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