Special Opinion by C. Augustus Landis Esq.
The following commentary is based upon the comments of three of the country’s most prominent Constitutional scholars at the Impeachment hearings/Trial in opposition to conviction. While Democrats quoted Hamilton and Madison in Federalist Papers on need for an impeachment provision in the Constitution, it is regrettable they would not address the fundamental Constitutional issues raised.
The Constitution is the governing document for impeachment the House of Representatives has sole power of impeachment.
The House did not vote to begin the impeachment inquiry as required. Speaker Pelosi (alone) appointed Schiff to initiate an impeachment inquiry.
The House did not authorize Schiff to issue subpoenas as required. (Note. After 20 subpoenas were issued, House voted to authorize but did not make retroactive.) Trump refused to comply based on immunities and privileges pursuant to separation of powers as designed by Constitution and absent required subpoena power.
Schiff/Democrats begat the false narrative that Trunp’s refusal to provide documents and witnesses was obstruction of Congress. (Note. Constitution provides resolution of dispute via courts. Schiff/Democrats decide not to do this.)
Schiff/Democrats sent wo Articles of Impeachment to Senate alleging : 1. Abuse of power and 2. Obstruction of Congress.
Constitution only enumerates bribery, treason, and other high crimes and misdemeanors as impeachable offenses. (Note. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies but still crimes. No crime is alleged in Articles.
Precedent is, abuse of power is not a crime and not an impeachable offense. It is neither enumerated or defined as such in Constitution. Many presidents have been charged with abuse of power. Washington (Jay’s Treaty), Jefferson (Louisiana Purchase), John Adams (Alien and Sedition Act), Lincoln (suspension of habeas corpus), to name a few. Under Schiff’s/Democrat criteria, they could have been impeached and possibly removed from office.
Obstruction of Congress is nether enumerated or defined in Constitution as impeachable offense. To impeach a President for asserting immunities and privileges given under Constitution and separation of powers provisions would be a very dangerous precedent.
To impeach a President for abuse of power and/or obstruction of Congress would set the dangerous precedent that a majority opposition party in the House could simply define anything they want as abuse or obstruction and impeach. Together with a majority in Senate they could change result of election by removal from office and deny re-election.
Every member of Congress takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. To vote to impeach or convict for any reason other than as provided for by the Constitution is not faithful to oath. There is no asterisk or caveats to the oath. Thus, for example, when Romney says his vote to convict on abuse of power is based on his faith and conscience he was not faithful to oath.
To impeach a President based upon party factions and prejudices was one of the greatest fear of the founders.