The impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump are, as yet, impeachment in name only. The Speaker of the House – Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in this case – does not strictly have the authority to unilaterally launch an impeachment investigation: That is a matter for the House of Representatives to vote on or, at least, that is what has happened in the past. The case against the president appears extremely weak, and may have little or no legal credibility. What, then, is the purpose of it all, other than satisfying the extreme left of the Democratic Party?
The answer may be that Democrats hope to damage and hinder the Trump agenda – along with the very character of the president – as much as they can before the 2020 election. Unfortunately, the use of a so-called impeachment inquiry to achieve that end damages the country far beyond any Washington political combat.
Sabotaging America’s Foreign Policy
Demanding transcripts of phone calls between the president and foreign leaders is, in itself, highly damaging to America’s reputation abroad and to the administration’s ability to effectively conduct foreign policy. Adversarial world leaders might now consider the possibility – as remote as it seems – of Trump being removed from office within the next few months. That possibility could remove any incentive these leaders have to work or negotiate with Trump on any issue. At home, the talk of impeachment could impact economic confidence if it has not already done so. Suddenly, the future for both individual Americans and for businesses is less certain or predictable.
The current inquiry has another purpose, of course. In 2016, the Democratic National Committee solicited help from Ukraine in order to influence the outcome of the election. Later, congressional Democrats put pressure on Ukraine to co-operate with the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference. In effect, they were soliciting information from a foreign power in order to influence the 2020 election.
What better way to cover up these crimes than to accuse the president of doing the very same thing and using their media loudspeaker to drown out any talk of their own transgressions?
In reality, the president of the United States has the authority, under both Article II of the Constitution and under the terms of certain existing treaties, to request the cooperation of foreign governments in criminal investigations involving American citizens.
The Democrats are trying to twist that into a crime by claiming two things: First, that a quid pro quo was being discussed – an exchange of one thing for another. There is no evidence of that, however. The second claim is that Trump was soliciting actions and/or information from the Ukrainian president which could be used to influence an election. Using that standard, anything the president says to a foreign leader could be construed as an attempt to influence the next election.
The Democrats are now on very shaky ground and they know it, which is why they are trying to avoid a House vote on impeachment. The White House is rightly refusing to cooperate with this sham impeachment until such a vote is held. In the meantime, the slash-and-burn agenda of Trump’s opponents continues to fracture and destabilize the entire country, just as it has done since this president first set foot in the White House.