In an attempt to lend an air of credibility to the impeachment inquiries targeting President Donald Trump, House Democrats finally came up with a resolution to formalize the proceedings and set up a vote to ratify the whole charade. Republicans had demanded the move, but now that they have seen the resolution, they are even less satisfied. So, has the president’s party moved the goalposts or has the impeachment resolution, in fact, only made the entire saga even more of a joke?
Whereas the House Judiciary Committee traditionally handles an impeachment process, Democrats have authorized no less than six separate committees to conduct inquiries. In their search for a crime – or crimes – the opposition party is casting as wide a net as possible.
The principal question is why an impeachment investigation is taking place at all. Since almost day one of the Trump presidency, a number of Democrats have been claiming they already know that Trump has broken one or more laws. They have irrefutable proof of this, they have said. So why not just write up articles of impeachment? What is the point of an investigation when the crimes are already known and provable?
Bill Clinton faced three articles of impeachment. Trump will likely face many more than that since his opponents are thinking that even a Republican-majority Senate cannot possibly acquit the president on every one of the eight or ten or more articles it will likely receive. The reality, of course, is that even 20 charges against the president will be voted down by Republicans if none have merit.
As for the resolution itself, it has been written to give House Republicans no more influence over the inquiries than a water boy has over the play-calling of a football team. The leaders of each committee – all Democrats, by virtue of their party’s majority in the House – have been given the power, if they so choose, to deny requests by Republicans for the appearance of certain witnesses and for certain relevant documents. These committee chairpersons may pass on to the Judiciary Committee whatever documents and transcripts they deem appropriate, after editing or redacting said transcripts and documents as they see fit.
The due process rights of the president are undefined, which is hardly surprising: Having for three years called Trump a criminal, the Democrats obviously do not recognize the concept of due process.
The Process, Not the President, Will Be on Trial
There is no transparency here, and the resolution has the effect of actually cementing the hyper-partisanship of the process. If and when the proceedings reach the stage of a Senate trial, it will be the heavy-handed, kangaroo court, made-it-up-as-we-went-along nature of the entire process that will really be on trial. Not only will Democrats not get anywhere close to the 20 Republican votes they will need to convict the president; they may not get all the Democrats in the Senate to go along with this attempted lynching – as it was rightly described by the president himself. How many Democrat Senators are prepared to face two or four more years in a chamber controlled by Republicans and with Trump still in the White House, having voted to convict and remove him from office on the basis of such a shamefully staged investigation?
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