Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Incredible Shrinking Impeachment

Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
The Democratic grounds for ousting Trump are weak—and damaging to constitutional norms.
So that’s it? That’s all there is? After all the talk of obstruction of justice, collusion with Russia, bribery, extortion, profiting from the Presidency, and more, House Democrats have reduced their articles of impeachment against President Trump to two: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Honey, we shrunk the impeachment.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will vote as early as Thursday on the text of the two articles they unveiled Tuesday, and then they will rush it to the floor next week. It’s enough to suspect that Democrats understand they are offering the weakest case for impeachment since Andrew Johnson, that the public isn’t convinced, and so they simply want to get it over with.
At least Johnson was impeached for violating a specific statute, the Tenure of Office Act, by firing Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War. There was wide agreement that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton violated criminal statutes. In this case Democrats don’t even try to allege a criminal act.
Whatever happened to bribery and extortion? Democrats spent weeks talking them up as the crimes of Mr. Trump’s Ukraine interventions. They had turned to those words after focus groups with voters found them more compelling than “quid pro quo.” Yet suddenly they’re gone. Have Democrats concluded that Mr. Trump’s actions aren’t illegal under statutes that have specific meaning?
Democrats have retreated instead to charge “abuse of power,” a phrase general enough for anything Congress wants to stuff into it. They don’t even pretend any more to prove a quid pro quo. Instead they assert that Mr. Trump, in his phone call with Ukraine’s president, “solicited the interference of a foreign government” in the 2020 election “in pursuit of personal political benefit.” They also assert that this “compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”
Their problem is that Mr. Trump didn’t withhold military aid to Ukraine, and even if he had he would have merely been returning to Barack Obama’s policy of denying lethal aid. How would that have jeopardized national security? Every President also solicits actions from foreign leaders that he hopes will help him politically at home.
Read the rest from the WSJ Editorial Board HERE.

If you like what you see, please "Like" us on Facebook either here or here. Please follow us on Twitter here.

No comments: