Last Wednesday, the historic and partisan impeachment of President Donald Trump ended with the anti-climactic vote everyone saw coming from the day Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi initiated this impeachment.
Trump’s acquittal was an appropriate and an astute end for two reasons – first being that the Democratic Party disrespectfully and poorly conducted this impeachment, and the second being that the charges brought against Trump did not hold water in the slightest capacity.
The manner of this impeachment was a complete farce to start. The impeachment inquiry, in which the House was supposed to investigate the alleged abuses in order to continue with the impeachment process or to halt it, lasted only around two months. In these two months, Democrats repeatedly blocked Republican witnesses and refused to release transcripts of closed-door testimonies. Adding to their clear aversion for a real investigation, Nancy Pelosi had to remind the House Democrats that this was a “solemn” event when the House voted along party lines to adopt Articles of Impeachment.
Politico reported that several Democrats were taking selfies at the impeachment and cheering when the articles were announced. Despite claims that this whole process was somber and sad, Nancy Pelosi was grinning from ear to ear during her impeachment signing, in which she ordered specific golden pens to write each letter of her name using a different pen.
After she signed the impeachment, Pelosi began handing out the pens like participation trophies to her Democratic colleagues. Democrats then had the audacity to pretend to be outraged that they could not call witnesses during the Senate trial. This impeachment was not treated with respect by the people who launched it. Therefore, it did not deserve the respect of the people it was attacking.
Admittedly, the first reason is based on semantics and would not be a valid reason to acquit a president on its own, especially if there was an actual cause for removal, and there weren’t any
The two Articles of Impeachment given to the Senate were “Abuse of Power” and “Obstruction of Congress.” Both charges were extraordinarily weak, politically and legally.
“Obstruction of Congress” is a politically legitimate action to take. In this case, Democrats claimed that Trump’s challenge of congressional subpoenas was ground for impeachment. However, there is a protocol in place in which the executive branch can challenge the validity of a congressional subpoena by taking it to the courts. In this case, the Court had not rendered an opinion on whether the Trump administration’s challenge was legal before the Articles were ratified. Due to this, that charge can be dismissed immediately, which is why when the Senate voted 53-47, along party lines, to acquit Trump of this Article.
The stronger of the two Articles, although not by much, is “Abuse of Power.” This article is incredibly vague. The argument made by the Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California and House Manager in the Senate Trial, was the President had engaged in a quid pro quo with the President of Ukraine, holding up military aid in exchange for a Ukrainian investigation into Joe Biden, a political opponent of Trump.
The Trump defense was twofold. First, a quid pro quo is a legitimate foreign policy maneuver that presidents can make. This is precisely true. Executive Administrations often engage in quid pro quo, especially in dealing with matters of economic sanctions or tariffs. The Executive Branch can impose restrictions on other countries and use that as leverage in bargaining with them.
That act of quid pro quo is not inherently wrong. It only becomes wrong if the intent is malicious. This brings us to the second part of Trump’s defense that the intent of leveraging aid was to pressure the Ukrainians to look into potential election meddling in 2016 and 2020 and not about acquiring dirt on Joe Biden for personal gain. House witnesses could not refute this claim.
As testimonies from noted foreign policy advisors and ambassadors such as Bill Taylor and Gordon Sondland resulted in nothing but hearsay, there is no way to prove that Trump was acting on his own political gains. Because of this broad term “Abuse of Power” lacks well-defined parameters, the Trump defense can simply deny malintent, as a quid pro quo is not enough on its own to merit expulsion. The Senate voted to acquit Trump of this as well by a vote of 52-48.
Weak charges, coupled with the blatant disrespect for the process on the part of the Democratic Party, made this impeachment a joke. Trump’s removal after this ordeal would have been nothing less than a national outrage.