The Democratic Party is Broken… And Impeachment is Their Hail Mary Pass.

House Democrats Have Decided to Run a Partisan Impeachment Inquiry.

The political talking heads are telling us that, according to the Constitution, the Democratic majority in the House is not required to hold a vote approving an impeachment inquiry, nor are they required to provide President Trump with due process rights. According to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution this may be true. However, according to precedent, transparency and basic fairness, it is not. Therefore, President Trump’s White House counsel released a letter on October 8th notifying the House leadership the administration would not cooperate with what they described as an “illegitimate” impeachment inquiry. Mr. Trump is right to rebuke the inquiry, especially after two years of the Democrats’ manufactured outrage over so-called Russian collusion. Yet, according to a new CBS News Poll, 63% of Americans believe Mr. Trump should cooperate with the inquiry. Here is why they are wrong. [Click Here to Read More].

The Constitution Obligates the President to Faithfully Execute All Laws, Not Just Some.

The U.S. Constitution (including the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments) details the framework of roles and responsibilities for our three separate but equal branches of the federal government. As head of the Executive branch, President Trump has the responsibility under the “Take Care” clause of the Constitution to make sure that our nation’s laws are faithfully executed. This clause requires enforcement of all anti-corruption laws including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The FCPA makes it a crime for U.S. persons, including federal government officials, to make payments to or otherwise influence foreign government officials to obtain or retain commercial business, or to direct such business to any person. President Trump, under the administration of the Attorney General, cannot put on blinders and ignore conflicts of interest or possible corruption solely because it involves someone who has decided to run against him for President.

The Bidens Created a Conflict of Interest in Ukraine and May Have Violated the Law.

While serving as the Obama administration’s envoy to Ukraine, Vice President Joe Biden established a quid pro quo by demanding then Ukrainian President Poroshenko fire his Prosecutor General or lose $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. Under the normal course of diplomatic affairs, establishing such a quid pro quo tied to foreign aid is not an issue. However, the fact that Biden’s son Hunter was a highly paid Board member of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company that was being investigated by the Prosecutor General who was ultimately fired, it is possible that Hunter Biden benefited financially from his father’s actions. This is as clear a conflict of interest as one could imagine, one that may have violated the FCPA or other anti-corruption laws. That is why President Trump encouraged Ukrainian President Zelensky to restart an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, to determine what the facts are and to confirm whether anti-corruption laws were violated.

The House Leadership Doesn’t Get to Decide What Conflicts a President Investigates.

During President Trump’s now infamous July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, the White House transcript of that call shows Trump requested that Zelensky work with Attorney General Barr to investigate Joe Biden’s involvement in the Burisma affair. This conflict created by the Biden’s poor judgement is worthy of such an investigation. Had Joe Biden not been a candidate for President, this whole Ukraine controversy might have never caught the attention of the media. But Democrats don’t get to decide what conflicts or violations of law get investigated by the Executive branch. Where conflicts exist in prosecuting a case, the Attorney General decides as to whether to appoint a special prosecutor. The fact that someone like Joe Biden is running for the Presidency is irrelevant, because no one is above the law. Not even President Trump.

The Ukraine Controversy Presents Our Public Officials with a Legal Contradiction.

The Constitution is a masterpiece of democratic jurisprudence, and we are governed by laws subject to its framework and principles. However, neither the Constitution nor our laws are perfect. There are times when they present public officials with legal contradictions, not unlike the theological contradiction found in the Bible between justice and mercy. The current political battle over Ukraine and the resulting Democratic impeachment inquiry also reflects a contradiction. President Trump may have benefited politically by prompting a foreign investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine. Yet, the Constitution obligates him to faithfully execute the law, including anti-corruption laws. It is the President, not Congress, that must decide how best to resolve this contradiction in a legal and constructive manner within his constitutional authority.

Impeachment Should Be a Transparent Process, But This One Concerning Ukraine is Not.

President Trump had a choice to make between his election mandate to “drain the swamp” and risking a political challenge by encouraging an investigation in Ukraine. He made his choice, and Nancy Pelosi announced her decision to initiate an impeachment inquiry. Thus far, the inquiry process has been anything but transparent. Although several House committees have been engaged to investigate, Ms. Pelosi designated the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to lead and direct the inquiry. Independent witnesses testifying before this committee have thus far done so behind closed doors. Further, because Ms. Pelosi has not allowed for a floor vote to approve an impeachment inquiry, Republicans have effectively been shut-out of participation in the inquiry process. As a result, partisanship has stained the inquiry process. Democrats have tried to justify their closed-door investigative approach by saying it is analogous to a grand jury proceeding, one where testimony is kept secret from public view. This analogy lacks credibility because impeachment does not result in a criminal indictment but rather a political one. Any such political process should be open and bi-partisan, or it will forever be tainted. 

Republicans Established a Very Different Process for Their Impeachment of Bill Clinton.

In October 1998, Republicans in the House of Representatives negotiated and passed what would become a bi-partisan resolution outlining the powers and rules under which they would investigate felony charges against President Bill Clinton. This Investigatory Powers of the Committee resolution (Report No. 105-795) outlined several procedural requirements that were designed to ensure “a fair, thorough and independent review of the facts.” Under the authorship of Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL), this resolution referenced its compliance with precedent and guaranteed both Democrats and Republicans specific investigative powers. These powers included the ability to subpoena documents and records, and the ability to compel attendance and testimony of witnesses by subpoena or through separate hearings, deposition, or interrogatories.  These rules ensured that witnesses could be called and cross-examined by both parties in public. According to the resolution, these rules were established to ensure the inquiry was “conducted in all respects on a fair, impartial and bipartisan or nonpartisan basis.” All hearings were conducted under the auspices of the House Judiciary Committee so they would be public inquiries. This is how statesmen and women in both parties enable transparency when they put their country’s interests ahead of politics.

President Trump Should Not Participate if Impeachment Lacks Transparency and Due Process.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas recently stated his belief that President Trump has broken the Democratic Party, saying that hate is all that drives them. Senator Cruz is spot on, and their tactics in launching an impeachment inquiry reflect desperation. President Trump has offered to cooperate with the House inquiry, but only if Democrats follow precedent and schedule a floor vote approving the kind of transparency and due process a fair proceeding would call for. This is precisely what Republicans provided to former President Clinton during his impeachment. After two years of obstructing Mr. Trump’s agenda with false accusations of collusion with Russia, the President and the American people are entitled to both. Unfortunately, the Democrats have chosen a different path, one that looks surprisingly like the desperation of a hail-Mary pass.

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Eric A. Beck
Free Nation Media LLC
Greenville, South Carolina


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