Now that House Democrats have officially authorized the impeachment inquiry, the country sees what Speaker Nancy Pelosi thinks a “fair” process is.
The inquiry will largely take place in the secretive Intelligence Committee, not the Judiciary Committee, as in the past. Democrats can block Republican witnesses, hold closed-door hearings, and hide transcripts.
If the House wanted to convince enough Republican Senators to convict, this is the wrong way.
No Senator — other than Pierre Delecto (R-UT) — could vote to convict and remove the president now, unless some radical new charge emerges. But if Democrats thought they would find expected anything like that, they would have created a real fact-finding mission instead of a kangaroo court. As it is, they are already walking away from the Ukraine call, opting for the Larger Truth of a president conducing foreign policy as Things Ought Not to Be Done.
Democrats have said, in defending their absurd new rules, that Republicans would never vote to convict President Donald Trump. But in September, they hoped for 30 GOP votes in the Senate. What changed was Trump released the transcript (or “readout”) of the call, which undercut the claims in the so-called “whistleblower” complaint. And Intelligence chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) later to admit lying to the public about contact with the “whistleblower.”
On Friday, former National Security Council (NSC) staffer Tim Morrison reportedly testified there had been nothing illegal in the president’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president. Because Morrison had resigned from the NSC days before, Democrats and journalists had expected him to turn on Trump. But he defended Trump, and it seems he may have resigned to testify in Trump’s defense without hurting the White House’s separation-of powers court fight.
Morrison’s testimony marks yet another instance in which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hurt herself by refusing to wait just a little longer for facts to emerge. In September, she declared an “impeachment inquiry” just hours before the Ukraine transcript was to have been released. On Thursday, she held an authorization vote without waiting a few hours to hear what Morrison had to say. She has politics before truth — “prayerfully,” she insists.
Now Democrats are reduced to saying that even if the Ukraine call did not show actual criminal wrongdoing by the president, it is part of a broader pattern in which he did “things he personally wanted using the official power of the US government.”
But if what the president “personally wants” is to advance the public interest of Americans — and fighting corruption is definitely in that category — we should applaud Trump for a job well done, not impeach him.
Arguably, with an election so close, the bar for “high crimes and misdemeanors” should be exceptionally high. But the grim truth is that Democrats have no interest in making a good case against Trump, much less doing so in a fair manner, because removing Trump is not the point.