Like finding Cold Fusion, the Northwest Passage, or Big Foot, impeachment is a consuming passion – a fixation for House Democrats. Any sighting, inapt combination of words, or excuse to push the gamble is ample. Note: That is not how most Americans feel – and it is their money being squandered.
A non-partisan Pew poll, taken September 19th, found Congress is the least trusted institution in America. Only four percent believe Congress is effective, only 12 percent believe members care, and only 16 percent believe they act ethically. That should be a wake-up call, but Congress stumbles on.
This week’s pitch for impeachment proceedings – based on an innocuous call between President Trump and Ukraine’s President – ups the ante. This rush to judgment may be the most profound strategic error in living memory. In short, Democrats have overplayed their hand. They are wrong, and some know it.
Around the country, a swelling sense of indignation is afoot. Americans want their Congress to govern, not play “gotcha” – especially not with impeachment. Respect for Congress is plummeting, if that is possible. According to the Pew study, only four percent believe Congress is held accountable for lapses. One can only wonder where this will lead.
As the storm gathers, there is growing disbelief at House Democrats’ impeachment-mania. In their first year, House leaders achieved nothing – except to inflame public opinion with press conferences, hearings and wild accusations. The entire, wasteful Mueller mess came to nothing. Appropriations bills remain unpassed, the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal languishes, border wall is unfunded.
Objectively, House Democrats have tilted hard left. They mistake and misstate US and world history, misunderstand economics, show no grasp of tax law, and misuse the public trust. They allow their caucus to become a bullhorn for socialism, anti-democratic, anti-capitalist, anti-constitutional ideas, like Medicare-for-all and “the green new deal.” These departures from American tradition are ill-conceived, unworkable, and cost 30 trillion dollars each – over the existing 23 trillion-dollar national debt.
Since we must, consider the impeachment gambit. A “complaint” – which may prove unworthy of whistleblower protection – was filed by an anonymous intelligence staffer, based on rumors heard, alleging facts proven untrue, and implicating a former Democratic vice president.
An overzealous House, desperate for an impeachment trial, did not await legal process. They did not allow the Inspector General, Director of National Intelligence, Attorney General and White House Counsel to consider Executive Privilege, then release complaint and transcript. They pounced.
House Democrats opted for a bum’s rush, started impeachment proceedings – no full House vote, no dialogue, just venting of spleen. They did so despite White House release of the complaint and transcript, no redactions, restrictions or claims of Executive Privilege. The transcript rebuts the hearsay complaint, but on comes the rush – facts notwithstanding. Have you ever seen such an irresponsible act?
Never mind that impeachment is, by definition, a constitutional process that imposes an incalculable burden on the nation. It pits institutions against each other, was considered an extreme remedy for “high crimes,” divides parties and inflames passions, disunifies the nation, destroys any hope of legislation, upends regular order, and can paralyze national security.
Who in their right mind would choose this course – unless forced by a high crime? But there is no high crime. The transcript disproves allegations of extortion; there is no indication of threats to withhold monies for personal gain – as a former vice president did when coercing the same government to fire a prosecutor investigating his son. President Trump withheld nothing, threatened to withhold nothing, and the transcript shows that clearly.
So, what did the President do? He conducted an open-ended conversation with a foreign leader about a range of topics, including concerns over potential illegalities by a former US official – under Ukrainian and perhaps also American law. Is that a high crime? Hard to see how.
Since everything this president does is misinterpreted – and this is the third time a confidential call with a foreign leader has been leaked – he might better have let the Attorney General, Secretary of State, or Ambassador seek legal clarifications. But not doing so hardly seems cause for impeachment.
To understand congressional intent, consult last week’s hearing. The House Intelligence Committee glibly misrepresented the call transcript. Taken to task, they claimed “parody” – but that is not how it came across. Let’s be clear: Impeachment is no joke, no painless process, no game. It is deadly serious – and should not be subject to “parody” by a committee chairman.
Then, House Democrats tried to slip a Watergate mickey into the record, and not subtly – saying delayed release was a “cover up.” Only neither the complaint nor transcript were withheld – and neither redacted, thus no cover-up. Having lived through Watergate, this is no Watergate. Everything was released – to Congress and the public.
This farce is worse than the last. The so-called non-partisan whistleblower not only got facts wrong but enlisted a partisan lawyer to trot out legalese to obscure a material fact – that the whistleblower knew no material facts.
Any lawyer worth their salt knows what happens to a hearsay complaint, where nothing is known, false facts are alleged, and interpreting them against the accused produces no claim – that complaint is dismissed.
Congress should know something: All this smoke and mirrors, hype and gripe, does not escape Americans. They are not stupid, even if House leaders think so. They may not be constitutional scholars, but they know when they are being played – and they resent it.
The impeachment game has gone too far. Taxpayers’ money and time are being squandered. House Democrats overplayed. They are wrong, and some know it. This may be the most profound strategic error by a US House in living memory. I guess, we will see. What we will not see- is what does not exist, namely grounds for impeachment.