The Trump Impeachment Ethics Train Wreck: The Impeachment Resolution [Corrected]

With this post, the Democratic strategy of finding a way to impeach President Trump officially gets its own Ethics Train Wreck status. Up to this point, stories relating to impeachment have been filed using the record-setting 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck tag, since it, like so much else, flows from the Democratic Party/”resistance”/ mainstream media (the Axis of Unethical Conduct, or AUC) tantrum over Hillary Clinton blowing the election. An argument could be made that  I should have partitioned the impeachment push earlier, but I wanted to wait until the Democrats were really committed to their dangerous and divisive course. Now they are.

All aboard!

Not a single Republican voted for the resolution yesterday, not even those from less than bright-red districts. This was appropriate, since the impeachment push is not, as one should always be, a good faith Congressional reaction to conduct by the President which meets or might plausibly meet the Constitutional standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Instead, this is the culmination of the Democratic Party’s determination from the beginning of the Trump Presidency to treat him as an illegitimate President and a usurper whom they intended to find a way to remove without an election.

The process, like the Mueller investigation, but even more so, has been so tainted and corrupted from the outset that nothing it uncovers short of smoking-gun evidence of an unquestionable crime by any interpretation can cure it.  House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney said as much yesterday ( “Democrats cannot fix this process.This is a process that has been fundamentally tainted.'”). Indeed, as Democrats were saying that the vote erased Republican complaints about  a lack of transparency in the process, Adam Schiff’s House Intelligence Chairman was holding another closed hearing.

There were other good reasons to vote against the resolution too, like the fact that resolution continues to rig the process. When the House authorized the Bill Clinton impeachment inquiry, House Resolution 581 established the rule that the Judiciary Committee chairman and ranking members (of both parties) had the power to  issue subpoenas “by acting jointly.” If either declined to issue the desired  subpoena, the procedure directed that the other refer the matter to the full committee for a decision, and then, if refused, could issue one alone.  This was the same rule laid out by House Resolution 803 for the Nixon impeachment inquiry.

The resolution for the Trump impeachment inquiry, however, requires that a ranking member can only issue committee subpoenas “with the concurrence of the chair.” If the chair “declines to concur,” the ranking member must refer the matter to the full committee for decision.   The chairman—the Democrat— may issue subpoenas unilaterally, but the Republican ranking member can’t have  subpoena issued by the committee if either the chair or the  Democrat-dominated majority approves.

Writes Thomas Jippard in the National Review, “If House Democrats really, or even half-heartedly, wanted something as grave as an impeachment inquiry to at least look reasonably non-partisan or fair, they know how to do it. They’ve chosen not to do it that way, which tells just what their motive really is.”

To be fair to the unfair Democrats, I don’t think anything they do at this point could make the inquiry look non-partisan or fair, just as Liz Cheney says.

Here is something I did not know: Kimberly Strassel points out in her  “A Partisan Impeachment Vote”  that the Senate voted on a motion by Senate Democrats to dismiss the House impeachment of President Clinton, and it was voted down. Thus the Democrats established a precedent for a motion to dismiss, and if  the Republican majority in the Senate passed such a motion in the Trump case, that would be the end of impeachment.  [Notice of Correction: The original version of this post mistakenly said that Democrats had the majority in 1999. Thanks to Inquiring Mind for the correction. (The GOP had a 55-45 majority)] This measure would almost certainly be challenged in the courts. I would advocate a Senate trial, no matter how contrived the impeachment case is.

Former Justice Department prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, whose assessment of the Mueller investigation’s flaws and foibles proved routinely correct, has written an excellent analysis of the resolution, which can be read here.

Some excerpts:

  • “By any measure [the resolution] is a significant improvement over the status quo ante. Once it’s passed, the House as an institution will have endorsed the impeachment inquiry.”
  • “What the resolution means is that the White House’s position of blanket, indiscriminate non-cooperation will no longer be justifiable. Nevertheless, the president maintains all the legal privileges he enjoyed — including executive privilege and attorney-client privilege — regardless of whether there was a resolution.”
  • “If the president flouts a House demand for information, the House will simply add an article of impeachment for obstructing the investigation. Democrats would obviously prefer that to court challenges they could lose; it gives them incentive to ask for rafts of information.”
  • “Not surprisingly, the resolution endorses the “ongoing investigation” that Democrats have been conducting. The resolution is pitched as a means of continuing that inquiry, not beginning anew. This is a face-saving measure: Democrats should have passed this resolution at the beginning of the inquiry. They did not do that because, as discussed yesterday, they hoped to move public opinion in their favor with selective leaks to friendly media of their closed-door proceedings — a strategy that, sadly, has worked.”
  • “Whether the proceedings ultimately will be seen as open and transparent will depend in large part on whether the heretofore secret proceedings are disclosed. Significantly, the resolution allows for that, but does not require it. The issue is placed in the discretion of Chairman Schiff…The resolution empowers him to decide what should be made public, and to direct “appropriate redactions” for not only any classified information but anything he decides is too “sensitive” to be disclosed.”
  • “If the House Democrats have an impeachment case against the president, the Democrats have a strong incentive to let the process play out with deferential due process befitting the seriousness of the matter. If the case is thin gruel and the process is manifestly skewed against the president, with disclosure withheld, cross-examination slashed, exculpatory witnesses denied, etc., it will look like a partisan hit job — i.e., Democrats determined to impeach a president they never accepted, not spurred by egregious misconduct.” *
  • “[T]he president and his allies are going to need a substantive defense to the charge that, with a purpose to interfere in the 2020 election, he abused his foreign-relations power by encouraging a foreign government to investigate an American citizen for violating foreign law. Making Schiff the bogeyman is only going to get them so far. It will wear thin quickly if Schiff performs well.”

*JAM  Note: It already would be clear that “the impeachment effort is a partisan hit job — i.e., Democrats determined to impeach a president they never accepted, not spurred by egregious misconduct” if the mainstream media hadn’t allied itself with the effort to remove President Trump by any means necessary long ago.

43 thoughts on “The Trump Impeachment Ethics Train Wreck: The Impeachment Resolution [Corrected]

  1. The urge to quote Buffalo Springfield Is shouting at the top it’s lungs in my ear.

    In the meantime, I’m preparing my go bag for the clearly inevitable.

    There is no light at the end of this heinously unethical tunnel.

  2. If the Senate Republicans had guts, they would welcome the trial and use it as an opportunity to publicize all of the lies and plots against the President that the Democrats and their media allies have been covering up. They would give the House Democrats two days to present their prosecution case, deny them the power to issue subpoenas without Mitch McConnell’s approval, and then spend the next month interrogating the real criminals like Brennan and Comey. A vote to dismiss ought to be the last thing in the world that the Republicans should be thinking about.

    The problem with my plan, of course, is that Romney and a couple of other weak-spined Republican senators can be counted on to vote consistently with the Democrats to undermine Trump during the trial.

    • That article also completely undermines the Democrats current rationale for the rules imposed. They would be better off arguing we are doing this because you did that.

      You cannot argue that your process is fair when you complained about such process previously.

      If we want to use tit for tat Obama actually violated US law when he transferred the pallets of cash to Iran. Should he have been impeached for that?

      The fact that the transaction was conducted by converting one currency dollars to another in Switzerland demonstrates that Obama knew he was violating the sanctions regime and currency transaction rules. At least that is my opinion of how he broke the law. My opinion is as valid as Col. Vindman.

  3. This whole thing is Kabuki theater by the Democrats. They know they have nothing substantive, but are counting on the forms and traditions of an impeachment proceeding to lend sufficient weight to the process, plus the compliant media’s stern nod at their every utterance, to convince enough people to put pressure on Republicans. It is a pure political ploy, one they know they have no hope of “winning” by having the President removed. It is an abuse of process, wrongful and unethical.

    The Republicans should do exactly the same thing in the Senate when the rules favor them, and I’m sure they will. And in the end, Trump will still be President, and Hillary Clinton will not. That doesn’t make the Republicans any more ethical than the Democrats in this process, but unilateral disarmament is not a formula for success.

    I suspect the Democrats hope this entire fait accompli will somehow move the electorate in their direction enough to make their hopelessly unqualified and un-electable candidate, whichever clown emerges from the current busload, competitive with a damaged Trump. It may, work, it may backfire, and that is really the only question to which the answer is currently unknown.

    The wildcard in all this are the Horowitz and Durham investigations. If either of them ever emerge from the deep state in time (and I am not at all sanguine either will), it could create chaos that makes this mess pale by comparison, to an end nobody can foresee.

  4. This comment section does lean quite to the right.
    I fail to see the logic here, though.
    I’ve heard the constant refrain “we are trying to undo the 2016 election and we were always gunning for the guy”:
    It is true that the Democrats saw Trump as a big threat to the order of things and a dangerous, heavily irresponsible, and morally empty man when he ran for office at a far worse degree than say the republican presidential candidates in 2012, 2008, or 2000, but that doesn’t take away from the evidence that he has done things since taking office that are worth scrutinizing. By the logic of many of Trump’s defenders, there’s virtually nothing we can say against the current administration that’s valid simply because we don’t like the guy. Not liking the guy doesn’t absolve him of guilt.

    If it’s any consolation, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz clearly hate the democrats in congress as do many of the people at Trump’s rallies. Does that automatically make their complaints invalid or valid?

    • Pretty dodgy comment. You’re equivocating. From the “not my President” protests on, the Left has taken the position that the election was illegitimate. The calls for impeachment began before Trump was inaugurated. the reason you have heard “the constant refrain “we are trying to undo the 2016 election and we were always gunning for the guy” is because an unprecedented number of people in the Democratic Party were trying to undo the 2016 election. It’s documented here. I haven’t made it up. Here’s the full list, and they are in Chronological order:

      The Complete Presidential Impeachment or Removal Plans A-S (Updated 9/25/2019)

      Plan A: Reverse the election by hijacking the Electoral College.

      Plan B: Pre-emptive impeachment. 

      Plan C : The Emoluments Clause.

      Plan D: “Collusion with Russia”

      Plan E : ”Trump is mentally ill so this should trigger the 25th Amendment.”

      Plan F: The Maxine Waters Plan, which  is to just impeach the President because Democrats want to, because they can.

      Plan G : “The President obstructed justice by firing incompetent subordinates, and that’s impeachable.”

      Plan H: “Tweeting stupid stuff is impeachable”

      Plan I:  “Let’s relentlessly harass him and insult him and obstruct his efforts to do his job so he snaps and does something really impeachable.”

      Plan J : Force Trump’s resignation based on alleged sexual misconduct that predated his candidacy.

      Plan K: Election law violations in pay-offs to old sex-partners

      Plan L: The perjury trap: get Trump to testify under oath, then prove something he said was a lie.

      Plan M: Guilt by association. Prove close associates or family members violated laws.

      Plan N: Claim that Trump’s comments at his press conference with Putin were “treasonous.”

      Plan O: The Mueller Report proves the Trump is unfit for office even if it did not conclude that he committed any impeachable offenses. 

      Plan P: Summarized here as “We have to impeach him because he’s daring us to and if we don’t, we let him win, but we can’t, but then he’ll win!”.”

      Plan Q: Impeach Trump to justify getting his taxes, and then use the presumed evidence in his taxes to impeach him.

      Plan R: Rep. Adam Schiff announced on July 24 that President Trump should be impeached because he is “disloyal” to the country. This desperate response to the fizzle of the Mueller Report was ignored and forgotten the second it came out of Schiff’s mouth, but it confirmed what the list above already proved: the Democrats don’t want to impeach the President for something he did; they want to find something he did to justify impeaching him.

      Plan S: Trump should be impeached because his call to Ukrainian President Zelensky was really an effort to shake down the Ukraine and force it to find dirt on Joe Biden, thus “interfering” in the 2020 election even though Biden hasn’t been nominated (and won’t be), even though a President has every justification to seek evidence of a prior administration’s wrongdoing in foreign relations, and even though there isn’t a whiff of a threat of quid pro quo in the only transcript of the call.

      You lose all credulity with me when you use equivocations like “that doesn’t take away from the evidence that he has done things since taking office that are worth scrutinizing” That’s what the Democrats have been doing, is it? Scrutinizing?

      If a prosecutor announced that he would find a way to indict someone, any eventual indictment would legitimately questioned as the product of harassment and bias. No, the bias doesn’t make a target guilty. It does make claims that someone is guilty when there’s scant evidence suspect, and it is an unethical way to “scrutinize.”

    • It does lean to the right, no doubt about it, mostly because the progressives here snapped one day because they couldn’t handle the truth and ran screaming out of the comment section like the Three Stooges at the end of their shorts. I miss them. I mention it often.

      But they threw a fit when I pointed out that the Mueller Report was rigged, and there was long-standing plot to undermine President Trump—the FISA warrant, the surveillance of the campaign, etc. I was right, and will be proven more right in due time. They had devolved into “Orange Man bad” and weren’t up to genuine debate. Very disappointing.

      Also, recognizing the terrible conduct of the Democrats/resistance?new media does not make anyone a conservative or a Trump supporter. It means they are fair and observant.

    • How, exactly, is Trump more to “the right” than Bush junior…or Bush senior…? Or any of the failed candidates like Dole, McCain, and Romney?

      If your answer is “xenophobia”, you automatically lose.

      • Indeed, I don’t think Trump has an ideology at all, unless it is a bizarre form of libertarianism in which he dislikes government impingement on personal liberty except when he doesn’t

        • I think Trump’s “ideology” is whatever ideology it is that has its proponents always asking, “Wait a minute. Is this situation a good deal for us? If it’s not, why are we in this situation and not addressing it?” Which works for me. This is what drives the deep state nuts. Trump is walking around on the beach kicking over their elaborate, expensive, not beneficial to anyone other than the deep state sand castles.

    • Okenheim, you are correct. The comments here (though not necessarily the posts) do generally tilt toward the right. As Jack stated, that has not always been the case, but, through no fault of Jack’s, the more left or Progressive leaning commenters have left the site. Unfortunately, this has had a negative impact on the tenor of the comments. There are few opposing opinions voiced, therefore, within the comment section, it does at times become somewhat of an echo chamber on political issues.
      So, if you feel up to the challenge, I, for one, hope that you take up the mantle of those who have fallen before you and bring a left leaning vision to the comment section. This is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of the Moderator, but we could use some left-leaning (political, social, or economic) to help balance the comments and improve the forum.
      Though I am fairly new to posting comments here, I have been lurking in the shadows for years. If you are willing, I think you, as I have, could find it quite rewarding. So tell your friends that you found a group of somewhat right-winged nut jobs that are in need of guidance form the “woke” and suggest they visit, also.
      WARNING: Please read the comment guidelines first, else lightning bolts from the beyond may strike.

          • I’m sorry, OB. I did not do a good job expressing myself. I was just trying to convince Okenheim not to be discouraged because there are a lot of right leaning commenters. I used the term right wing nut job as a tongue in cheek term, myself being one of them. I did not mean it literally. I apologize for the poor attempt. I sincerely did not mean any offense.

        • C’mon OB, if you feel strongly about this, no need to mince words…

          It gets worse.

          Beta (sic) O’Rourke has dropped out of the 2020 POTUS race, effectively deep-sixing a LOT of comedic asides and snarky comments.

          Glass half full?

          Quick to pounce in a (HEH!) highfreakin’lariously (IMHO) unfair manner; the Babylon Bee:

          Constitution Breathes Sigh Of Relief As Beto Drops Out Of Race

          Nation Surprised To Learn Beto O’Rourke Was Running For President

          Beto Drops Out Of Race To Spend More Time Taking Guns From His Family

          I say the Babylon Bee should replace fluoride in the water supply….

        • JEEEEZ. Come on. I know you can do better.

          And for the record, I think I read Bob right: he was composing the kind of invitation that would appeal to the people he was talking about. It was more than a little tongue in cheek. No reason to take offense.

          • Obviously, I didn’t take it that way. I would have said “Bite Me,” but that’s your trademark.

            And I might add: Strong letter to follow.

            But in short, I just get tired of being called “Right wing” or “Conservative” as if that’s some sort of refutation of any and every thing non-lefty. It’s like that great Communist trick of calling anyone who doesn’t agree with them “a reactionary.” (To which the proper response is always, “You’r God damned right I’m reacting negatively to your hideous ideas.”) This blog and its commentariat is a really enjoyable, cherished island of common sense and rational analysis and discourse in a rising sea of lefty ideological cant from the Democrats and the media. It pisses me off when EA is dismissed as “an echo chamber.” That’s baloney, comparable to the current trend of labeling anything that questions liberal orthodoxy or the lefty “narrative” du jour a conspiracy theory. Even if the comment was purportedly “lighthearted,” which I doubt. Grrrr.

            • OB
              I was looking for this thread to reply to the new commenter but could not find it for some reason.

              Your comment about being labeled is spot on and I went on at length about the idea that the the comments lean right in the post regarding David Brooks.

              This idea there is only a duopoly of perspectives is nuseating.

              If you see my comment there I ‘d like your take on its accuracy.

              • The commenter is okonheim. And this is the right post. The Comment you seek reads,

                This comment section does lean quite to the right.
                I fail to see the logic here, though.
                I’ve heard the constant refrain “we are trying to undo the 2016 election and we were always gunning for the guy”:
                It is true that the Democrats saw Trump as a big threat to the order of things and a dangerous, heavily irresponsible, and morally empty man when he ran for office at a far worse degree than say the republican presidential candidates in 2012, 2008, or 2000, but that doesn’t take away from the evidence that he has done things since taking office that are worth scrutinizing. By the logic of many of Trump’s defenders, there’s virtually nothing we can say against the current administration that’s valid simply because we don’t like the guy. Not liking the guy doesn’t absolve him of guilt.

                If it’s any consolation, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz clearly hate the democrats in congress as do many of the people at Trump’s rallies. Does that automatically make their complaints invalid or valid?

                • Thanks I found it.

                  My lengthy comment in a later post about David Brooks was actually in response to onkenheim’s post about it being right leaning.

      • So tell your friends that you found a group of somewhat right-winged nut jobs that are in need of guidance form the “woke” and suggest they visit, also.

        I suppose this was an attempt at humor, as feeble as it was. I hope you can improve on this in the future.

        That said, I’d welcome some leftist viewpoints as long as they don’t consist of rationalizations, equivocations, and rude snarks at people rather than positions. The things I don’t welcome are irrational emo nonsense, virulent Trump hate, and relentless partisan talking points.

        • The problem a leftist is going to face is that the whole lot of them are unhinged from reality right now. They are in a feedback loop in their echo chamber. It’s the outcome of decades of media and education being slanted one way. They never hear opposition views that are not ridiculed as they are being reported.
          Unless they have a sudden awakening where they apply critical thought and the house of cards comes crashing down, they won’t last.
          Few, if any, of us are Trump fans. We’ll agree on many of the legitimate criticisms of Trump. But we all fear the left’s assault on democracy as more dangerous.
          Sadly that is considered “leaning right” when it is where any honest leftist should be.
          One of the things that amazes me is the short-sightedness of the left in America. They will abuse power and be shocked when the same trick is used on them later. Merrick Garland was “Borked.” So tell me where that term came from? Tell me about how elimination of filibuster of judicial nominees went after the Senate flipped. Ask yourself if you want the next democrat president to get this treatment.

          • Few, if any, of us are Trump fans. We’ll agree on many of the legitimate criticisms of Trump. But we all fear the left’s assault on democracy as more dangerous.

            This is certainly the case with me. I loath Trump as a person, but at least he is not against the American values I cherish, unlike every single viable Democrat candidate. That makes him by far the lesser of two evils, and I will not throw my vote away again in protest because the consequences of any of the viable Democrat candidates winning (if you’ll pardon the oxymoron) are too grave to contemplate.

            The reason the Left does not worry about their next President suffering Trump’s fate is because they are religiously convinced that they are the one and only beacon of truth and justice in America, and that any opposition to their goals must be driven from the public square by any means necessary. Their hubris blinds them to reality.

  5. Of course you know the Democrats are in this for the long game.

    They know that the up and coming generation don’t have a single clue how our system works and that the up and coming generation relies entirely on left wing media and left wing pop culture to tell them that the system isn’t working.

    That’s all that matters. So when the dastardly actions by the Democrats are blatantly counter to the way our system has worked since the Founding, it doesn’t matter.

    This is all because we lost the education system to the Left too long ago to repair.

  6. Check this out for Nancy Pelosi elaborating on her show trial strategy: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/pelosi-expects-public-impeachment-hearings-to-begin-this-month/ar-AAJGRzn?li=BBnb7Kz

    A few highlights:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she expects the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump to begin public hearings this month but insisted there’s no deadline to finish the investigation. “I would assume there would be public hearings in November,” Pelosi said in a roundtable with Bloomberg reporters and editors. Any case that is made to impeach the president “has to be ironclad.”

    Translation: This show trial will run concurrently with the 2020 election.

    Pelosi said the closed-door depositions of witnesses will continue as long as they are “productive.” “I don’t know what the timetable will be — the truth will set us free,” she said. “We have not made any decisions on if the president will be impeached.”

    Translation: We’re not acting in good faith, we’re just harassing this guy.

    On impeachment, Pelosi didn’t rule out the investigation continuing into 2020 — an election year — saying the emergence of new investigative leads cannot be predicted.

    Translation: Show me the man I’ll show you the crime.

    “There is — I should say — a mountain of concerns to be brought up,” she said, while also acknowledging the public’s attention span is limited. “When does the law of diminished returns set in?”

    Translation: Actually, I’ll show you as many crimes as our staffers can dream up. But a show trial, like any show, needs to be careful of losing its audience, right? If this doesn’t work, we’ll try something else. Stay tuned. That insufferable Jack Marshall person will have to start using double letters in his annoying list of plans!

    • I don’t think you’ll see this run far into next year because of several reasons:

      1. The longer it goes on, the greater the public fatigue. People get tired of partisan warfare like this pretty quickly. They’ll pay attention early in the process in hopes of learning something new, but after a week or two of give-and-take, they’ll tire of it all.

      2. Given 1 above, any political benefit the Democrats glean from this (absent a big surprise that is actually substantive) will start to drop off as soon as public attention starts to wane. It is in their best interests to get the hearings done, any resolutions voted on and before the Senate before Christmas. Their political benefit starts to decline sharply after that. That’s why you heard them talking about an expedited timeline back when this all “officially” began about a month ago.

      3. The deeper into 2020 this goes, the greater the risk that the Horowitz and Durham investigations will undermine the Democrats’ hearings. I’m not sanguine about them ever actually being released if the “deep state” has its way, but while we know they can delay them for a long time, it probably isn’t forever.

      4. I feel like that if the impeachments stretches past January, it will begin to work in favor of the Republicans. I think the Dems think this as well, and I expect them to carefully monitor public opinion along the way so they don’t carry it on too long. If I’m wrong about that, they can always extend them for months, but it’s like salt — if you start out adding too much, you can’t take it out.

      • It would be nice to see things peter out, Glenn, but I just think Nan and Schiff and Nadler are pulling a Thelma and Louise and taking the entire party over a cliff. Pelosi was against impeachment for three years and now she’s not a brake, she’s driving the car.

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