Democrats’ effort at impeaching and convicting President Donald Trump has a lot of problems.
In addition to the fact that it was a snap impeachment, without any evidence, purely political to try to block him from possibly running again, there’s just a very basic problem. It’s not at all what the Constitution contemplated impeachment to be and it’s unconstitutional, as House Judiciary Chair Lindsay Graham (R-SC) pointed out in a letter to the Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“The impeachment power exists to protect the Nation from the harm that an incumbent president might inflict upon the Nation were he to remain in office, not to vindicate political grievances after a president has left office,” Graham explained in a letter. So removing and barring go together. “They are not separate remedies for two different constitutional impeachments, the one for a president who is incumbent in office and the other for a president who is no longer incumbent in office,” Graham continued. “If a Senate trial is not constitutional, then the remedy of disqualification is unavailable to the Congress as a punishment for the unconstitutionally impeached president.”
Graham also pointed out how they also flew in the face of the Constitution by not having any investigation prior to the impeachment. He also noted it was unwise if Democrats really wanted unity (but they don’t).
Graham said the Senate should simply dismiss the impeachment when they receive it from the House.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley also brought the Democrats up short with some Constitutional reality.
On its face, the planned impeachment trial is at odds with the language of the Constitution, which expressly states that removal of a president is the primary purpose of such a trial. At the time, Trump will be neither a president nor in office. He will be a citizen and would be best served legally to forgo the trial entirely as extraconstitutional and invalid.
Turley explained what Trump’s option could be if they continued on this bad path.
If the Senate proceeds to a trial despite a lack of constitutional authority, Trump can sit in Mar-a-Lago and promise to challenge any effort to disqualify him from future office. Indeed, the political miscalculation may be greater than the constitutional miscalculation.
A trial with an empty defense table would magnify the view of many that this is an improper or, at a minimum, unnecessary exercise. Moreover, if a court were to later declare the trial unconstitutional, it would be seen as a vindication of Trump, who has long maintained that the Washington establishment has been using any means to keep him from office.
Indeed. It would exactly point out how the whole process, indeed all their efforts to undermine and delegitimize him, the duly-elected president, for the past four years, have been purely political to try to hold onto their own power.
Bottom line if they go the unconstitutional route they’ve already started they will only prove Trump right once again and antagonize Americans with their efforts.