“A president who perverts his role as chief diplomat to serve private rather than public ends has unquestionably engaged in ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’— especially if he invited, rather than opposed, foreign interference in our politics”
—-Conclusion of “Constitutional Grounds For Impeachment,” authored by the Majority staff of the House Judiciary Committee, released on December 21, 2019
This is supposed to be a legal document, not an advocacy brief. That sentence—there are many more in the 52 page report—is not honest, nor fair, nor even relevant to the current impeachment. It is general description of a situation that the President’s conduct does not conform to in its crucial elements.
Serve private rather than public ends? As many, including me, keep asking, is there not a legitimate public interest in the U.S. determining whether a Vice President of the United States allowed real or perceived favored treatment toward a foreign country to benefit his son financially? If so, does it matter whether or not an inquiry into this possible corrupt behavior—considered a bribe in many jurisdictions—might also result in a political advantage to the President asking for an investigation into the matter?
It is a historical and political fact that allies and foreign nations receiving funds and other benefits from the U.S. are often, even routinely, asked for favors that are advantageous to the United States as well as giving the sitting President something positive that will aid him or his party in an upcoming election. One of the central deceits of the Ukraine-based impeachment is that Democrats are deliberately ignoring this fact, creating a double standard applying only to this President, but that can now be wielded against future Presidents.
This is why, in assessing the ethical nature of an act, I generally discount supposed motive for it. The act itself should be the subject of analysis, and whether it was decided upon competently and rationally. Most actions involving human decision-making have multiple and even conflicting ethical and non-ethical considerations involved.
The last section of the quote is also misleading. There is no evidence that the Ukrainian government believed that it was being invited to “interfere” in our politics, nor is there any existing definition of what “interference” means in this context. If there is a legitimate purpose in investigating Biden fil and pere for corrupt conduct perhaps perverting U.S. dollars and policy, does the fact that Daddy Biden might eventually oppose the President in an election make that purpose illegitimate, and the Ukraine’s cooperation election interference?
The quote, like the impeachment exercise it purports to justify, is dishonest, and irredeemably so.