Conservatives Will Not Forgive Senate for Buckling on Impeachment
The spectacle Thursday of the Senate swearing in Chief Justice John Roberts, and the Senators fraudulently swearing that they would deliver impartial justice, brought home the fact that the impeachment of President Donald Trump is very real.
The House of Representatives disgraced itself with a process that broke with precedent and basic principles of fairness. It impeached the president for legal conduct, on grounds that sow the seeds of future political chaos, if granted legitimacy.
Democrats are proposing not only to reverse the will of the voters in November 2016 — an election whose outcome they have never accepted — but also to “interfere” in the November 2020 election, stamping the president with the scarlet “I.”
To hear Republicans take all of this seriously — debating witnesses and the like — is infuriating. Why should Democrats be able to call a single witness after denied Republicans the ability to call any witnesses of their own in the House inquiry?
Why should Democrats be able to introduce new testimony, and new “factual” claims — from shady characters facing criminal indictment, no less — when Republicans were prevented from calling the original accuser, the “whistleblower”?
The only witness, in fact, who must be called — if witnesses are called at all — is the “whistleblower,” because the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the accused, including the president, the right to confront his or her accuser.
But to allow the Senate trial to go that far would grant the impeachment legitimacy it does not deserve.
The second article seeks to remove the president merely for obeying his constitutional duty to protect the executive by appealing the judiciary. The first article invokes the vague idea of “abuse of power,” without alleging an underlying crime, throwing open the door for any future House majority to impeach a president it does not like. Neither of these ideas should be taken seriously.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) set expectations of a dismissal last month. Conservatives will not forgive Senate Republicans if they buckle and bow to an illegitimate House process or Democrats’ outrageous witness demands.