In an ordinary impeachment inquiry – to the extent something that’s only happened three previous times in U.S. history can be considered ordinary – Congress would define the impeachable offense that the president is suspected of committing. That makes sense, right? A prosecution doesn’t just conduct an open-ended investigation of an individual under the vague idea that there might be a crime there, somewhere. Adam Schiff and his goons have tried to defend their secretive, unprecedented closed-door inquiry by comparing themselves to a grand jury, but that claim fails under scrutiny. It fails for a variety of reasons, but the most particular of which is that there IS NO CRIME here.
Under the guidelines of the Constitution, Congress may impeach a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The latter phrase is open to some degree of interpretation, of course, but it is not entirely open-ended. The Founding Fathers discussed this topic at length, and it is all very well-documented. Many other impeachable offenses were considered and rejected, including “neglect of duty” and “malpractice.” These were ultimately left out of the Constitution because the wise framers concluded that it might tip the balance of power too far into the hands of the Legislative Branch.
This is the power that Democrats are now trying to steal.
Ironically, Nancy Pelosi’s caucus is trying to predicate their impeachment on the vague notion that Trump has committed an abuse of power, which is fairly understood to belong to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” category. Problem is, while “abuse of power” sounds like one of those slippery phrases that could be read in a variety of ways, it is actually well-defined in this context. To be guilty of it, a president must either attempt to use powers not granted to him under the Constitution or he must be found guilty of failing to exercise those powers that are.
So, again we ask: What impeachable offense is Trump guilty of? What constitutional duty did he fail to carry out? What power did he try to steal for the White House? What crime did he commit?
The Democrats argue that by asking the Ukrainians to investigate a political rival, Trump was guilty of using foreign influence to interfere with our elections.
“There is no such crime in the federal criminal code,” note David B. Rivkin Jr. and
Elizabeth Price Foley in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “Election-related offenses involve specific actions such as voting by aliens, fraudulent voting, buying votes and interfering with access to the polls. None of these apply here.
“Nor would asking Ukraine to investigate a political rival violate campaign-finance laws, because receiving information from Ukraine did not constitute a prohibited foreign contribution,” they continue. “The Mueller report noted that no court has ever concluded that information is a ‘thing of value,’ and the Justice Department has concluded that it is not. Such an interpretation would raise serious First Amendment concerns.”
That is one of many ways in which the Democrats are guilty of not only violating the Constitution but presenting an active threat to its integrity. If they are successful in bringing impeachment to a vote through this outrageous process, it will weaken our country in ways that go far beyond the specific fate of Donald Trump.