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The Democrats’ Nakedly Craven And Unserious Impeachment

Mitch McConnell
Note to angry Democrats: Even though your House majority passed articles of impeachment 230 to 197 Donald Trump is still your President. And he will remain your President unless the Senate convicts him in a trial – and the only way that has any possibility of happening is if the House transmits to the Senate the articles of impeachment it passed.

However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said she won't send the Senate the articles or name managers until she's confident about the nature of the process that will take place in the Senate, which is itself still subject to negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Democrat Charles Schumer of New York.

This has created the truly comical situation in which Pelosi is trying to gain leverage over McConnell by withholding something he doesn’t want – namely to act on the articles of impeachment and conduct a trial.

As NPR’s Philip Ewing recently reported, Schumer and Democrats want to hear from witnesses in the Senate trial, including top administration officials who could talk about what they and Trump did in the Ukraine affair last year.

In remarks on the Senate floor Friday, McConnell said the trial should follow precedent set with President Clinton's impeachment trial two decades ago, and that "midtrial questions" like witnesses should be considered after opening arguments and questions from senators.

Mr. Ewing reported the majority leader added that if Democrats want more evidence in the record, they should have done a better job under Pelosi in the House.

"As House Democrats continue their political delay, they're searching desperately for some new talking points to help them deflect blame for what they've done," McConnell said.

Senator McConnell is right of course, and as the Democrats have moved from talking point to talking point, there’s a new one that has now been rolled out to help Pelosi in her battle with McConnell: the Senate and Senators are merely passive, impartial jurors in the impeachment “trial.”

This was well explained by our friend Rachel Bovard who pointed out after the House vote: Senators Are Not Jurors.

As Ms. Bovard observed in her column for American Greatness, “Unlike jurors who are instructed by the judge at the outset of their deliberation, each senator is imbued with the power to determine what constitutes an impeachable offense, and whether the prosecution has met that burden of proof.”

Ms. Bovard went on to document this point through this interchange between then-Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and then-Chief Justice Rehnquist:

Impeachment, by its nature, is a political process. It is not a criminal proceeding. Accordingly, though senators play the role of the jury, they are far from ordinary jurors.

This was confirmed during the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, when Democrat Tom Harkin of Iowa queried it on the floor of the Senate.

“Mr. Chief Justice,” he said, addressing William Rehnquist, who was presiding over the trial, “I object to the use and the continued use of the word ‘jurors’ when referring to the Senate.”

Harkin went on to make his case that “the framers of the Constitution meant us, the Senate, to be something other than a jury,” with reference to the Federalist, the Senate’s rules, and the Constitution itself, which provides in Article III that “Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury.”

Chief Justice Rehnquist upheld Harkin’s point. “The Senate is not simply a jury,” he ruled. “It is a court in this case.”

Rehnquist’s rhetoric underscores the critical—and expansively powerful—role that the Senate plays in impeachment. Senators are not merely neutral jurors.

 In withholding the articles of impeachment, said Ms. Bovard, Pelosi is attempting to leverage both a chamber and a process over which she has no authority. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) quipped, “there is a reason one person can’t be speaker of the House and senate majority leader at the same time.”

From a constitutional standpoint, Pelosi’s actions “distort, ignore and violate the explicit terms of the Constitution that view impeachment by the House as a first step toward a trial by the Senate.”

And as Ms. Bovard concluded, and we agree, from a political standpoint, withholding the articles of impeachment makes the House Democrats look even more nakedly craven and unserious. What Pelosi is truly afraid of, as Ben Domenech recently pointed out, is the bipartisan acquittal coming in the Senate, which will make a blatant mockery of the House Democrats’ case against the president—and make Americans wonder why the House wasted so much time on this in the first place.

The toll-free Capitol Switchboard number (1-866-220-0044), we urge CHQ readers and friends to call their Senators to demand they vote NO on the unfair and unfounded impeachment of President Trump.

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I See Your Witholding Impeachment & Raise You Speedy Dismissal

It's unfortunate McConnell and Senate Republicans don't drop the gauntlet and declare that if the Articles of Impeachment are not forwarded as they stand by a certain date, that the Seante will summarily dismiss the charges as frivolous and a struictly partisan sham (they are).

If Pelosi and her band of flying monkeys want to take another swing at it and actually do the job as it is intended and with the seriousness and due process accorded the accused - start over and do it in their House.

The Senate is considered the upper legislative body for a reason. Hopefully, they don't allow the leftists to make the same mockery of it that they did in the House of Reps.