Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called an October 24 press briefing to address the House Democrats’ secretive impeachment investigation targeting President Donald Trump. It appears the senator – along with many of his Republican colleagues in both the Senate and the House – has decided the time has come to force the Democrats to put up or shut up, so to speak: to make their impeachment investigation formal or abandon it.
to bring to the House floor a vote on opening an impeachment investigation. Whether or not that is true is almost a matter of opinion: The Constitution prescribes no official procedure for embarking upon the impeachment of a president. It grants the sole power of impeachment to the House and, to the Senate, the sole power to try impeachments.
Controlling the Narrative to Build Support
One would assume, however, that some ground rules and agreements are first created before either party charges ahead with an investigation. That is how it has been done in the past. The Democrats’ problem has always been the danger of moving forward with impeachment while lacking two important things: First, bipartisan support for the proceedings and, second, a public consensus.
For that reason, the president’s opponents have been carefully controlling how their investigation takes shape, including the selective leaking of juicy soundbites from otherwise secret witness testimony. House Democrats have, with some success, fed only the most damning statements and opinions to the public in order to foster growing support for impeachment. They have pledged to make everything public at a future point of their choosing – widely assumed to be sometime around late November.
Investigation in Search of a Crime
Moreover, Democrats have practically admitted they are currently searching for evidence upon which to base their impeachment of Trump before they present their full case to the American people. So, in effect, they are conducting an investigation, out of the public view, while they decide what charges they intend to bring against the president in order to justify a formal investigation.
Sen. Graham and many other Republicans are outraged. Graham described the current process as “out of bounds” and “Inconsistent with due process as we know it.” He further announced his intention to introduce a resolution condemning the current procedure.
The Danger to Every Future President
While it is somewhat ridiculous to assume that the impeachment of a president could be non-political, the Democrats have entirely weaponized their intended impeachment of President Trump. They have so poisoned the process that no future president – Republican or Democrat – is safe. The dangerous precedent Trump’s enemies have set is this: The party opposing the president – if in command of a majority in the House of Representatives – can decide to investigate the president, make up its own rules to guide that investigation, and keep the process largely hidden from the American people until such time as it decides it has enough evidence to present the case to the entire House.
What the Democrats have done, in reality, is rendered null and void the concept of co-equal branches of government. The party controlling the House now has the ability, if it so chooses, to begin the impeachment of any president, for any reason, without the consent of the other party. If Republicans, at some future time, acted in the same way toward a Democrat president the media would shower them with scorn and outrage, as Sen. Graham suggested during his presser. Unfortunately, the Democrats may be crafting a standard practice for how they deal with any future electoral setbacks: Who would be willing to bet against the attempted impeachment of every future Republican president?
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