarty era issue. A must read for the Jacobin/Taliban wing of the Democrat party.
At Senate trial, President’s defense was largely based on Constitutional issues of due process and alleged offenses in Articles were not impeachable. Here, I set aside all issues related to Democrats assertion of “ overwhelming and convincing evidence” of guilt for the simple reason that if the impeachment was Constitutionally flawed, ipso facto, the argument for impeachment was flawed.
Preeminent Constitutional scholars, Professors Alan Dershowitz, Kenneth Starr, and Jonathan Turley, made the case the Democrat case for impeachment is fatally flawed and acquittal:
First, the framers of the Constitution greatest fear was of the passions of a majority faction in the legislature. The Trump impeachment was totally partisan from beginning to end and as evidenced from every vote cast at hearings.
Second, the Constitution gives the House power to impeach, but Speaker Pelosi only announced at a press conference that she had appointed Rep. Adam Schiff to begin an impeachment inquiry. The House did not vote on this as required nor did the House grant Schiff power to issue subpoenas for witnesses and documents. When White House, DOJ, Dept. of State, and Office of Management and Budget refused to comply with subpoenas based upon the flaw of failure to comply with Constitutional requirement and Supreme Court opinions that advisors were immune from subpoenas, Democrats falsely established the narrative of Trump abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In effect, the Democrats were asserting the privileges and immunities provided by the Constitution for the Executive branch were obstruction of Congress. In fact this was an abuse by Congress, as charged by Constitutional law authority, professor Jonathan Turley. The Constitution provides remedy by courts but Schiff, unsuccessfully, decided to shift that burden to Senate at trial.
Third, due process. In both Schiff’s and Nadler’s (Judiciary) hearings, President’s/Republican right to due process was denied: witnesses for President, counsel for President, and right of cross examination denied. Depositions were in a secret bunker in basement of Capitol where attendance was restricted and selected leaks were provided by Schiff to favored media.
Fourth. While Starr made a convincing case that the House Articles were “dripping” with flaws, and Turley established that House was abusing power exactly as they alleged against Trump, it was Dershowitz who made the most succinct and salient case against impeachment.
Dershowitz asserted that House Articles were “dangerous and wrong” and “neither of the Articles alleging an abuse of power or obstruction of Congress were even remotely close to impeachable offences as the framers intended.” Further, Manager Adam Schiff picked “ the most dangerous possible criteria to serve as precedent” for impeachment. Further explaining “all future presidents who serve with opposing legislative majorities face the threat of enduring vague charges of abuse and obstruction.” He produced a long list of Presidents who had been accused of abuse of power and under Schiff’s criteria would have been impeached: Washington ( Jay’s Treaty), Jefferson (Louisiana Purchase), John Adams (Alien and Sedition Act), Lincoln (suspension of habeas corpus), to name a few.
Whereas the Constitution speaks to treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, the Democrat argument is that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress is equivalent even though no crime is alleged and the Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton impeachments did charge crimes. The noted Constitutional scholars (Dershowitz, Starr, and Turley) asserted that absent enumeration and definition of these allegations in the Constitution, or commission of a crime, the impeachment is fatally flawed.
If there was conviction by Senate, this would set the precedent that any opposing majority in the legislative branch could define an abuse or obstruction, remove a President from office, fundamentally alter the balance in the tree branches, and shred the Constitution.
From the beginning, it was known that the Impeachment was a totally partisan initiative by Democrats and a Republican majority in Senate would prevent conviction. This, together with Democrats demand for more documents and witnesses, gives credibility to belief that purpose was to keep the game going throughout the 2 020 election process. Pelosi and Schumer say the do not accept acquittal. Schiff says the 2020 election is presumptively invalid and believes Trump will sell Alaska back to the Russians for their help in his re-election.
The leitmotif of the Democrat party is contumelious…ad hominem, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
As Reagan said, with all the guano that has piled up, there has to be a pony in there some place; yes,…four more years and one more Supreme Court appointment.