As we await the start of the impeachment trial of President Trump, and listen to Adam Schiff insult the constitutional order by assailing not just the president but also the Senate, it is reassuring to read the sound and sober trial memorandum prepared by the president’s lawyers and released on Monday.
Most of us won’t read the entire 110 page document, signed by attorneys Jay Sekulow and Pay Cipollone but it is worth reading the 13-page executive summary.There you will see all the arguments against impeachment marshaled masterfully against the political sham engineered by Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff. I have cleaned up the text and removed the footnotes to make it easier for everyone to read it for themselves.
Once again, Pat Cipollone has done himself proud, along with Sekulow and the other White House attorneys.
TRIAL MEMORANDUM OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP
The Articles of Impeachment now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution and to our democratic institutions. The Articles themselves—and the rigged process that brought them here—are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected. They debase the grave power of impeachment and disdain the solemn responsibility that power entails. Anyone having the most basic respect for the sovereign will of the American people would shudder at the enormity of casting a vote to impeach a duly elected President. By contrast, upon tallying their votes, House Democrats jeered until they were scolded into silence by the Speaker. The process that brought the articles here violated every precedent and every principle of fairness followed in impeachment inquiries for more than 150 years. Even so, all that House Democrats have succeeded in proving is that the President did absolutely nothing wrong.
After focus-group testing various charges for weeks, House Democrats settled on two flimsy Articles of Impeachment that allege no crime or violation of law whatsoever—much less “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as required by the Constitution. They do not remotely approach the constitutional threshold for removing a President from office. The diluted standard asserted here would permanently weaken the Presidency and forever alter the balance among the branches of government in a manner that offends the constitutional design established by the Founders. House Democrats jettisoned all precedent and principle because their impeachment inquisition was never really about discovering the truth or conducting a fair investigation. Instead, House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way—any way—to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 election and to interfere in the 2020 election. All of this is a dangerous perversion of the Constitution that the Senate should swiftly and roundly condemn.
I. The Articles Fail Because They Do Not Identify Any Impeachable Offense.
A. House Democrats’ Theory of “Abuse of Power” Is Not an Impeachable Offense.
House Democrats’ novel theory of “abuse of power” improperly supplants the standard of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” with a made-up theory that would permanently weaken the Presidency by effectively permitting impeachments based merely on policy disagreements.
1. By limiting impeachment to cases of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” the Framers restricted impeachment to specific offenses against “already known and established law.” That was a deliberate choice designed to constrain the impeachment power. In keeping with that restriction, every prior presidential impeachment in our history has been based on alleged violations of existing law—indeed, criminal law. House Democrats’ newly invented “abuse of power” theory collapses at the threshold because it fails to allege any violation of law whatsoever.
2. House Democrats’ concocted theory that the President can be impeached for taking permissible actions if he does them for what they believe to be the wrong reasons would also expand the impeachment power beyond constitutional bounds. It would allow a hostile House to attack almost any presidential action by challenging a President’s subjective motives. Worse, House Democrats’ methods for identifying supposedly illicit motives ignore the constitutional structure of our government. As proof of improper motive, they claim that the President supposedly “disregarded United States foreign policy towards Ukraine,” that he was “briefed on official policy” but chose to ignore it, and that he “ignored, defied, and confounded every office and agency within the Executive Branch.” These assertions are preposterous and dangerous. They misunderstand the assignment of power under the Constitution and the very concept of democratic accountability. Article II states that “[t]he executive Power shall be vested in a President.” It is the President who defines foreign policy, not the unelected bureaucrats who are his subordinates. Any theory of an impeachable offense that turns on ferreting out supposedly “constitutionally improper” motives by measuring the President’s policy decisions against a purported interagency consensus is both fundamentally anti-democratic and an absurdly impermissible inversion of the constitutional structure.
B. House Democrats’ Theory of “Obstruction of Congress” Is Not an Impeachable Offense.
House Democrats’ “obstruction of Congress” claim is frivolous and dangerous. House Democrats propose removing the President from office because he asserted legal rights and privileges of the Executive Branch against defective subpoenas—based on advice from the Department of Justice. Accepting that theory would do lasting damage to the separation of powers.
1. President Trump Properly Asserted Executive Branch Prerogatives.
Contrary to the mistaken charge that the President lacked “lawful cause or excuse” to resist House Democrats’ subpoenas,10 the President acted only after securing advice from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and based on established legal principles or immunities.
a. Several Executive Branch officials refused to comply with subpoenas purportedly issued pursuant to an “impeachment inquiry” before the House had authorized any such inquiry, because, as OLC advised, the subpoenas were unauthorized and had no legal force.
b. The President directed three of his most senior advisers not to comply with subpoenas seeking their testimony because they are immune from compelled testimony before Congress. Through administrations of both political parties, OLC “has repeatedly provided for nearly five decades” that “Congress may not constitutionally compel the President’s senior advisers to testify about their official duties.” In the Clinton administration, for example, Attorney General Janet Reno explained that “the immunity such [immediate] advisers enjoy from testimonial compulsion by a congressional committee is absolute and may not be overborne by competing congressional interests.”
c. Under the President’s supervision, Executive Branch officials were directed not to comply with subpoenas because the committees seeking their testimony refused to allow them to be accompanied by agency counsel. OLC concluded that the committees “may not bar agency counsel from assisting an executive branch witness without contravening the legitimate prerogatives of the Executive Branch,” and that attempting to enforce a subpoena while barring agency counsel “would be unconstitutional.”
2. Defending the Separation of Powers Is Not an Impeachable Offense.
Contrary to House Democrats’ claims, asserting legal rights and constitutional privileges of the Executive Branch is not “obstruction.”
a. In a government of laws, asserting legal defenses cannot be treated as obstruction; it is a fundamental right. As the Supreme Court has instructed: “[F]or an agent of the State to pursue a course of action whose objective is to penalize a person’s reliance on his legal rights is ‘patently unconstitutional.’” The same principles apply in impeachment. During the Clinton impeachment, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe put it this way:
“The allegations that invoking privileges and otherwise using the judicial system to shield information . . . is an abuse of power that should lead to impeachment and removal from office is not only frivolous, but also dangerous.”
In 1998, now-Chairman Jerrold Nadler agreed that a president cannot be impeached for asserting a legal privilege: “[T]he use of a legal privilege is not illegal or impeachable by itself, a legal privilege, executive privilege.” And Chairman Adam Schiff has turned the law on its head with his unprecedented claim that it is “obstruction” for any official to assert rights that might prompt House committees even “to consider litigation” to establish the validity of their subpoenas in court.
b. Where, as here, the principles the President invoked are critical for preserving Executive Branch prerogatives, treating the assertion of privileges as “obstruction” would do permanent damage to the separation of powers — among all three branches. House Democrats have essentially announced that they may treat any resistance to their demands as “obstruction” without taking any steps to resolve their dispute with the President. Accepting that unprecedented approach would fundamentally damage the separation of powers by making the House itself the sole judge of its authority. It would permit Congress to threaten every President with impeachment merely for protecting the prerogatives of the Presidency. As Professor Jonathan Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee: “Basing impeachment on this obstruction theory would itself be an abuse of power . . . by Congress.”
c. At bottom, the “obstruction” charge asks the Senate to remove a duly elected President from office because he acted on the advice of the Department of Justice concerning his legal and constitutional rights as President. Stating that proposition exposes it as frivolous. The Framers restricted impeachment to reach only egregious conduct that endangers the Constitution. A difference of legal opinion over whether subpoenas are enforceable cannot be dressed up to approach that level. As Edmund Randolph explained in the Virginia ratifying convention, “No man ever thought of impeaching a man for an opinion.”
II. The Impeachment Inquiry in the House Was Irredeemably Flawed.
A. House Democrats’ Inquiry Violated All Precedent and Due Process.
1. The process that resulted in these Articles of Impeachment was flawed from the start. Since the Founding of the Republic, the House has never launched an impeachment inquiry against a President without a vote of the full House authorizing it. And there is good reason for that. No committee can investigate pursuant to powers assigned by the Constitution to the House— including the “sole Power of Impeachment”—unless the House has voted to delegate authority to the committee. Here, it was emblematic of the lack of seriousness that characterized this whole process that House Democrats cast law and history aside and started their purported inquiry with nothing more than a press conference. On that authority alone, they issued nearly two dozen subpoenas that OLC determined were unauthorized and invalid. The full House did not vote to authorize the inquiry until five weeks later when it adopted House Resolution 660 on October 31, 2019. That belated action was a telling admission that the process was unauthorized.
2. Next, House Democrats concocted an unheard of procedure that denied the President any semblance of fair process. The proceedings began with secret hearings in a basement bunker before three committees under the direction of Chairman Schiff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). The President was denied any right to participate at all. He was denied the right to have counsel present, to cross examine witnesses, to call witnesses, and to see and present evidence. Meanwhile, House Democrats selectively leaked distorted versions of the secret testimony to compliant members of the press, who happily fed the public a false narrative about the President.
Then, House Democrats moved on to a true show trial as they brought their hand-picked witnesses, whose testimony had already been set in private, before the cameras to present prescreened testimony to the public. There, before HPSCI, they continued to deny the President any rights. He could not be represented by counsel, could not present evidence or witnesses, and could not cross examine witnesses.
This process not only violated every precedent from the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiries, it violated every principle of justice and fairness known to our legal tradition. For more than 250 years, the common law system has regarded cross-examination as the “greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.” House Democrats denied the President that right and every other right because they were not interested in the truth. Their only interest was securing an impeachment, and they knew that a fair process could not get them there.
When the impeachment stage-show moved on to the Judiciary Committee, House Democrats again denied the President his rights. The Committee had already decided to forego fact-finding and to adopt the one-sided record from HPSCI’s ex parte hearings. Worse, Speaker Nancy Pelosi had already instructed the Committee to draft articles of impeachment. The only role for the Committee was to ram through the articles to secure a House vote by Christmas. There could not have been a more blatant admission that evidence did not matter, the process was rigged, and impeachment was a pre-ordained result.
All of this reflected shameful hypocrisy from House Democrat leaders, who for decades had insisted on the importance of due process protections in an impeachment inquiry. Chairman Nadler himself has explained that a House impeachment inquiry “demands a rigorous level of due process.” Specifically, he explained that “due process mean[s] . . . the right to confront the witnesses against you, to call your own witnesses, and to have the assistance of counsel.” Here, however, all due process rights were denied to the President.
3. Chairman Schiff’s hearings were fatally defective for another reason—Schiff himself was instrumental in helping to create the story behind them. This inquiry centered on the President’s conversation on July 25, 2019, with the President of Ukraine. That call became a matter of public speculation after a so-called whistleblower relayed a distorted, second-hand version of the call to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG). Before laundering his distortions through the ICIG, the same person secretly shared his false account with Chairman Schiff’s HPSCI staff and asked “for guidance.” After initially lying about it, Chairman Schiff was forced to admit that his staff had conferred with the so-called whistleblower before he filed his complaint. But the entirety of the role that Chairman Schiff and his staff played in orchestrating the complaint that launched this entire farce remains shrouded in secrecy to this day—Chairman Schiff himself shut down every effort to inquire into it.
4. The denial of basic due process rights to the President is such a fundamental error infecting the House proceedings that the Senate could not possibly rely upon the corrupted House record to reach a verdict of conviction. Any such record is tainted, and any reliance on a record created through the wholesale denial of due process rights would be unconstitutional. Nor is it the Senate’s role to remedy the House’s errors by providing a “do-over” and developing the record itself.
B. House Democrats’ Goal Was Never to Ascertain the Truth.
House Democrats resorted to these unprecedented procedures because the goal was never to get to the truth. The goal was to impeach the President, no matter the facts.
House Democrats’ impeachment crusade started the day the President took office. As Speaker Pelosi confirmed in December 2019, her party’s quest to impeach the President had already been “going on for 22 months . . . [t]wo and a half years, actually.”30 The moment the President was sworn in, The Washington Post reported that partisans had launched a campaign to impeach him. The current proceedings began with a complaint prepared with the assistance of a lawyer who declared in 2017 that he would use “impeachment” to effect a “coup.”
House Democrats originally pinned their impeachment hopes on the lie that the Trump Campaign had colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. That fixation brought the country the Mueller investigation. But after almost two years, $32 million, 2,800 subpoenas, and nearly 500 search warrants—along with incalculable damage to the Nation—the Mueller investigation thoroughly disproved Democrats’ Russian collusion delusion. To make matters worse, we now know that the Mueller investigation (and its precursor, Crossfire Hurricane) also brought with it shocking abuses in the use of FISA orders to spy on American citizens and a major-party presidential campaign—including omissions and even outright lies to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the fabrication of evidence by a committed partisan embedded in the FBI.
House Democrats could not tolerate the findings of the Mueller Report debunking the collusion myth. Instead, they launched hearings and issued subpoenas straining to find wrongdoing where Special Counsel Mueller and the Department of Justice had found none. And they launched new investigations, trying to rummage through the President’s tax returns and pushing fishing expeditions everywhere in the hope that they might find something. No other President in history has been subjected to a comparable barrage of investigations, subpoenas, and lawsuits, all in service of an insatiable partisan desire to find some way to remove him from office.
When those proceedings went nowhere, House Democrats seized on the next vehicle that could be twisted to carry their impeachment dream: a perfectly appropriate telephone call between President Trump and the President of Ukraine. House Democrats have pursued their newly concocted charges for two reasons. First, they have been obsessed for years with overturning the 2016 election. Radical left Democrats have never been able to come to grips with losing the election, and impeachment provides them a way to nullify the judgment of the tens of millions of voters who rejected their candidate. Second, they want to use impeachment to interfere in the 2020 election. It is no accident that the Senate is being asked to consider a presidential impeachment during an election year. Put simply, Democrats have no response to the President’s record of achievement in restoring prosperity to the American economy, rebuilding America’s military, and confronting America’s adversaries abroad. Instead, they are held hostage by a radical left wing that has foisted on their party an agenda of socialism at home and appeasement abroad that Democrat leaders know the American people will never accept. For the Democrats, impeachment became an electoral imperative. Congressman Al Green summarized that thinking best: “[I]f we don’t impeach the [P]resident, he will get re-elected.” In their scorched-earth campaign against the President, House Democrats view impeachment merely as the continuation of politics by other means.
The result of House Democrats’ pursuit of their obsessions—and their willingness to sacrifice every precedent and every principle standing in their way—is exactly what the Framers warned against: a wholly partisan impeachment. These articles were adopted without a single Republican vote. Indeed, there was bipartisan opposition to them.
Democrats used to recognize that the momentous act of overturning a national election by impeaching a President should never be done on a partisan basis. As Chairman Nadler explained:
“There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment supported by one of our major political parties and opposed by another. Such an impeachment will produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come, and will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions.”
Senator Patrick Leahy agreed: “A partisan impeachment cannot command the respect of the American people. It is no more valid than a stolen election.” Chairman Nadler, again, acknowledged that merely “hav[ing] the votes” and “hav[ing] the muscle” in the House, without “the legitimacy of a national consensus,” is just an attempted “partisan coup d’etat.” Just last year, even Speaker Pelosi acknowledged that an impeachment “would have to be so clearly bipartisan in terms of acceptance of it.” All of these prior invocations of principle have now been abandoned, adding to the wreckage littering the wake of House Democrats’ impeach-at-all-costs strategy.
III. Article I Fails Because House Democrats Have No Evidence to Support Their Claims.
A. The Evidence Shows That the President Did Not Condition Security Assistance or a Presidential Meeting on Announcements of Any Investigations.
House Democrats have falsely charged that the President supposedly conditioned military aid or a presidential meeting on Ukraine’s announcing a specific investigation. Yet despite running an entirely ex parte, one-sided process to gather evidence, House Democrats do not have a single witness who claims, based on direct knowledge, that the President ever actually imposed such a condition. Several undisputed, core facts make clear that House Democrats’ charges are baseless.
1. In an unprecedented display of transparency, the President released the transcript of his July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and it shows that the President did nothing wrong. The Department of Justice reviewed the transcript months ago and rejected the suggestion by the ICIG (based on the whistleblower’s distorted account) that the call might have raised an election-law violation.
2. President Zelenskyy, his Foreign Minister, and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said there was no quid pro quo and no pressure placed on them by anyone.
3. President Zelenskyy, his senior advisers, and House Democrats’ own witnesses have all confirmed that Ukraine’s senior leaders did not even know the aid was paused until after a Politico article was published on August 28, 2019—over a month after the July 25 call and barely two weeks before the aid was released on September 11.
4. House Democrats’ case rests almost entirely on: (i) statements from Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland that he had come to believe (before talking to the President) that the aid and a meeting were “likely” linked to investigations; and (ii) hearsay and speculation from others echoing Sondland second- or third-hand. But Sondland admitted that he was only “presuming” a link. He stated unequivocally that he has no evidence “[o]ther than [his] own presumption” that President Trump connected releasing the aid to investigations, and he agreed that “[n]o one on this planet told [him] that Donald Trump was tying aid to investigations.” Similarly, as for a link between a meeting and investigations, Sondland admitted that he was speculating about that as well, based on hearsay. When asked if “the President ever [told him] personally about any preconditions for anything”—i.e., for aid or a meeting—Sondland responded, “No.” And when Ambassador Kurt Volker, the special envoy who had actually been negotiating with the Ukrainians, was asked if the President ever withheld a meeting to pressure the Ukrainians, he said: “The answer to the question is no.” “[T]here was no linkage like that.”
The only two people with statements on record who spoke directly to the President on the matter—Sondland and Senator Ron Johnson—directly contradicted House Democrats’ false allegations. Sondland testified that when he asked the President what he wanted, the President stated unequivocally: “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.” Similarly, Senator Johnson related that, when he asked the President if there was any linkage between investigations and the aid, the President responded: “(Expletive deleted) — No way. I would never do that.”
5. The military aid flowed on September 11, 2019, and a presidential meeting was first scheduled for September 1 and then took place on September 25, 2019, all without the Ukrainian government having done anything about investigations.
6. The undisputed reality is that U.S. support for Ukraine against Russia has increased under President Trump. President Trump provided Ukraine Javelin anti-tank missiles to use against Russia after President Obama refused to provide that assistance. President Trump also imposed heavy sanctions on Russia, for which President Zelenskyy thanked him. A parade of State Department and National Security Council (NSC) career officials universally acknowledged that President Trump’s policy was stronger in support of Ukraine against Russia than his predecessor’s. Ambassador Yovanovitch testified that “our policy actually got stronger” under President Trump, and Ambassador Taylor agreed that aid under President Trump was a “substantial improvement” over the previous administration, largely because “this administration provided Javelin anti-tank weapons,” which “are serious weapons” that “will kill Russian tanks.”
The evidence shows that President Trump had legitimate concerns about corruption and burden-sharing with our allies—two consistent themes in his foreign policy. When his concerns had been addressed, the aid was released on September 11 without any action concerning investigations. Similarly, a bilateral meeting with President Zelenskyy was first scheduled for September 1 in Warsaw and, after rescheduling due to Hurricane Dorian, took place on September 25 in New York, again, all without the Ukrainians doing anything related to investigations.
As Professor Turley summed it up, this impeachment “stand[s] out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.” It is a constitutional travesty.
B. House Democrats Rest on the False Premise that There Could Have Been No Legitimate Reason To Mention 2016 or the Biden-Burisma Affair.
The charges in Article I are further flawed because they rest on the mistaken premise that it would have been illegitimate for the President to mention to President Zelenskyy either (i) possible Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election; or (ii) an incident in which then-Vice President Biden had forced the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor. House Democrats acknowledge that, even under their theory of “abuse of power,” they must establish (in their words) that these matters were “bogus” or “sham investigations”—that the only reason for raising them would have been “to obtain an improper personal political benefit.” But that is obviously false. Even if the President had raised those issues, there were legitimate reasons to do so.
1. Uncovering potential foreign interference in U.S. elections is always a legitimate goal, whatever the source of the interference and whether or not it fits with Democrats’ preferred narrative about 2016. House Democrats’ assertion that asking historical questions about the last election somehow equates to securing “improper interference” in the next election is nonsensical. Asking about the past cannot be twisted into interference in a future election. Even if facts uncovered about conduct in the last election were to have some impact on the next election, uncovering historical facts is not improper interference. Nor can House Democrats self-servingly equate asking any questions about Ukraine with advocating that Ukraine, instead of Russia, interfered in 2016. Actors in more than one country can interfere in an election at the same time, in different ways and for different purposes. And there has been plenty of public reporting to give reason to be suspicious about many Ukrainians’ conduct in 2016. Even one of House Democrats’ own star witnesses, Dr. Fiona Hill, acknowledged that Ukrainian officials “bet on Hillary Clinton winning the election,” and that “they were trying to curry favor with the Clinton campaign” including by “trying to collect information . . . on Mr. Manafort and on other people as well.” All of that—and more—provides legitimate grounds for inquiry.
2. It also would have been legitimate to mention the Biden-Burisma affair. Public reports indicate that then-Vice President Biden threatened withholding U.S. loan guarantees to secure the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor even though Biden was, at the time, operating under what appeared to be, at the very least, a serious conflict of interest. The prosecutor reportedly had been investigating Burisma—a Ukrainian energy company notorious for corruption—and Biden’s son, Hunter, was sitting on Burisma’s board. Unless being son of the Vice President counted, Hunter had no apparent qualifications to merit that seat, or to merit being compensated (apparently) more richly than board members at Fortune 100 energy giants like ConocoPhillips. In fact, numerous career State Department and NSC employees agreed that Hunter Biden’s connection with Burisma created, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest, and The Washington Post reported as early as 2014 that “[t]he appointment of the [V]ice [P]resident’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst.” More than one official raised the issue with the Vice President’s office at the time, but the Vice President took no action in response.
On those facts, it would have been appropriate to raise this incident with President Zelenskyy. Ukraine cannot rid itself of corruption if its prosecutors are always stymied. Here, public reports suggested that Vice President Biden played a role in derailing a legitimate inquiry while under a monumental conflict of interest. If Biden were not running for President, House Democrats would not argue that merely raising the incident would have been improper. But former Vice President Biden did not immunize his past conduct (or his son’s) from all scrutiny simply by declaring his candidacy for the presidency.
Importantly, even under House Democrats’ theory, mentioning the matter to President Zelenskyy would have been entirely justified as long as there was a basis to think that would advance the public interest. To defend merely asking a question, the President would not have to show that Vice President Biden (or his son) actually committed any wrongdoing. By contrast, under their own theory of the case, to show “abuse of power,” the House Managers would have to prove that the inquiry could have no public purpose whatsoever. They have no such evidence. The record shows it would have been legitimate to mention the Biden-Burisma affair.
IV. The Articles Are Structurally Deficient and Can Only Result in Acquittal.
The articles are also defective because each charges multiple different acts as possible grounds for conviction. The problem with offering such a menu of options is that, for a valid conviction, the Constitution requires two-thirds of Senators present to agree on the specific basis for conviction. A vote on these articles, however, cannot ensure that a two-thirds majority agreed on a particular ground for conviction. Instead, such a vote could reflect an amalgamation of votes resting on several different theories, no single one of which would have garnered two-thirds support if it had been presented separately. This structural deficiency cannot be remedied by dividing the different allegations within each article for voting, because that is prohibited under Senate rules. The only constitutional option is for the Senate to reject the articles as framed and acquit the President.
* * *
The Framers foresaw that the House might at times fall prey to tempestuous partisan tempers. Alexander Hamilton recognized that “the persecution of an intemperate or designing majority in the House of Representatives” was a real danger in impeachments, and Jefferson acknowledged that impeachment provided “the most formidable weapon for the purposes of dominant faction that ever was contrived.” That is why the Framers entrusted the trial of impeachments to the Senate. As Justice Story explained, the Framers saw the Senate as a tribunal “removed from popular power and passions . . . and from the more dangerous influence of mere party spirit,” and guided by “a deep responsibility to future times.” Now, perhaps as never before, it is essential for the Senate to fulfill the role Hamilton envisioned for it as a “guard against the danger of persecution, from the prevalency of a factious spirit” in the House.
The Senate should speedily reject these deficient Articles of Impeachment and acquit the President. The only threat to the Constitution that House Democrats have brought to light is their own degradation of the impeachment process and trampling of the separation of powers. Their fixation on damaging the President has trivialized the momentous act of impeachment, debased the standards of impeachable conduct, and perverted the power of impeachment by turning it into a partisan, election-year political tool. The consequences of accepting House Democrats’ diluted standards for impeachment would reverberate far beyond this election year and do lasting damage to our Republic. As Senator Lyman Trumbull, one of the seven Republican Senators who crossed the aisle to vote against wrongfully convicting President Andrew Johnson, explained: “Once [we] set the example of impeaching a President for what, when the excitement of the hour shall have subsided, will be regarded as insufficient causes . . . no future President will be safe . . . . [A]nd what then becomes of the checks and balances of the Constitution, so carefully devised and so vital to its perpetuity? They are all gone.” It is the solemn duty of this body to be the bulwark of the Constitution protecting against exactly this result.
Enough of the Nation’s time and resources have been wasted on House Democrats’ partisan obsessions. The Senate should bring a decisive end to these excesses so that Congress can get back to its real job: working together with the President to improve the lives of all Americans.
ABOUT HEARTLAND DIARY
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 through the following Amazon links. 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.” As an Amazon Associate, I may earn referral fees for qualifying purchases through links on my website. Also consider subscribing to Heartland Diary on YouTube by clicking here for News Every Conservative Can Use. My goal is to reach 1,000 subscribers.