Opinion / Politics

Material Witnesses Must be Heard – or House Impeachment is a Fraud

impeachment

Openness is not just glancing through a keyhole – but entering the castle.  In legal terms, a credible, legitimate impeachment inquiry must entertain material witnesses, just as a credible criminal proceeding or grand jury must do.  To shutout key witnesses upends due process, makes a mockery of the Sixth Amendment, and disserves the American people.  Yet that is what is happening.

To be specific, the impeachment process is now officially off the rails.  The longer this charade continues, the bigger a debacle it becomes.  No impeachment in US history ever started in the House Intelligence Committee, or under a cloak of secrecy.  This one did.   There remains no excuse for that deception.  Impeachment is the exclusive province of the Judiciary Committee – an open committee.  

Compelled to open impeachment, House leaders now selectively pick witnesses.  This too is wrong.  In the name of justice, material witness to a criminal inquiry – and impeachment is the constitutional surrogate for a criminal inquiry – must be entertained.  

Put differently, you cannot put a thumb – let alone your whole bodyweight – on Lady Liberty’s scale, to tip a constitutional impeachment process toward guilt.  If material witnesses exist who undermine that finding, they must be heard.

Specifically, in this impeachment, more than a dozen material witnesses exist – who may never be heard.  Who are they?  To summarize, they fall into four categories. 

The first category is material witnesses who formally accused the president.  That groups starts with two “whistleblowers,” one who proffered falsehoods and hearsay, the other his source. 

Both must appear.  Why?  Five reasons.  Testimony from these two represents the “best evidence” of what they allege – their testimony is better, as a matter of law, than their written complaint.  Second, their testimony must be cross-examined, as a matter of truth finding.

Third, their credibility is in question.  Are they part of a political gambit to unseat a president, or unbiased?  Is the first whistleblower’s attorney, who reportedly advocated a “coup,” part of some larger plan?  If so, does attorney-client privilege hold?  Did the first whistleblower craft the complaint alone, or with help from the Intelligence Committee – a committee that now sits in judgment? 

Fourth, the whistleblowers must testify to satisfy the Sixth Amendment, which permits the accused – here, a president – to confront his accusers.  The whistleblowers are his accusers, and any impeachment requires the accusers to face the one they accuse.  

Finally, these whistleblowers must testify because they may be in direct violation of federal law, revealing classified material.  The president’s declassification of the call transcript is immaterial to their potential guilt. 

All this leads to a second set of material witnesses, those who may have collaborated.  The group includes Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, as well as one or more Committee, Congressional, White House or State Department staff.  Schiff’s testimony should be mandatory, others as implicated.    

A third set of material witnesses are those who may vindicate the president’s request that Ukraine cooperate on a public corruption probe.  That includes Hunter Biden, potentially his father and partner. 

Why?  In short, if Republicans establish probable cause to believe Hunter Biden committed a crime under US law, for example selling influence of his Vice President father or perceived influence, or that his father knew this was happening and it would benefit his son, then under the US-Ukrainian anti-public corruption treaty of 2000, seeking relevant information would be legal. 

Put differently, if the son of any public figure, with or without that figure’s knowledge, commits US crimes in Ukraine – or in China – US authorities have the right to know that facts.  That is what the US-Ukraine treaty is all about.  Whether one is running for president should not be relevant.  No one gets a “get out of jail free” card or immunity, for prior crimes.

Finally, a fourth category of material witnesses who must be heard.  These are witnesses pointing to criminal origins of the Russia-collusion probe.  If a leader at the FBI, CIA, DNI, National Security Council, or Obama White House abused the statutory FISA process, conducted illegal surveillance on the Trump campaign, released presidential call transcripts, or was involved in illegal leaks, this kicks the legs out from under an obstruction article of impeachment.    

Put differently, these witnesses may vindicate the president.  The object of an honest impeachment inquiry is truth, not an orchestrated or preordained guilty finding.  Impeachment is a serious, bipartisan, constitutional process, not an adolescent “gotcha” game. 

All this returns us to a basic problem.  The impeachment investigation seems to be off the rails – in a phrase, illegitimate.  The only way to restore legitimacy is open hearings with these four sets of material witnesses.  There is no other way to finding the truth. 

If House Democrats refuse to hear from them, we know all we need to know.  In that case, the impeachment inquiry is pure politics.  The castle is out of bounds, keyhole all we get.  In that case, impeachment is just a fraud; it never was about the truth.

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Read more articles by Robert B. Charles

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Brenda Blunt

This whole thing needs to end right now! Congress needs to be doing the business of the people and not their personal agenda!! May they all get voted out!

R shoemaker

It is already a fraud but without the original whistleblower coming forward, the Senate should just announce the process as a fraud and do a Summary Judgement throwing out any impeachment vote by the House.
That happens in courts where bogus lawsuits are filed and it should happen if such a fraud were voted on by the House and passed up to the Senate for trial. NO TRIAL‼️ Just declare it an invalid process.

BajaRon

The party of chameleons! First it is ‘Global Ice Age’. Then it is ‘Global Warming’. Now it is Climate change.

First it is ‘Russian Collusion’. Then it is ‘Quid Quo Pro’. Now it’s not longer QQP but ‘Tampering with elections (again) by asking that an investigation, originally begun by Ukraine with no one asking, be opened again, after being killed by Quit Quo Pro VP Biden,

First it’s ‘No one is above the law’ when it applies to Trump. But it certainly does not apply to Hillary, Obama, Biden and son, Schiff, Pelosi and a laundry list of perjured testimony in this Presidential Inching.

If we allow the left to pull this off. We deserve the disastrous consequences.

Almos Berry

Where do the people in congress come from? Sorry, I just realized I can answer that question myself: The Swamp; Apparently there are many of them located around the country. A” pool” as it were, where the ghouls already in office can draw from.

It’s a sad state of affairs when about 80% of congress is corrupt and sucking all the oxygen out of the atmosphere, while complaining about “climate change”.

Throw them out of congress!

Peter Provenzale

The fact that the Wash Post printed an article concerning Trump impeachment less than a week after the Inauguration and the Whistleblower’s attorney was tweeting about a “coup leading to impeachment” in 2017 reveals what this is all about.
This is in the Intelligence Committe instead of Judiciary(where it belongs) is due to the fact that Pelosi thinks Schiff is more of a snake than Nadler.
The Barr & Durham reports better be out soon!

Denise

This is a total waste of time and money and everyone involved should be jailed for not following the rules. There are ruining this great Nation.
President Trump should have the power to impeach them all!

Robin Boyd

The way Progressive Democrats are handling this issue is very much the way Socialist and Communist countries conduct so called “legal” issues. It is a sham, and it is a shame the U.S. has come to accept this sort of fascist methods of operations.

Jim

Adam Schiff is truly a snake in the grass. I can’t believe this disgrace has gone on as long as it has!!!! This has to end now. Where are President Trump’s rights?

Ed Curtis

Considering approximately 40% of our current congressmen and senators have law degrees and couple have masters degrees I feel my long time hypothesis has been proven; And that is, “Those who have law degrees but lack the intelligence and/or ambition to succeed in the private legal profession become politicians. The way the Democrats have gone after our president in less than legal ways proves that. That is not to say the Republicans with said degrees are any more intelligent. I will wait for the finish of this current debacle of hatred to see if/how they handle this farce. Trump in 2020!

Sally Duncan

Amen! And that is exactly what it is, a fraud! I pray the American people do what is right & vote every one of the House members who are perpetrating this fraud, out of office.

Joe

Democratic Party is committing treason on so many levels. The leaders have to be accountable for wasting my hard earned tax money. Punch back at them.

Paul W

It’s already a fraud. A legitimate impeachment CAN’T be run by a fact witness in the case. It also isn’t legitimate when only one side of the political aisle has any input. The transcript is out there…it’s a total SHAM and they know it. Insect, adam schitf needs hauled before the Senate.

VikkiC

An impeachment is bipartisan; a coup d’etat is partisan. Now that we know what it is, Schiff et al should be tried for sedition…

G. Fisher

When kangaroos want to talk about a sham trial they call it a “Schiff Court.”

Stephen Russell

Congress should do the work of the nation & let Schitts Comm do ALL Impeachment for House, then the House can do other IE pass USMCA.
Or scrap Impeachment totally
BUT get other business done for nation first

Steven Yoas

When will the investigations begin on all these other political crooks?

Mary Angel

Great article that spells it all out on how this hearing must be done.

PHILIP C COCHRAN

The Democrats are engaging in the very kind of conduct they demean when others commit it! They are willing to spend your money to continue this travesty, making you poorer while they get richer!

Rhesa Cook

This is exactly what is happening and no one is doing anything about it. They are sitting on their hands. What the heck are we paying these guys for that sit up in Washington, eating, drinking and having a good time just gossiping.

Shuttle Guy

Ya know if Schiff wasn’t so dumb the Dem’s probably wouldn’t so stupid!