As Rep Adam Schiff finishes his impeachment inquiry report there seems to be a feeling among even a few Democrats and academicians that there is nothing there for impeachment. Keep in mind, this is without Republicans or the President even able to present their side.
Democrat Rep. Jefferson Van Drew of New Jersey stated:
No president has ever been removed from office, Van Drew, 66, points out. And to have a "small, elite group" of lawmakers do so when an election is less than a year away seems to him to be not only unfathomable but un-American.
“To some folks, that’s reminiscent of what was done to kings and queens many years ago," he said. "Everything our country doesn’t stand for."
While Van Drew is making the political case that a few politicians in DC should not overturn the votes of the people before an election, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley is making the point that the Democrats claims lack the legal merit necessary for impeachment:
The fact is I think that this is the – well certainly the shortest investigation, it’s certainly the thinnest evidentiary record, and it’s the narrowest impeachment ever to go to the Senate, if they were to go on this record....did they prove something was contemptible or impeachable? Contemptible is not synonymous with impeachable. The President does set policy. They have three conversations, two of them directly, one with Senator Johnson, one with Ambassador Sondland, where Trump denies a quid pro quo....so you have a conflicted record. And the question is what do you need to remove a sitting president? . . .
Whether this is intentional or not, it seems designed to fail in the Senate. I don’t think you could prove a removable offense of a president on this record even if the Democrats were in control. This thing is too narrow, it is – it doesn’t have a broad foundation, and it’s an undeveloped record
Turley’s point that this impeachment would fail even if the Democrats controlled the Senate is a good one. In another article Turley argues that if Trump can be impeached on this record so can any President. While he cites examples for George Washington, Bill Clinton and George Bush, we’ll focus on President Trump’s predecessor Barak Obama:
I have had enough. It is no fun to constantly state the obvious when no one wants to hear it. While I have objected to the conduct of Trump in Ukrainian matters as highly inappropriate, that is not enough when others demand impeachment as a way of upholding the ideals of the presidency and the aspirations of a nation. I have, therefore, decided to get into the holiday spirit and join the rush. For years, there has been an academic debate over the ability to retroactively impeach our officials. I do not think it is constitutional, but this is not the season for such technicalities.
President Obama made unjustified and extreme claims in withholding witnesses and documents when Congress investigated such matters as the “Fast and Furious” scandal. Democrats backed Obama but now claim Trump can be impeached for obstruction for going to court to challenge such demands. Seeking judicial review now appears to be impeachable, and there is a line of presidents who should have been removed for asking courts to resolve conflicts with the legislative branch.
Obama also pledged during his campaign to deal with the infamous CIA terrorist torture program but, soon after entering office, assured agency employees that no one would be prosecuted, a legal question that was supposed to be left to the Justice Department. The Obama administration then pressured other countries, with threatened loss of support, to drop investigations against those responsible for the torture program.
For the good of the country, we hope Democrats get on with governing instead of impeachment all time. However, if they don’t it could lead to a political win for Republicans. As Van Drew said:
If Trump is acquitted, Van Drew fears that will give the president a chance to claim "exoneration" and make it harder to unseat him in the 2020 election.
“I say to folks sometimes: Watch what you wish for," the congressman said.