From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro are introduced Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO) is no fan of the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. He’s made no bones about his opinion regarding his congressional colleague, Adam Schiff, as I detailed last month. (READ: ‘He’s a Phony, He’s a Fake, and He’s a Liar’: Congressional Colleague Sounds Off on Adam Schiff.)
Smith also has some thoughts regarding the process as it plays out in the Senate (assuming the House does indeed vote to impeach which, at this point, appears to be a virtual lock.) Last week, he penned an op-ed at The Hill, raising a very interesting point:
It is important to note, Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the United States Constitution requires senators to swear an oath when sitting on a trial of impeachment. This oath, which is enshrined in our Constitution and laid out in Rule XXV of the Senate Rules in Impeachment Trials, requires senators to, “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.” It is simply impossible for those senators running for office with the sole purpose of removing Donald Trump to uphold that oath.
That is why myself and over two dozen of my fellow colleagues are calling for all senators who are actively running for the Democrat Party’s presidential nomination to recuse themselves from the United States Senate’s impeachment trial.
During an impeachment trial, the vice president is required to relinquish his position as president of the Senate to the chief justice due to the clear conflict of interest. Senators actively seeking election to the presidency of the United States should be required to do the same. The conflict of interest arising from this situation is far more profound than that of the vice president, who has already tied his political reputation to the reputation of the president he serves.
His point is well-taken. How do we expect Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker to serve as impartial “jurors” during the trial in the Senate? Of course, it’d be naive to assume that any of the Senators truly will be “impartial” in this highly partisan endeavor. But these four, in particular, have an added interest in the outcome — after all, they’re vying for the job of the very person for whom a conviction would mean removal from said job.
Funny, isn’t it, that the motive assigned to Donald Trump in pressing for investigations into Ukrainian corruption — Burisma Holdings, in particular, and the Bidens, by extension — was gaining an advantage over his political opponent, Joe Biden? Any observation that Biden is not yet the Democratic nominee, or suggestion that Trump, being Trump, likely was more interested in investigating what sorts of shenanigans went on in the 2016 election (and led to questioning the legitimacy of his win) than concerned about facing Biden in 2020 has been scoffed at by those advocating his impeachment.
So…it’s improper — nay, impeachable! — for Trump to call for an investigation into corruption — something that presumably would have been just fine were Joe Biden not running for President. (Don’t kid yourself — nothing he’s done or will do will ever be “just fine” to #theresistance.) And corrupt motive will automatically be assigned to him for it. Yet, it’s hunky-dory for his Democratic political opponents to have a say in a process which gives them a patent (no need to infer) political advantage.
Congressman Smith is right. Those senators actively seeking the White House should recuse themselves from voting to ouster its current occupant. Or, by their own standards, they’ll be guilty of abuse of power.