Adam Schiff should have begun virtually every one of his answers during the two days of Q&A, as well as his closing statement on Friday, with the phrase, “Once upon a time …,” because he continually fabricated claims and made false statements. Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin seemed to have “Schiff duty” during much of the Q&A, and he methodically debunked Schiff’s claims throughout the proceedings. His dispassionate and well-reasoned presentations were quite the contrast with Schiff’s erratic and emotional pleadings, thoroughly laced with his penchant for repetition of the unproven allegations against the President – and even against the President’s legal team!
Toward the end of the Q&A session on Thursday night, Philbin tackled Schiff’s continued allegations that the President’s legal team and DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel are at odds in their legal opinions. Philbin completely dismantled Schiff’s claims:
Patrick Philbin: Manager Schiff keeps suggesting that somehow we’re (President’s counsel) coming here saying one thing, and the Department of Justice is saying something else in court without litigation. That’s also not true. We’ve been very clear every time. The position of the Trump Administration like the Obama Administration is that when Congress sues in an Article III court to try to enforce a subpoena against an executive branch official, that is not a justiciable controversy, and there is not jurisdiction over it. The House managers take the position that they had that avenue open to them, so our position is when we go to court, we will resist jurisdiction in a court. But if the House managers want to proceed to impeachment, where they claim that they have an alternative mechanism available to them, our position is that the Constitution requires incrementalism in conflicts between the branches, and that means that first there should be an accommodation process. And then Congress can consider other mechanisms at its disposal, such as contempt or squeezing the President’s policy by withholding appropriations or other mechanisms to deal with that inter-branch conflict. Or if they claim that they can sue in court, [then] sue in court. But impeachment is a measure of last resort.
Now earlier, Manager Schiff suggested that today [Thursday] in court that the Department of Justice went in and said that there’s no jurisdiction, and when the judge said, “well, if there’s no jurisdiction to sue, then what can Congress do?” And the DoJ, as he represented it, simply said, “well, if they can’t sue, then they can impeach,” as if that was the direct answer – that if you can’t sue, then the next step is to go to impeachment. Now, that didn’t seem right to me because I didn’t think that was what DoJ would be saying, and DoJ has put out a statement. I don’t have a transcript to the hearing – they don’t have one ready yet as far as I know. But, DoJ said, “The point we made in court is simply that Congress has numerous political tools it can use in battles with the executive branch: appropriations, legislation, nominations, and potentially, in some circumstances, even impeachment. For example, it can hold up funding for the President’s preferred programs, pass legislation he opposes, or refuse to confirm his nominees. But it is absurd for Chairman Schiff to portray our mere description of the Constitution as somehow endorsing his rush-to-impeachment process.”
Adam Schiff has no cogent or truthful argument to make on this topic – none whatsoever. In fact, his claim of “legal separation” between OLC and the President’s team is preposterous, as Patrick Philbin presented. What we see in the Democrats vs. President’s team is the gigantic chasm between liberal (“progressive”) and conservative jurisprudence. Leftists like Laurence Tribe, Lawfare(dot)com, and the three leftist legal scholars who testified before the House Judiciary Committee seek legal shortcuts to achieve their leftist political ends and use the law as a political weapon to defeat their enemies. They even criminalize policy differences when it suits them. They are disdainful of the Constitution and original intent of the Founders and seek the elasticity under the law that comes from their doctrine of “arbitrariness” – the Rule of Man as opposed to the Rule of Law.
The President’s team believes in traditional jurisprudence – the original intent of the Constitution means something, and so does legal precedent and American history. Patrick Philbin said it best when he stated, “Our position is that the Constitution requires incrementalism in conflicts between the branches, and that means that first there should be an accommodation process.” No great leaps that break with the Constitution and precedent. Nothing discovered in the “penumbras” created by the specific guarantees of several amendments in the Bill of Rights, as the leftist Judge William O. Douglas once used in an argument for privacy rights. Original intent and incrementalism provide the proper legal framework that should prevail, and that is why President Trump’s continued appointment of conservative judges is so important to the preservation of the Republic for our progeny.