Speeding Toward Impeachment in the Absence of Facts

The Daily Signal | 12/10/2019 | Staff
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Thomas Jipping is deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

The Democrats’ case for impeaching President Donald Trump boils down to this: the accusation that he solicited, demanded, perhaps even coerced a foreign government to help him get reelected. Such behavior, they contend, constitutes an impeachable offense.

Task - Senate - Trial - Article - Impeachment

The most important task for the Senate when it conducts a trial on that article of impeachment is to determine whether that is, in fact, what Trump did.

This is not America’s first impeachment. In the past, however, the facts were clear; the challenge was deciding whether the individual’s actions fell within the Constitution’s category of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” This time, before even reaching that issue, the question is what Trump actually did.

Agreement - Trump - Briefly - Aid - Ukraine

There seems to be agreement about this much: Trump briefly put aid to Ukraine, as well as a White House meeting with its new president, on hold.

In a July 25 phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Trump urged the Ukrainian president to conduct two investigations. One focused on “this whole situation with Ukraine,” referring to accusations that Ukraine tried to influence the 2016 president election. He also spoke about whether former Vice President Joseph R. Biden “stopped the prosecution” of a company on whose board sat son Hunter Biden.

Month - Half - Administration - Aid - Ukraine

A month and a half later, the administration released the aid, even though Ukraine undertook neither of the investigations requested.

Nothing in that account, as far as it goes, amounts to an impeachable offense. The piece that makes or breaks the impeachment is the piece about which there is no evidence.

Democrats - Allies - Piece - House - Permanent

Democrats’ and their liberal allies have told us repeatedly just what that piece is. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report, for example, claims that Trump “solicited the...
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