A Case Built on Feelings or Facts?

Bill Clinton obstructed justice after lying about an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. Andrew Johnson dismissed the secretary of war against the will of Congress. Donald Trump is facing impeachment as a result of his phone call with Ukraine. Our president has been accused of abusing his power by pressuring a foreign country to dig up information on Joe Biden, one of his Democratic presidential opponents. Because more than half of the Senate is Republican, it’s likely that Trump will also be acquitted. This puppet show has to end, and in fact, should never have been initiated by the hands of Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic party in the first place. If we want to move forward as a nation, the Senate must read through the finer lines to see Trump’s accomplishments, not allowing the Democratic hunt to overshadow the hypocrisy of the impeachment.   

Nancy Pelosi Delayed Sending The Articles to Senate:

It has become evident that the Democratic party was quick to call impeachment without considering the process that goes along with such a request, going as far as Speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing to turn over the Articles of Impeachment for an extended period of time. President Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Dec. 18, 2019, and Pelosi failed to surrender the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate until Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, preventing the start of a trial. This extended period of time raised flags about the preparedness of Democrats for a trial of such magnitude. Opponents of this proposition argue that the excess time was needed to uncover further facts and witnesses to help the case. According to an online article entitled “Nancy Pelosi explains what Democrats gained by holding onto the articles of impeachment” in Vox, “Pelosi also said the delay was to allow the public time to see further ‘documentation which the president has prevented from coming to the Congress’ — that is, more evidence of wrongdoing.” However, the very idea that Democrats are continuing to search for ways in which they can justify impeaching Mr. Trump stands to show how unprepared they were for what would follow their complaints. Impeachment is a large scale event, and it should be done with complete transparency and certainty of wrongdoing that took place. When an event of this caliber is carried out, all evidence should be in place before an initial vote can even happen. An investigation should not follow a vote. It should be the opposite. Any investigations that further justify impeachment should have been completed well before the impeachment itself occurred.

Witch Hunt from the Beginning

Since President Trump was inaugurated, people have been pushing for his impeachment. During his time in office, impeachment has been widely talked about. Big news stations like CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and left-leaning news sources have mentioned this word, with the hope of getting a message out to the people that President Trump needs to go. In November of 2016, ABC reported about lawsuits regarding his personal business filed against Trump. Immediately they started saying, “If convicted, this could be seen as an impeachable offense.” Opponents of Trump argue that his actions, namely the way he expresses his feelings via social media, have been and currently are reasons for impeachment. This is the wrong approach. News stations that tend to be more left-winged have attacked the president for the smallest of things and say that they are impeachable. In a news broadcast on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell even discussed how Trump’s mental health and lying tendencies might be grounds for impeachment. In one of Trump’s tweets at the beginning of his presidency regarding Obama’s wiretapping of the Trump Towers, O’Donnell responded, “that tweet only can invoke the 25th amendment and get him impeached.” O’Donnell’s point in tweeting this was that Trump’s words to the public were impeachable and that the vice president could step in for him. Even though Trump’s tweeting might be over-the-top, it’s not grounds for booting him out of office. Trump has always been scrutinized, particularly by the press, for his tweets. Attacking the president for crimes that do not fall under impeachable offenses is no way to approach this situation.

When so many false accusations are made, Trump’s popularity could simply increase, making it possible that he could serve a second term. Like members of the press, politicians are using their opinions to sway impeachment decisions. The impeachment inquiry was based on Trump’s relations and interactions with Ukraine and the withholding of military aid. The witnesses all had some connection with either Ukraine or with the call Trump made with the newly elected president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. Fox news anchor Tom Tucker confirmed this in saying that one of the main witnesses, former Ambassador of Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, gave testimony with no relevance to the purpose of the impeachment hearings, other than the fact that she was let go by Trump. When asked about being present during the time of the call, she simply said “No.” Her testimony was about her loss of the job and her removal from office by Trump. There were no mentions of quid pro quo during her testimony; It was merely a recounting of events that took place before the whistle-blower complaint. During the Jerry Nadlar hearings broadcast on CNN, Stanford Professor Pamela Karlan testified “the president is demanding a foreign government to participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency.” She was simply referring to Joe Biden and his son, who served on the board of an energy company in Ukraine. She had no knowledge of the phone call between Zelensky and Trump. Democrats believe that insignificant and unrelated events should be used as evidence in Trump’s impeachment, but what they don’t realize is that multiple past investigations, including the $32 million Robert Mueller investigation, revealed no high crimes were committed on Trump’s part. Opinions at the heart of someone’s evidence for impeachment can only go so far.

Abuse of Power is Natural to a Modern President:

Opponents of Trump’s impeachment argue he abused his power and obstructed Congress, and these are valid reasons for him to be impeached. But they are not. If we held every president to the standard Donald Trump is being held to, there would be several more impeachments of past presidents. According to History teacher John Corbin, every president has abused their power since Eisenhower. Lincoln was the first of many imperial presidents. “Congress was not in session and it’s their job to suspend habeas corpus,” Corbin said. “But he has nobody to ask, so he does it anyways to protect the capital. He trashes the Sixth Amendment real quick.” In other words, Lincoln abused his power for the greater good. He did not go to Congress. He just went a step beyond, thus abusing his power. Congress was created with the intent of being the closest branch of government to the people. However, this was not the case with Franklin D. Roosevelt. “But now you have like, Uncle Franklin coming into your living room, via the radio, talking to you and having that kind of conversation. And now the American people’s, not necessarily allegiance, but their relationship changes,” said Corbin. As presidencies become more imperial and people’s allegiance changes, Congress’s power decreases. Either the president absorbs the power Congress gives up or the president just takes their power away and they do nothing about it. “They’re contracting [their power] because they can finger point at this guy and keep their jobs,” said Corbin. Congress becomes more polarized and gets nothing done because of this, and now their responsibilities lie with the president. The president picks up the slack through executive orders and signing statements. This gives the president the power to issue new laws without approval and pick and choose the parts of laws they want despite Congress’ lack of approval. Signing statements were passed under George W. Bush’s presidency, so they are relatively new. Long story short, abuse of power comes naturally to a president in this day and age. The two articles of impeachment are abuse of power and obstructing congress. Because of the increasing power of the president, it’s unfair to say abuse of power is reason enough to impeach a president. As far as obstructing Congress goes, Nancy Pelosi did so when she kept the articles for months. “So how does the person that actually gave the articles over to the Senate make that argument after she just obstructed Congress for the last two months?” Corbin asked. If the imperial presidency continues to grow, and members of Congress continue to pass the buck through executive agencies and ignorance to the Constitution, we will no longer have a republic. Impeachment will not fix the problem, Congress needs to step up and take responsibility.  

Are we holding Trump to a higher standard as a president for the simple fact that he came in with no political background? For the simple fact that he was a reality television star? Is the real issue Congress not doing their job and pointing fingers at the man in charge? If we allow Trump to be impeached, we are accepting further division of already polarized political parties. We are making an example of a president who has otherwise done great things for our country despite the fact that previous presidents, some deemed as great leaders, have abused their power. We are allowing opinion to take precedence over truth. Everything is not red and blue. We must learn to be more open-minded in order for this Republic to operate how the original founders intended.  

This is part one to an editorial series CHS Bonfire is publishing. See next week’s paper for the other side.