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.
In legal terms, one may say Rep. Adam Schiff’s case would fail a motion for summary judgment:
In the current case, the record is facially insufficient. The problem is not simply that the record does not contain direct evidence of the President stating a quid pro quo, as Chairman Schiff has suggested. The problem is that the House has not bothered to subpoena the key witnesses who would have such direct knowledge. This alone sets a dangerous precedent. A House in the future could avoid countervailing evidence by simply relying on tailored records with testimony from people who offer damning presumptions or speculation. It is not enough to simply shrug and say this is “close enough for jazz” in an impeachment.
Turley also points out how Democrats and their liberal allies are completely abusing the impeachment process. Two more extreme examples:
This misuse of impeachment has been plain during the Trump Administration. Members have called for removal based on a myriad of objections against this President. Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) filed a resolution in the House of Representatives for impeachment after Trump called for players kneeling during the national anthem to be fired. . . . CNN Legal Analyst Jeff Toobin declared, on the air, that Trump could be impeached solely on the basis of a tweet in which Trump criticized then Attorney General Jeff Sessions for federal charges brought against two Republican congressman shortly before the mid-term elections.”
Toobin’s comments may be “red-meat” for CNN's liberal viewers and Rep. Green is proud to be the first to call for impeachment, but Turley’s whole testimony is worth reading even though it is not pro-Trump. One last point Professor Turley makes is this is not at all like the Clinton impeachment:
In truth, the Clinton impeachment hearing proved to be an exception to the tenor of the overall public debate. The testimony from witnesses, ranging from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Laurence Tribe to Cass Sunstein, contained divergent views and disciplines. Yet the hearing remained respectful and substantive as we all grappled with this difficult matter. I appear today in the hope that we can achieve that same objective of civil and meaningful discourse despite our good-faith differences on the impeachment standard and its application to the conduct of President Donald J. Trump.
Here we think that Professor Turley is hopelessly optimistic. While parties disagreed if President Clinton's perjury was sufficient grounds to impeach, the Republican House ran a fair impeachment process. No neutral observer can say that of the Democrats.