Issues & Insights

Yet Another Trump Impeachment? Sorry, But This One Too Is A Sham

Photo: Gage Skidmore, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en).

I&I Editorial

The Democrats are racing ahead with their third effort to impeach former President Donald Trump. Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the impeachment articles to the Senate on Tuesday, and the now evenly split Senate will take it up on Feb. 8. It’s a waste of time and taxpayer money for one simple reason: It’s not even legal.

No, that’s not a mere assertion or our opinion. It’s based on the only document we know that guides how impeachments should take place. It’s called the Constitution.

We still live in a constitutional republic, which means we are bound by its laws. So is Congress.

So here’s what the Constitution says:

When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

So the impeachment now being moved to the Senate is not legal, based on the clear wording and intent of the Constitution.

For one thing, Donald Trump is no longer president of the United States. The Constitution clearly says “When the President of the United States is tried . . .” It doesn’t say “former” or “ex-President.” It says “President.”

Since Trump is no longer president, he can’t legally be impeached. Impeachment is moot, since the main idea behind impeachment is to remove the accused from office.

But that’s not all. A bigger issue is that our founders clearly saw that impeachment trials could get out of hand and turn political, destabilizing our democracy. So they set in stone a provision that says when the president is tried, “the Chief Justice shall preside.”

That doesn’t say or mean “may” or “should” or “could” or even “would be the best person to” preside. It says shall. No alternative is allowed for.

As law professor and longtime blogger Ann Althouse recently noted, Chief Justice John Roberts has indicated through his actions that he believes the impeachment of Trump is not legal. This has been tacitly admitted by the Democrats.

As CNN reported recently, “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in an interview . . . that ‘it was up to John Roberts whether he wanted to preside with a president who’s no longer sitting. . . . And he doesn’t want to do it.’ “

Translation: Roberts doesn’t want to take part in a political circus.

And, yes, he’s also saying loud and clear that the impeachment is improper and wouldn’t withstand Supreme Court scrutiny. Because if it were a legal impeachment, it would be his duty to preside. He’d have no choice in the matter at all.

So have the Democrats halted their wasteful vendetta against Trump? Not at all. They plan to proceed with a trial in the Senate, presided over by Vermont’s other far-left senator, Patrick Leahy.

This is blatantly unconstitutional and patently unfair. Even if successful, which it won’t be, any resulting impeachment will be null and void.

“The only remedies in impeachment are removal from office and disqualification to hold positions of ‘trust or profit,’ ” wrote Instapundit blogger and University of Tennessee Law Professor Glenn Reynolds last week. “The disqualification vote can’t take place until after the removal, and you can’t ‘remove’ someone from an office they don’t hold.”

As for the “positions of ‘trust or profit’ ” mentioned, the Constitution doesn’t seem to mean “elective offices, but appointed ones,” Reynolds added. So all those who think it means Trump couldn’t run for president again or hold elective office, think again.

If all this is true, why are Democrats wasting time and money, particularly during a pandemic?

The answer is, this isn’t really an impeachment. It’s a show trial, the kind that former Soviet totalitarian Josef Stalin used to hold in the 1930s. The idea was to try a hated political enemy in a publicized court trial that would reliably render a guilty verdict, thus proving that the accused was “an enemy of the state.”

Sham impeachment serves the same devious purpose. So do the Democrats’ plans to blacklist Trump supporters and have them fired from jobs and banned from the media, a dubious “War on Domestic Terror” whose main function appears to be shutting down the Democrats’ political opposition, and requests for “truth and reconciliation tribunals” that would be little other than exercises in political re-education, a specialty of totalitarian regimes.

This is why Americans should text, write or call their congressional representatives, both in the House and Senate. The illegal Trump impeachment isn’t about Trump at all. It’s about you, and your constitutional rights. If they can get away with doing this to a former president, what do you think they’ll do to you?

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

5 comments

  • I don’t understand. You start this article with the statement that the Congress is racing ahead to impeach Trump for the third time. Then… not another word about any “third time.” What gives?

    • Thanks for your note. We mentioned three times to show that it’s a pattern, rather than a legitimate reaction to any specific thing President Trump did. That is, all these impeachment efforts were political in nature.

      The three main efforts to impeach began in 2017, after Trump fired FBI Director Comey. At the time, a number of Democratic House members started a move to impeach the president and even produced legislation to do so. It fizzled. December of 2019 was the second time. It didn’t make it through the Senate. This post-presidential effort to impeach is the third time.

      We didn’t dwell on the earlier efforts because, frankly, while wrong and clearly politically motivated, they were at least all legal. The current effort is plainly, in our view, unconstitutional and should be halted immediately for that reason.

      Regards,

      Issues & Insights Editorial Board

  • The communist senators (demo and rino) will vote to convict! Count on it. They want to bar him from running again and will also likely strip him of his pension. The courts will not entertain any challenge because of an 19th century precedent. SCOTUS refused to take an impeachment challenge. They stated that it was “purely a political issue.”

  • Now that we have established by majority Senate vote that because the U.S. Constitution does not specifically limit impeachment votes & trials to sitting presidents, it can do so, therefore we can logically extend the parameters to include dead presidents as well under the same theory that Congress can do anything not specifically excluded.

    I suggest Congress immediately set aside its agenda and posthumously impeach President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the serious crimes of illegally imprisoning and dispossessing thousands of U.S. citizens of Japanese extraction for years during WWII.

    Let this be the first of the cleansing of history of reprobate past presidents. Nothing can be more important on Congress’ docket than such purity of purpose. So let it be written; so let it be done.

    Needed: one or more House member(s) to introduce an impeachment resolution for moldy FDR!

  • Wasn’t Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL) impeached from office as a Federal Judge for corruption?
    Yet he was allowed to re-invent himself and get ELECTED to the House. And it was deemed that barring Hastings from public office did not apply to elected office

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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