There is a way impeachment is done, and there is a way it is not. The way it is done, this country has seen play out on three prior occasions: 1968 (Andrew Johnson), 1974 (Richard Nixon), and 1998 (Bill Clinton). It was only in this final case that the House actually followed through with a full, successful impeachment vote, but in all three instances there were protocols carefully followed that ensured the protection of the president’s constitutional rights. That ensured, at the end of the day, that a partisan majority in the House was not exceeding their constitutionally-proscribed limits. That ensured, finally, that the will of the American people was not usurped by a political party.
Democrats have thrown all of that careful, accountable process into the toilet. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refuses to hold a full House vote authorizing the launch of an official impeachment investigation. Adam Schiff refuses to let Republicans fully into the inquiry. Democrats are conducting interviews and gathering evidence behind closed doors, a choice that circumvents due process and keeps the public in the dark about what’s actually going on. On top of all this, Schiff and his goons are leaking like mad to the press in an unprecedented effort to convict Trump in the court of public opinion.
It’s madness, and the White House has no reason whatsoever to comply with this unconstitutional, actively dangerous threat to American democracy. Indeed, anyone who does cooperate with the Democrats is complicit in helping to erode the separation of powers that is critical to the foundation of our government.
There are numerous problems with this impeachment inquiry, but the main problem is that there appears to be no impeachable offense on the table. Certainly, there was nothing in that phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that could possibly qualify. Where was the bribery? Where was the high crime? Where was the misdemeanor?
Democrats are trying to move forward on the vaguely-defined theory of “abuse of power,” but that’s laughable. It is in no way an abuse of power to ask an ally to conduct an investigation into corruption, whether or not the president’s political rival might be involved. If such a thing is impeachable, then it’s time that we revisit the high crimes of Barack Obama.
If Democrats want to lend any credibility at all to their impeachment inquiry, they must adhere to the traditional methods used to remove a president. That means opening it up to a full House vote, it means inviting Republicans into the process, and it means conducting these proceedings in the light of day. Until and unless they take these steps, neither the White House nor the American people have any responsibility to take this witch hunt seriously.