Here is all you need to know: Newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene announced yesterday on Twitter that she plans to file articles of impeachment against President-elect Joe Biden for abuse of power.
Of course she is. Why not? The Democrats, in their unhinged rush to do anything and everything they could think of to undermine President Trump even before he took office, have guaranteed this kind of impeachment-as-spite will be the new smear of choice by opposition parties. Ironically, this also means that impeachment as a serious tool of democracy to remove a genuinely criminal or position-abusing POTUS has been ruined. As soon as the GOP gets control of the House, which I suspect will be in two years, Republicans will begin abusing impeachment just as Democrats did for the last four years. They’ll do it for revenge, they’ll do it to get even. They’ll do it to harass the Biden Administration. They’ll do it, as Rep. Maxine Waters kept advocating, because they will have a majority and they can.
The talk about Trump being impeached twice “staining his legacy” is delusional. If the contrived impeachments are such a badge of shame, why wasn’t the first one mentioned in the debates? In Democratic campaign ads? Why wasn’t it an issue at all? It didn’t show up in the polls, it didn’t cost Trump any discernible support (though the House Democrats lost seats). It is obvious why. The impeachment was a purely partisan affair, and while Bill Clinton’s impeachment was similarly one-sided, at least there was a valid argument that he had committed one or more “high crimes.” Clinton had lied to a grand jury, and lied in a court hearing under oath, both sufficient to get a lawyer disbarred (and in fact enough to get Clinton disbarred, though he quit the Arkansas bar first.) Democrats began then to turn what was supposed to be a bi-partisan enforcement of leadership standards into a matter of protecting one’s own (as long as his poll numbers were strong, anyway.) Democrats also set the precedent of treating an impeachment as no big deal, when the party featured Bill Clinton as a ballyhooed speaker at several conventions. Bill didn’t seem embarrassed at all.
As ridiculous as the first impeachment was, the current one makes it look like a model effort. The House didn’t bother to present complete evidence or have more than a perfunctory debate. If it were governed by prosecutor ethics—and it should be, when it is preparing the equivalent of an indictment—the Democratic House majority would be sanctionable.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a former assistant attorney general for the District of Columbia from 2007-2009 and a real prosecutor, explained in the Wall Street Journal that Trump’s supposed riot-triggering speech doesn’t come close to rising to the level of “incitement,” and was protected speech under the Constitution.
The president didn’t commit incitement or any other crime. I should know. As a Washington prosecutor I earned the nickname “protester prosecutor” from the antiwar group CodePink. In one trial, I convicted 31 protesters who disrupted congressional traffic by obstructing the Capitol Crypt. In another, I convicted a CodePink activist who smeared her hands with fake blood, charged at then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a House hearing room, and incited the audience to seize the secretary of state physically. [But] I dropped charges when the facts fell short of the legal standard for incitement. One such defendant was the antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan…..The president didn’t mention violence on Wednesday, much less provoke or incite it. He said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
Forgive me, I have to insert this tweet here:
Back to Shapiro:
District law defines a riot as “a public disturbance . . . which by tumultuous and violent conduct or the threat thereof creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons.” When Mr. Trump spoke, there was no “public disturbance,” only a rally. The “disturbance” came later at the Capitol by a small minority who entered the perimeter and broke the law. They should be prosecuted.
Procedurally, Impeachment II is self-debunking. There is no genuine case that a President who will leave office so soon needs to be removed. The claims I have read by some anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats along the lines of “How lucky do you feel?” as if it makes sense for a President who did nothing to harm the nation (though his foes did) in almost four years will suddenly go rogue in two weeks are too silly to be taken seriously, and if we had fair and objective news media, they would be leading the laughter.This scaremongering has been going on since Trump was inaugurated, and it was bats then.
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi came right out and said that her objective in impeaching Trump this time was to stop him from running again. That’s not what the Founders designed impeachment for. She’s admitting that this Congress and her party regard impeachment as just one more political stunt, like ripping up the State of the Union message, boycotting the inauguration, or nominating Kamala Harris. Worse, unless the Senate agrees to rush through a trial the way Pelosi rushed through the impeachment, Trump will already be out of office and a private citizen before he can be convicted—which he wouldn’t be anyway. The Constitution speaks of impeachment and the Senate trial as a means of removing a President, not as a device to say “I hate you! Ooooh, I hate you to pieces!” to an ex-President.
Thus it’s a joke. The first impeachment was a dud. Trump hasn’t been embarrassed, Congress and the news media have been embarrassed and exposed as fools. Worst of all, impeachment has lost its teeth. We will see every President, good, bad and indifferent, threatened with impeachment. If a President is impeached, it will be seen as an expression of political enmity, not a principled and wrenching decision to protect the nation.
We need impeachment in the Constitution, but thanks to the petty, irresponsible, incompetent Democrats and their enablers in the media,the mechanism has been robbed of integrity and seriousness.