Before getting into their testimony, we should at least notice how unfair this impeachment process continues to be.
We were told that we would hear from four law professors to give us an academic explanation of the impeachment process – and what the Founders may have had in mind. Democrats paid lip services to fairness, but we were exposed to a lopsided panel – with three of the four so-called expert witnesses selected by the Democrats and only one by the Republicans.
The panel included Professor Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School, Professor Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina and Professor Pamela Karlan of Sanford Law School – picked by the Democrats – and Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University – selected by the Republicans.
Even worse, Democrats selected three professors who were hardcore left-wing Democrat activists and contributors. Two of them have been promoting impeachment from the onset of the Trump presidency – and one is a visceral Trump hater.
There was no attempt at intellectual objectivity. Rather than lay the academic groundwork for the now-official impeachment hearing, the three Democrats immediately undertook a full-bore prosecutorial brief against President Trump. To hear their testimony, one might think that Trump was being indicted as a serial killer. Their personal and political animus toward Trump was palpable. The three Democrat witnesses are the kind of folks who make up the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement.
Turley – also a Democrat who did not vote for Trump — made no judgment as to whether Trump should be impeached or not, but rather argued that the committees of Congress had not yet made a compelling case for the drastic action of removing a President of the United States. The work of the committees was minimally not complete.
He further pushed back on the novel notion that the crimes of bribery and high misdemeanors – for the purpose of impeachment — have nothing to do with the legal definition of those crimes. In a sense, the three Democrats were trying to put intellectual impetus behind what President Ford once stated – that “high crimes and misdemeanors” are whatever a majority of the House says it is. Democrats – including Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff had conceded that their definition of bribery is not consistent with the legal definition. Without such a redefinition of those crimes, the Democrats have no case.
The three Democrat selectees were not so reasoned. They took up the Democrat talking points and argued FOR the impeachment and removal of Trump. They seemed to be channeling the mendacious chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff – and did not offer up a single point that had not been laboriously repeated by Democrats and their friends in the Fourth Estate. They merely added silver-tongued rhetoric to a penny-ante process.
They also lost intellectual credibility by following the biased political narratives. They all used a phrase that suggested that if what Trump did was not impeachable and deserving of removal from office, then nothing is or ever will be. I am sorry, but that is just a stupid statement. There is virtually an unlimited list of real crimes a President could commit that are far worse than anything Trump has said or done.
In defending the Democrats’ rush-to-judgment, Gerhart also said that the courts have no role in impeachment. He said that even as the courts are currently looking at the issue of presidential executive powers and the demands of Congress. That is an issue that could decide whether key administration witnesses can be compelled to testify.
Gerhardt stated that even the Nixon administration responded to congressional subpoenas – but he failed to note that it was ONLY after the Supreme Court had denied his claim of Executive Privilege over the tape recordings. Nixon was never guilty of obstruction of justice – but he would have been if he did not obey the Court ruling.
Gerhardt should also note that should there be an impeachment, it is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who will preside over the Senate Trial. I would say that that is a rather significant role in the process.
According to them, Trump was a threat to the existence of the Republic. If he was not impeached and removed, we will have lost our democracy and our national security. The President would become a monarch, they said … really. That is a damaging allusion, but they know better. Monarchs are not elected; they serve for life. They are not subjected to term limits – and they do not have independent legislative and judicial bodies. They hyperbolically cast Trump as the greatest danger to America in our more than two-hundred-year history.
Apparently, they had forgotten about the War of 1812, the Civil War, two World Wars, the assassination of four presidents, the 1960s Days of Rage, the attack on the New York Trade Towers and the impeachment of previous presidents. Though those were far more disruptive and threatening to the United States than anything Trump has done, even they did not cause a permanent crack in the foundation of Republic.
Perhaps the most off-the-rails perspective came from Feldman, who conjectured that when we go to that “good place or bad place,” we will meet our Founders and can talk to them about these events. And they will most certainly support a decision to impeach or condemn a decision to refrain. If this is the best a Harvard professor can do, the school is over-rated.
Without doubt, the most strident and ill-tempered was Karlan. She had been ranting and raving about Trump since the day he got elected. Over the past three years she had called for Trump’s impeachment several times.
Like Gerhardt and Feldman, Karlan stuck to the script. Her only apparent contribution was to shamelessly bring in Trump’s young son, telling Trump in absentia that “you can name your son Barron, but you cannot make him one.”
The three pro-impeachment Democrats claimed that Trump’s alleged welcoming of foreign interference was not only a threat to national security but that such interference diminishes the right of Americans to select their own leaders via the election process. Hmmmm. Apparently, they do not view a politically motivated interference – an impeachment, let’s say – as a nullification of the voters’ decision. It is their intent to throw out a duly elected President just weeks before the voters can decide Trump’s fate.
Turley was effective in rebutting the others – although he was outnumbered. He also drew on the Founders’ words, but this time to rebut his colleagues. He was especially effective in shooting down their concocted bribery argument.
All things considered, we learned absolutely nothing new – or even useful – from the first session. The post-session punditry determined that the session would not change public opinion very much because the issues were too complex. It was that old “the people are stupid” argument.
More likely the needle of public opinion will move slightly more against impeachment – not because we the people could not understand the testimony of these scholars, but because we could see through the buffoonery of the three Democrats. They were not difficult to understand … just impossible to believe.
So, there ‘tis.