In Congress, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to be a leader following the longstanding bipartisan tradition of the Senate. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continue to play partisan games. The most recent example unfolded yesterday regarding the situation in the Middle East.
Leader McConnell said yesterday on the Iranian situation:
‘I spoke yesterday about President Trump’s decision to remove the chief architect of Tehran’s terrorism from the battlefield. And I discussed the Senate’s obligation to approach this in a manner that is serious, sober, and factual.
It is right for senators to want to learn more about the president’s major decision. Once again, I encourage all our colleagues to attend the classified briefing which the administration will provide tomorrow.
‘The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA Director will give classified context behind the president’s decision. And they will discuss the administration’s strategy to protect our personnel and defend our nation’s interests in the new landscape.Read more
Today, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated that he will not let the House Democrats dictate the Senate's impeachment trial procedures:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking from the chamber’s floor Friday, rejected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to shape a pending impeachment trial as “fantasy”—leaving the process at a standstill as lawmakers return from the holiday recess.
“Their turn is over. They’ve done enough damage. It’s the Senate’s turn now to render sober judgment,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor. . . .Read more
Speaker Pelosi’s latest partisan stunt of not sending over the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate is creating a variety of opinions on the legal ramifications but almost universal agreement that it is another bad idea for her. Let’s sample three current and former Harvard Law professors.
Professor Noah Feldman makes the point that President Trump has not yet been impeached as a result of Speaker Pelosi’s actions. In an op-ed entitled Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate, he states:
If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.Read more
It is becoming apparent that the impeachment was done with no respect for the rule of law or even the political process. On the first point, RNLA Vice President for Communications Audrey Perry Martin writes:
While an impeachment proceeding is not a court of law, these fundamental concepts of due process and fairness need to be respected for Americans to have any confidence in the integrity of the proceeding.
In their rush to impeach President Trump, House Democrats turned back the clock and embraced the non-existent due process protections of medieval courts.Read more
Today, the House passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump with no Republican support. There were a few Democrats voting with the Republicans and one voting present. Here are some of the best reactions from Republican House leaders to today's debate.Read more
As House Democrats irresponsibly hurdle toward impeachment tomorrow, the Senate led by Mitch McConnell is going to do it's duty. In remarks today, Senator McConnell explained what the House has done and why this impeachment is problematic both now and for the future.
It appears that the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history is about to wind down after just 12 weeks and that its slapdash work product will be dumped on the Senate.
‘I’ll have much more to say to our colleagues and to the American people if and when the House does move ahead. But as we speak today, House Democrats still have the opportunity to do the right thing for the country and avoid setting this toxic new precedent.
‘The House can still turn back from the cliff and not deploy this constitutional remedy of last resort to deliver a pre-determined partisan outcome.
A lot people have admitted mistakes, promised reforms or are acting further on the incredible IG report of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz. This weekend former FBI Director James Comey even admitted he was wrong on the basis of the report. But one person has not budged: the leader of the impeachment efforts for Democrats, House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff. And besides the FBI and Obama Department of Justice, if there is one person who should be admitting he was wrong, it is Rep. Schiff.
It should be noted that much of this was available to Rep. Schiff, who denied it when Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes came out with a report confirming that the FISA warrants were wrong and based on information known to be false.
Schiff tells Chris Wallace he was unaware of errors and omissions in FBI use of FISA process. Bunk. The much-derided Nunes memo, which Schiff strongly disputed at the time, called attention to these very abuses. Most media, of course, echoed the Schiff version, scoffed at Nunes.— Brit Hume (@brithume) December 15, 2019
Let’s start with a tweet from a lawyer with experience in congressional investigations in both parties:
The debate on Article I reveals one of its more fundamental flaw. It doesn't allege a crime (like the Nixon and Clinton abuse of power articles did). It also doesn't allege that @realDonaldTrump committed an act that is unlawful (but not criminal).— Sam Dewey (@samueledewey) December 12, 2019
In our continued focus on Democrats who oppose impeachment, today we focus on famous lawyer and law professor Alan Dershowitz, who makes a strong case against impeachment, again. We say again because he also wrote a book about the first quasi-impeachment effort which became the Mueller report. Dershowitz details how Maxine Waters' interpretation of Congress' impeachment power is wrong and dangerous.
There are those like Congresswoman Maxine Waters who argue that Congress can impeach on any ground a majority wishes. “There is no law,” she has asserted, because then power to impeach is vested solely in the House and there is no judicial review of its actions. Even if that were true — and it is debatable —Waters’ lawless and reductionistic view confuses what Congress can get away with, as distinguished from what the Constitution obliges its members to do: namely to apply the criteria set out in the Constitution.Read more
The voters in November 2020 can and should be the judge of President Trump. In light of the recent struggles of their party’s candidates, it seems House Democrats fear that potential judgment and want to insert their own. Professor Jonathan Turley, a Democrat and Trump opponent, breaks down how that judgment may damage all future Presidents in his written testimony today:
To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your impeachment vote. Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment. President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.