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An Impeachment Trial for Naught

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An Impeachment Trial for Naught

An Impeachment Trial for Naught
February 04
17:37 2020

The unique political process of impeaching a President of the United States was the first step toward an actual removal of America’s most senior elected official.

It was assumed by the framers of the Constitution that any impeachment would be predicated on a serious crime and with sufficient evidence to have a reasonable chance to convict the President – with broad bipartisan support.

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Ironically, this latest impeachment had none of that. From the very start of the impeachment process in the House, there was never a possibility that President Trump would be removed from office by the Senate.  It was much like an old “Colombo” detective show in which we knew who did it, why and how.  The entertainment was merely seeing the case unfold.

If it was never intended to result in the removal of the President, then what was it?   It was actually two things.  The first thing was the entertainment of it all – not a purpose, but a byproduct.

It was a Constitutional debate between lawyers and scholars – citing legal precedents and quoting from the words of the Founders.  Intellectually, it was the most engaging part of the deliberations.  It was a good education in history and civics no matter which side one might have cheered on.

Of course, as an academic exercise, the entire legal debate had virtually no influence on public opinion or even the preconceived votes of the senators on both sides of the aisle.  Since this was not a trial in a court-of-law, legal points – no matter how well presented – were never going to sway thinking.  The legal debate was educational, but not motivational because the ending scene was already in the can, as they say in Hollywood.

The other “thing” of this impeachment was the no-holds-barred partisan political clash.  As the lawyers mostly argued as if they were in a court-of-law – or at least a law school debate — the politician in them was fighting for a verdict in the court-of-public-opinion and, by extension, votes in the upcoming presidential election.  That was the primary purpose of the entire impeachment process – in the House and in the Senate.

That is why the House Managers and the White House counselors spent so much time raising political issues that were in no way related to the issues raised in the Articles of Impeachment.  If the case were being adjudicated in a court-of-law under rules-of-evidence, objections would have been flying like “amens” at a revival meeting – and they would have largely been sustained.

With removal from office never in play – and the legal debate without any impact — the entire purpose of the impeachment was to win votes in November – literally weaponizing impeachment for purely political reasons.

In terms of the all-important political case, that jury is still out.  That jury is the voting public.  In the days ahead, pundits and politicians on each side of the political divide will interpret the outcome of the impeachment and trial along party lines.  They will create a hypothetical narratives base on a partisan perspective.

No matter how passionately the juxtaposed political opinions on the outcome of the impeachment and trial are expressed today, most of the points of contention will be lost as campaigns move forward and news issues grab the attention of the moment.

We are much like all the folks outside a jury room awaiting the verdict in a real trial.  We can conjecture and opine, but until the jury — we the people – vote in November, it is all spin and speculation.

So, there ‘tis.


About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Tonyb99
    Tonyb99 February 05, 19:43

    All half-decent Democratic Party Americans must be cringing at the disgraceful antics of their politicians. A rousing State-of-the-Union speech highlighted how their traditional supporters, blue-collar working people, have benefited the most from the current administration, with more to come.

    Reply to this comment

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