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HORIST: What those Articles of Impeachment really mean

HORIST: What those Articles of Impeachment really mean

The Democrats have decided on two Articles of Impeachment – down from the five, six or the seven they were considering.  Since they have been assuring the American public that it was their moral duty to hold President Trump accountable for all his alleged misdeeds, the decision to advance only two needs to be explained.

The Democrat explanation is that they want to focus on the two that presented their strongest case – as they see it.  They were worried that the public would not be able to deal with or grasp all the nuances and complexities of more than two charges – again assuming the stupidity of we the people.

That is a peculiar rationale, however, since the Articles are not drafted for the general public.  It will be for the members of the Senate to deal with them.  It would seem that the House Democrats do not believe that senators have the sophistication and mental capability to grasp more than two Articles.  Or … that the Articles were really drafted to influence public opinion on the eve of the 2020 presidential election.  Of course, that would make the entire impeachment process a political gambit.

A more likely reason is that all those other charges – bribery, extortion, shakedown, obstruction of justice – were just a bunch of political poppycock.  In fact, it has been widely reported that several House Democrats would not support the other charges.  It is also reported that a number of House Democrats will not even support the two passed by the Judiciary Committee on strict partisan lines.

So, what about those two Articles?

Abuse of Power

Democrats claim that Trump abused his power by trying to have the Ukrainians investigate one of his political challengers – former Vice President Joe Biden.  According to the Democrats’ narrative, such an investigation was either to dig up dirt on Biden or at least cast a shadow over his campaign.

That sounds pretty damning until you consider that all the testimony and the conclusions drawn by impeachment-obsessed Democrats rests on one humongous assumption – that Trump’s sole purpose was to get some advantage in the upcoming election.

This Articles should be put to rest pretty easily.  It assumes that Trump had no governmental or national security reasons to encourage investigations of the Bidens. If he had any suspicion that there may have been real wrongdoing … corruption … on the part of the Bidens, Trump would be obligated to push for an investigation.

The primary target of any investigation was not the former Vice President.  It was his son, Hunter – although there are questions how Hunter scored that job and a big deal in China.  Did his father work on that?

That Hunter scored a million dollar a year part-time job after being dishonorably discharged from the Navy raised natural suspicions.  He was hired by Burisma Holdings, a known corrupt Ukrainian energy enterprise – and a business in which Hunter had zero experience in a nation of which he had no knowledge.

He was hired by one of the most corrupt Oligarchs in Ukraine and served in that environment for five years.  Still unanswered is … what did Hunter do all those years?  What does he know about the operations of Burisma?  Was he involved in any shady activities?

All this was at a time when Hunter’s father was Vice President of the United States with specific responsibilities for all things Ukrainian.  Biden senior also confessed to withholding much-needed humanitarian aid to Ukraine until the lead prosecutor – who incidentally was investigating Burisma – was fired.

While that is not proof of wrongdoing, it was sufficiently troublesome for State Department official George Kent, who testified at the impeachment inquiry that the situation created an “appearance of conflict-of-interest.”  He was so concerned that he sent a warning to Vice President Biden’s office.  He never heard back.  Other witnesses concurred with Kent’s description of a potential conflict.

Trump never said he wants the Ukrainians to “dig up dirt” on Biden.  That has been asserted by dishonest Democrats and media folks.  In fact, Trump never even hinted at a desired outcome – just to investigate.

To say that Trump’s motive was political has no more validity or evidence than to say it was based on legitimate concerns that Hunter may have been involved in money laundering – and that it could even involve America’s financial aid to Ukraine.  In that case, Trump would be obligated to push for an investigation.

Most of the witnesses supporting impeachment admitted that they had no direct information, have never heard Trump say the request was for political reasons and in most cases had never met Trump.  They relied on hearsay – gossip passed on to them from others.  Those who were so-called fact witnesses expressed concern over Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – BUT admitted under Republican questioning that they had no evidence to connect Trump with any criminal activity.  In fact, the only conversations with Trump on the core question – was there a quid pro quo? – had Trump reporting that he wanted nothing from Zelensky and that there was no quid pro quo.

It is easily argued that the investigation of the Bidens’ past activities in Ukraine is justified and central to the Democrat’s accusation of abuse of power – and the fact that Joe Biden is one contender for the Democrat presidential nomination is coincidental and irrelevant.  To exempt Biden from any inquiry in view of the facts just because he is running for President would suggest that he is above the law.

Obstruction of Congress

This is a unique charge, and arguably weaker than the abuse of power claim.  It is based on a theory that Trump’s claim of Executive Privilege over administration documents and testimony associated with the office of the presidency enables him to refuse to submit to congressional requests – even subpoenas.

The Supreme Court has long recognized the right of presidents to keep conversations and documents confidential. It would be virtually impossible to conduct presidential business if adversaries in Congress could acquire letters, transcripts of phone calls, recordings and compel the sworn testimony of presidential aides and advisors.  It would make it virtually impossible for a President to have a conversation – by phone or in person – with another head of state.

The question is not whether a President has such Executive Privilege, but to what extent.  That is the crux of the battle between Trump and Congress.  It is an old battle that has been adjudicated many times.  For example, when President Obama tried to make recess appointments when the Senate was not officially in recess, the high court struck down his Executive Order declaring that he had abused his power.  Obama had invoked a broad definition of Executive Privilege when he refused to respond to congressional requests for documents associated with the Fast and Furious scandal that put deadly guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartellians – resulting in the murder of a U.S. border agent.

There is a nuance, however.  In writing about a President’s power, George Washington suggested that the privilege to withhold documents and testimony might not apply to an impeachment hearing.  Of course, Washington could not have presaged phone conversations and tape recordings.

This exception informally advanced by Washington, however, has never been adjudicated by the Supreme Court.  What we have today is nothing more than two divergent opinions.  Before even considering impeachment over this disagreement, the House should have exhausted the normal remedies – bringing the issue to the nine justices of the Supreme Court to render their decision.

But instead, House Democrats are claiming sole power over impeachments.  In fact, Washington State Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal stated in a CNN interview that “we [members of the House] are not accountable to the courts.”  Ponder that for a moment.  In impeachment – according to Jayapal – they can do ANYTHING they please – presumably, even break the law – without any accountability to the courts or to we the people.  Talk about abuse of power.

Democrats ASSUMED that Trump was wrong, and therefore was obstructing their impeachment inquiry.  It could be equally argued that, in this case, it was the House that was abusing its power – the power to impeach.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

5 Comments

  1. Robert

    Now when every intelligence agence in the World including the Israel intelligence agence, which Trump thinks is the best in the World. Now name me one wealthy or influential person who did not get their children into jobs they had no quyalifications for, a good example is how much experience did Trump’s daughter or Son in law have in the positions he put them into in the Government, top CEO, chldren going into million $ jobs they have no experience in and most nmovie actors are children of movie acters or relatives.
    Now the Constitution says in not uncertain terms the House has the SOLE authority to conduct any investigation into an impeachment they choose and all Subpoenas will be lawful and honored, it does not say that those Subpeonas must be verified by a court in the USA, by the same token it also says the Senate will hold the trial and will make up their own rukles as to how trhe trial is to be held, nothing to do with standard court procedures or laws.
    I do not see why either side has to lean either way when it comes to the Constitution or the law, it either is or it is not, Now the Constitution also gives the right to both the House and Senate to fgo arrest and bring before them those that refuse to appear, no somehow I never hear that mentioned inn these blogs.

    Reply
    • Larry Horist

      I am afraid that your view of impeachment lacks a full understanding of the issue. Throughout our history there have been issues of power between the three co-equal branches. The Supreme Court referees that tug-of-war between the Congress and the White House. Yes, the House has sole power to conduct an impeachment hearing and to send Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for final determination. The Congress, however, does NOT have the final word to determine the limits of presidential powers. When there is a dispute, it has to be settled by the Supreme Court. The Court has also had to determine when Congress had passed unconstitutional laws. House Democrats claim that they could not make a stronger case against Trump because they did not hear from key witnesses. And there were only assuming that those witnesses would have helped — and that is not assured. But the did not hear from those witness because the Democrats chose not to pursue the question of Executive Privilege in the courts — which has been the appropriate way to settle power issues between the branches. Instead they claimed to have sufficient evidence to impeach and remove Trump from office — but they obviously did not and so they are suffering a credibiltiy problem as the case moves to the Senate.Instead of gaining more public support for impeachment, they are losing it. With regard to a father getting his kid a job, that is not the issue — especially if Biden had to protect his son’s job by extorting the Ukranian government by withholding essential military aid — as the Democrats claim Trump did. The larger question is whether Hunter Biden was involved in the corruption the US and allies were fighting against in Ukraine. We know Burisma was a major corrupt company and the head of it was a known corrupt oligarch. Young Biden was on the board at an enormous compensation — more than a million dollars per year for a part-time job which did not require his presence in an industry in which he had no experience and in a nation he knew little about. His dishonorable discharge form the Navy and his past personal behavior would have made him a very unlikely person for that job. So what was the quid prop quo? What did the corrupt company get for taking on Hunter Biden? That is a least worthy of investigation.

      Reply
  2. Patriot-Right_Zeno

    Interesting! It’s not newsworthy if it doesn’t fit the narrative of the George Soros-ian globalist banking clique’s private lobby called the Democratic Party on impeachment! https://www.oann.com/oaninvestigates/ also goes into great detail regarding the George Soros NGOs running Ukraine with the help of the Obama U.S. Embassy appointees and their collusion in the 2016 Presidential Election against Pres. Trump all the way to impeachment of the same President that was planned in 2016!

    Reply
  3. Bill J Powers

    How any of us decide to do one thing rather than another are complex. We are never “neutral” participants in this selective bias. This is certainly true of politicians as well. It seems likely to me that Trump decided to ask Zelinsky to investigate the Bidens for a host of reasons, some of them associated with “politics.” If nothing any politician did could have any “political” ramifications, I doubt that they would be permitted to do anything. As such, I think it is both difficult to believe and unnecessary to claim that what Trump did (whatever that exactly is) is in some sense pure. The problem is one of public perception. Politicians always publicly act as if they are nothing but saints, having only the interest of others in mind; whereas, privately they are forever under the table working political strategy, something that the public already knows in any case. Political commentators, of which we have an overabundance, are forever interpreting for the public this political maneuvering. Part of that maneuvering is to claim that their opponents are underhanded political maneuverers. The only people fooled by this are diehard fans. This is a game we play of self deception and looking the other way so that the garden smells like roses, and not something else. So, I find it acceptable to believe that Trump believed he was doing something presidential, while at the same time thinking it might be a way to get a leg up on his political opponents. Of course, the game requires that he not say that publicly. We’d have to feign shock and we’re not too good at that.

    Reply
  4. Terry

    When Democrats “investigate”, they are throwing mud in the hope that something sticks so, of course they think everyone is so crooked.

    Reply

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