People who read my articles and follow my commentary online, know I have a favorite quote: “There’s nothing new under the sun, except the history you don’t know.” It’s attributed to President Harry S. Truman and it’s almost always accurate. Almost. What the House Democratic Caucus is attempting to do to this sitting president is beyond bizarre, it’s quite literally unprecedented.
If Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff were an 80s band, they’d be called Parliamentary Maneuvers in the Dark (nod to all you OMD fans out there). While it’s true Article 1 authority on Impeachment is solely vested in the House of Representatives, nowhere does it say it’s solely invested in the Speaker, or any standing committee chair. The Founders were very deliberate that Impeachment be the last and most grave tool in the Congressional toolbox. Likewise, House rules on the matter have been historically deferential to empowering the Minority Caucus’s ability to thoroughly vet the charges made against the defendant. Which is why every prior impeachment process has begun with a House Resolution passed by a simple majority to begin proceedings and designate a standing committee as the investigatory body; which exclusively has been the House Judiciary Committee. But that’s not what is happening now. I think people have a right to know why. Let’s explore it, shall we?
The difference between an “Impeachment Inquiry” and “Impeachment Proceedings,” is that one is an actual thing (the latter) and one is a figment of Nancy Pelosi’s imagination (the former). If no vote is taken by the full House to proceed with Impeachment, then for all intents and purposes, nothing has changed. No House rules governing impeachment proceedings in the committee process are commenced, thus the minority chair is a powerless observer, or worse, completely absent during the committee deposition phase of witnesses. There’s a reason the House rules are in place. The Courts are the final arbiter of what is, or is not, considered essential witness material that Congress is requiring of the Executive. Judges are often swayed by the constitutional authority Congress has to investigate wrongdoing, but not at the cost of debilitating the president’s ability to safeguard the nation and conduct his office. It’s a fine balance, and one that judges are not keen on weighing in on and upsetting judicial precedence. So, in effect, Pelosi and her posse of standing chairs are asking the Courts to intervene in the name of semantics. To that, I say nice try. No judge will be swayed to go beyond the scope of deference normally accorded to Congress under normal House rules. I would not want to be House counsel having to answer a judge’s query on just what the hell is going on with all this.
Congress derives the full weight of its authority as a voting body. Period. It represents the majoritarian interests of the American people in any given two year period. It also houses built in protections for the minority party that represent the rest of the people. It’s a beautiful and emblematic tribute to our constitutional republic as a whole. Which is why Nancy Pelosi and her gang of partisan hacks are so offensive in their attempt to undermine our Constitution. They want to undo the results of a presidential election; which one might argue is the most severe act Congress could ever take. It’s essentially undoing the democratic will of 63 million Americans. To do so, in the absence of even a simple floor vote to proceed, is constitutionally offensive and should be met with more than distrust from the American people, but with outright disdain.
I’m aware of all the other tangential reasons the Democrats have to try and shut President Trump down. To delineate them all would take days and would still not change the fact that they are blatantly circumventing the US Constitution as a means to an end. Aided and abetted by a hallucinogenic and amnesiac national media, Pelosi marches on in contempt of everything we hold dear as a democracy. The punishment for this abuse of congressional power will be doled out exactly where the Founding Fathers wanted it to be: at the ballot box.
When you stop to think about the fact that Congress must vote to change the name of a Federal building or make the Bison the National animal, it seems rather silly to entertain the notion of starting an impeachment process against the president without so much as a floor vote. This whole charade is disruptive and damaging to our country. Never before in history has any such measure been attempted. It has served to embolden our enemies and weaken our resolve as a nation. The seeds of distrust have been planted to sprout the destruction of our democracy. Every hypocritical word they uttered in 1998 during the impeachment of President Clinton will be used against them now. I welcome that irony. I see no clear path to a victory here for Pelosi, not in a political sense, nor a parliamentary one. Americans will not tolerate dictatorial maneuvers by a single member of Congress. It’s un-American and obscene.
One thing I’ve learned after a couple decades in politics, is when you spend too much looking back at what already happened, you run headlong into what you didn’t see coming. In this case, it’s a massive backlash from Americans that are beyond frustrated with a deadbeat Congress. A very lucrative trade deal with Mexico and Canada sits dead in the still legislative waters. Prescription drug reform that would save our seniors millions of dollars sits ignored in favor of a naked and brazen attempt to thwart our Constitution. All this over a phone call? Absurd. Expect a wake up call instead, Pelosi. Just about 13 months from now.
Don’t tread on me…