Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. and other congress members speaks during a news conference on Trump Putin Helsinki Summit at Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
With impeachment the topic du jour, the arguments over process have been many. Rightfully so in my opinion, as the way Democrats have handled the situation has been nothing short of garbage. Long-held standards on how impeachment inquiries, including minority rights, have been tossed aside so Adam Schiff can hold secret hearings and selectively leak to build narratives.
Now that the damage has been done, with the media dutifully doing his bidding, Schiff and his party want to claim transparency by holding public hearings with the same figures. In them, Republicans won’t even be able to ask questions about anything except tightly framed Democrat talking points. The entire thing is a sham.
But while the process has been trash, Republicans should be careful to not make bad legal arguments against it. Doing so grants credibility to Democrats that they simply don’t deserve.
Andrew McCarthy shared his thoughts on the matter in a recent piece responding to something Sen. Rand Paul said.
The confrontation clause protects only the accused at a criminal trial. The point is that before one’s liberty is taken away, one must have the opportunity to question one’s accusers. Impeachment, however, is not even a legal proceeding, much less a criminal trial. It is a political proceeding. No one’s liberty is at stake; it is strictly about whether an official should be stripped of political authority — in the president’s case, of the executive power.
Moreover, because the Constitution wholly vests the process of impeachment in the House, and the conduct of impeachment trials in the Senate, those chambers have plenary authority over the respective proceedings. No court has the power to tell the House or Senate what quantum of due process must be afforded to an official in an impeachment case. No one can make Congress apply the Sixth Amendment.
Here’s the problem with all these due process, right to confront your accuser, etc. arguments. Impeachment in the House is not a court of law. Once it moves to the Senate, certain legal grantees do apply but we are not there yet. As much as it may frustrate Trump and his allies, it’s a mistake to hand the Democrats talking points by making bad legal arguments that are easily thrown back in their faces.
No doubt you’ve heard some say impeachment is a political process. Absolutely correct and Republicans should embrace that fact. This is a purely political game being run with no bi-partisan support by Adam Schiff. Democrats not only deserve no respect on the issue, they don’t even deserve having their premise granted that they are engaged in some kind of legitimate court action. It’s not. Again, it’s all political.
The other side to that is because it’s all political, Republicans have every right to attack what’s going on at its core. In a real court of law, the long-established standards of justice aren’t made up as the process moves along. Because of that, anyone slamming the jury system (for example) is going to rightly be criticized as a kook. In the case of impeachment, it’s all being made up as Schiff goes along in order to mold his partisan narrative. Everything he does is fair game and you don’t need a misapplied legal standard to criticize what is going on.
In the end, this impeachment inquiry has no basis for even existing. The President is not getting removed for asking an ally to investigate corruption, no matter how much one may suspect he had political motives. Forget due process arguments, as that just hands Democrats legitimacy for their initial claims being worthy of the process.
This entire thing is a crock and should be treated as such.
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