RABBIT HOLES AND LOOKING GLASSES

The Speaker of the House made it official: we’re going to have an impeachment inquiry to remove President Trump from office. But Democrats are not following their own rules and procedures from the previous impeachments of Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Clinton. This is strictly partisan, because Democrats have shut Republicans out of the process.

The way it’s supposed to work is that the House first votes to begin an inquiry; then the Judiciary Committee or some other designated committee does an investigation and determines whether the facts support impeachment. If that committee agrees that the President should be impeached, they vote on it and send it to the entire House for a vote. A simple majority vote (218 members) impeaches the President; then it goes to the Senate for a trial.

The House should be following its own rules and past precedents. If they think the President has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” they should make the case and have the guts and integrity to vote on it. The House is the body that most closely reflects the will of the people – that’s why they’re elected every two years. To hold not a single vote in this most democratic of institutions is a real and present threat to our democracy.

But of course, they are progressives and thus unbound by tradition and precedent. Theirs is a political movement governed by the needs of the moment. And those needs, and their solutions, always increase their power.

The substance of the impeachment is absurdly thin. The Democrats say that President Trump pressured the President of the Ukraine to give him dirt on former VP and Presidential candidate Joe Biden, or else (no aid from the US) – the classic quid pro quo. So I did my due diligence as a citizen in our still- great republic by reading the whistleblower’s complaint and the transcript of the phone conversation between the Ukrainian President and President Trump. And I found (a drum roll, please): nothing. No sane jury would ever buy what the Democrats are selling. In the hyper-cliched world of political punditry, this is a nothing-burger and at the end of the day, there’s no there there. To make the case even weaker, the so-called whistleblower actually stated that his information is second-hand.

This is a phony impeachment lacking the moral authority of members’ votes. No wonder Trump is saying to the Democrats: bring it! Republicans should welcome this fight.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.