Impeachment In Perspective

It is a pity that anti-Trump sentiment, as exemplified by the December 20 editorial viewpoint, has blurred The Witness’s grasp on the flawed realities of the vote to impeach President Trump.

It is the standard partisan practice to accuse presidents of abuse of power and of obstructing Congress. But in terms of section 4 of Article 2 of the US Constitution, they are not impeachable offences. As Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan M Dershowitz has explained, a president is entitled to challenge in court subpoenas from Congress that may be subject to executive privilege. Besides, more than 200 years ago, Alexander Hamilton pointed out in The Federalist Papers that it is the role of the judiciary to decide whether the actions of the legislature and the executive comport with the constitution.

In 1942, President Roosevelt violated the constitution by unilaterally ordering the incarceration of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent. President Johnson abused his powers when he used information obtained as a result of ordering the FBI and CIA to spy on Barry Goldwater, his opponent in the 1964 presidential election. Yet impeachment was never considered in either case.

Vindictive, illiberal, undemocratic inability to accept that Trump was lawfully elected as president, has motivated the quest to impeach him since the day he was inaugurated in January 2017. More than $40 million was spent on an eighteen-month investigation, the Mueller Report, in a fruitless attempt to prove collusion with Russia in Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The irony of this sorry saga is that for all their contrived patriotism, the Democrats in Congress have acted unconstitutionally by voting to impeach Trump on charges that are not impeachable. That irony is compounded by the fact that under Trump unemployment has reached its lowest point since 1969 and the American economy has experienced unprecedented growth.

Sent into The Witness and published, 22 December 2019.

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