House tries to make power grab with impeachment; Constitution be damned

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delivers remarks alongside Chairman Jerry Nadler, House Committee on the Judiciary (D-NY) and Chairman Eliot Engel, House Foreign Affairs Committee (D-NY), following the House of Representatives vote to impeach President Donald Trump on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 230 to 197 and 229 to 198 to impeach President Trump on two articles of impeachment charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

I just finished my Monday column for Real Clear Politics in which I point out in a general way how Nancy Pelosi is the “rogue leader” of Congress that she accuses Mitch McConnell of being. As Tucker Carlson says, “Whatever a Democrat is accusing you of is what they themselves are guilty of.”

Obviously, there are many ways in which impeachment is just a power grab for Pelosi and the Democrats. Oddly enough, one aspect of the rogue impeachment was actually invented by the Republicans 20 years ago when they impeached President Bill Clinton. You see, both then and now, the House of Representatives chose to officially exceed its constitutional authority regarding impeachment. Both articles of impeachment approved by the House against Trump contained language in their final paragraph that “President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

This mirrors language in the Constitution, but it mashes it together in a way not intended. The House of Representatives is granted the “sole power” of impeachment, namely to bring charges against the president or other federal officers. The Senate, however, is granted the “sole power” to try all impeachments. Conviction by the Senate mandates removal from office, as set out in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution. However, the question of whether an impeached president should, in addition, be subjected to “disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States” is left to the sole discretion of the Senate as the adjudicating body. It is not spelled out as a requirement of impeachment, but rather an optional choice to be made after determination of guilt.

Since no president has ever been convicted, there is no precedent, but in cases of judicial impeachment, the Senate has reserved the right to disqualify the convicted party as a matter separate from the actual removal from office. Thus, by including the language that would bar President Trump from future office, the House has arrogated to itself a constitutional power which it does not properly own. In other words, it has committed an “abuse of power,” the very charge leveled against the president himself.

As I noted, Pelosi and the House Democrats didn’t invent this inversion of justice. It was previously employed by the House Republicans who brought articles of impeachment against Clinton in 1998, but that doesn’t make it legitimate. The Senate should reject both articles of impeachment as a rebuke of the House for violating the Constitution. (In the only other successful impeachment, the House correctly accused President Andrew Johnson of committing a “high misdemeanor” but left the matter of sentencing to the Senate.)


Frank Miele has spent four decades in the news business and now offers conservative commentary to counter the left-wing bias in the national media. If you enjoy reading these daily essays, I hope you will consider purchasing one of my books. They are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. My new book — “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” — shows that Fake News has been around for years. The “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy tackles the politics of the last two decades: Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” Also consider subscribing to Heartland Diary on YouTube by clicking here for News Every Conservative Can Use.


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