Call it an inquiry, an investigation, or a process. Whatever. It’s time to get it started. People are frustrated. People at the gym come up to me fuming about ignored subpoenas, failure to enforce subpoenas, and people refusing just to show up for hearings. They’re appalled. They understand that if they refused a subpoena, they’d be hauled off to jail until they agreed to comply. Why isn’t Congress enforcing theirs against Barr, McGhan, and others? Why is Mueller allowed to refuse to testify? Why were Hope Hicks and others allowed to testify behind closed doors, and why is Congress apparently kowtowed by by the White Wash counsel’s determination of absolute immunity against testifying? All good questions.
On Wednesday, [Hicks] came armed with a letter from the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, saying that she is “absolutely immune” from being forced to testify.
“The longstanding principle of immunity for senior advisers to the president is firmly rooted in the Constitution’s separation of powers and protects the core functions of the presidency,” he wrote in a letter to the committee’s chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York.New York Times
Just yesterday, my representative, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked where the line was that would trigger impeachment, responded, ” When we stop finding even more information. This runs deep and every day we see more, so why would we stop with a less strong case? If you’re going to go down this path, you have to make it so clear.”
Now let me get this straight. Speaker Pelosi doesn’t want to start impeachment because we’re still learning about the President’s misdeeds? Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse, or maybe even leaving the horse in the barn altogether? Or is she just playing coy? She certainly knows the process.
According to everything I know, everything I’ve read, you start impeachment proceedings before you impeach. The House uses those investigative proceedings to gather evidence. Then the House sifts through and weighs that evidence to determine whether sufficient facts exist to establish one or more impeachable offenses, and if so, then the committees draft Articles of Impeachment, which are finally brought to the floor of the House where a vote is taken. A simple majority is all it takes.
You don’t decide to impeach, then convene an investigation. That’s like wild west justice where you decide that someone should be hanged before you decide they should be tried.
The impeachment process is not about changing the minds of Trump’s base. It is about doing the right thing. Protecting our Constitution, our way of government, our way of life, upholding the rule of law and–should the evidence be supportive–of removing a President from office who has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
So let’s try this, Madame Speaker, start the process. Call it an inquiry, call it an investigation, call it a proceeding. Whatever. Give the committees the tools they need to effectively investigate and gather evidence on the President’s conduct.
Seek the appointment of a Special Master in the DC Federal Court. Someone who can expeditiously hear and adjudicate all matters related to these proceedings, including the enforcement of subpoenas, the adjudication of this asinine assertion by the White Wash counsel that all senior officials in the administration are immune from giving testimony, and the assured after-the-fact assertion of executive privilege by the President that we all know is coming.
Remember: The public was not initially behind the notion of impeaching President Nixon before the impeachment process began, but as the investigations continued, the evidence mounted, and the misconduct became clear, public sentiment changed.
Finally, let’s all be clear about a couple of things. First, I do not believe, however clear cut the conduct is, that Trump’s 40% base will ever change their minds about “their President” and his infallibility.
Second, let’s not forget that a conviction in the Senate requires a 2/3 vote and that simply is not possible in this Senate.
So, then, what is to be gained by starting the process now? Impeachment proceedings, i.e., hearings, investigations, negotiating Articles of Impeachment, etc., take time. Start now.
Make the proceedings public so we can all know the evidence. No more testimony behind closed doors. No more “immunity.” no more executive privilege, no more ducking subpoenas. Give the committees the tools they need to get the job done! Seek the appointment of a Special Master in the Court to hear all related matters.
Have the evidence gathered and sitting in a box, if you will, ready for 2021 should this President be re-elected. Get a jump start.
The impeachment process is not about changing the minds of Trump’s base. It is about doing the right thing. Protecting our Constitution, our way of government, our way of life, upholding the rule of law and–should the evidence be supportive–of removing a President from office who has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. It is also about firing up the other 60% of Americans with the hope that they will go to the polls and vote Trump out of office. And if he does get a second term, at least we’ll have the box of ammo primed and ready to go in 2021.
In case you were wondering . . .