Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress: Huh?

Here we go!

The House Judiciary Committee introduced the first two Articles of Impeachment. They plan to present to the full House of Representatives for a vote to impeach the President: “Abuse of Power” and “Obstruction of Congress.” The Abuse of Power claim alleges President Trump insisted that Ukraine’s President Zelensky immediately jump-start corruption investigation into Hunter Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, or would risk losing foreign aid. The Obstruction of Congress claim is for actions taken by President Trump to keep current and former members of his Administration from honoring Congressional subpoenas to appear before various House committees to answer questions about matters that occurred in the White House.

These certainly are serious allegations made in these two draft Articles of Impeachment. And, if true, will portend egregious actions to be taken against the President. “If true”  in form and content will determine the outcome of the charges. Let’s take a look at the context of the allegations and any historical precedent on which the Judiciary Committee has based them.

Abuse of Power

According to the House Judiciary Committee, the reason President Trump mentioned to Zelensky the previous investigation of Hunter Biden’s alleged corruption was to force Ukraine to investigate Biden or lose U.S. aid. His demands for Ukraine to do so were to discredit Joe Biden as a candidate running against Trump in 2020.

(Just as a reminder: that Ukrainian prosecutor was fired because of a threat by then-Vice President Biden of the withholding of $1 billion in U.S. foreign unless the Ukrainian prosecutor doing the investigation was fired. In fact, in clear video evidence of Biden bragging about the incident, Biden gave Ukraine six hours to fire the prosecutor.)

While you are considering the validity of this specific article of impeachment, consider the following:

  • In all of the testimonies of those brought into closed-door and the subsequent public hearings on these matters, not one single person provided evidence showing that was the President’s intention. The several people who heard the conversation when asked about the alleged Trump quid pro quo, none could factually state President Trump did such.
  • President Trump (or any U.S. President) has an oath-of-office mandate to take responsibility that any money from American taxpayers given to foreign governments in the form of aid is being used legally and for the purposes upon which the support was made. VP Biden was appointed by President Obama to oversea corruption investigations in Ukraine and was purportedly doing so during those meetings.
  • President Zelensky has, on numerous occasions, stated there was no quid pro quo, no request by the President or anyone else in the Trump Administration to investigate Hunter Biden as a prerequisite for foreign aid. Ambassador Sondland, who participated in that process, recalled a conversation with Mr. Trump in which Sondland asked what Trump wanted from Ukraine. President Trump stated he wanted nothing but Ukraine to do the right thing: no quid pro quo.
  • There is an actual treaty between the U.S. and Ukraine dating back to 1999 in which both nations agree to partner to identify and prosecute political corruption of any kind that impacts either country. That is a formal treaty, not merely an executive action taken by a president. That means Congress approved the deal. That treaty prompted Obama to send Biden to oversee corruption in Ukraine. Biden committed Abuse of Power in taking his actions to protect his son.

Note: Rep. Adam Schiff, during this impeachment probe unilaterally subpoenaed cell phone companies AT&T and Verizon for the telephone records of numerous people who “allegedly” had conversations about this alleged abuse of power. Several of those whose records were provided are Rudy Guiliana, reporter John Solomon, Rep. Devin Nunes (D-CA) and others. Schiff had no legal authority to do so. Schiff released to the public information regarding some of those callers and those calls. In some states, those actions are illegal.

In doing so not only did he unilaterally violate the law, the release exposed private telephone information and content of members of the media — a violation of the First Amendment.

Schiff did not release all of the calls or identity of all of the callers on the receiving end of calls. But who else on those call records somewhere down the road could be exposed for some alleged wrongdoing just because Schiff wants to hurt them or blackmail them into preventing exposure!

Schiff’s actions were definitely his Abuse of Power as the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Obstruction of Congress

President Trump’s reason for preventing current and former members of his administration from appearing before Congress was Executive Privilege. We hear that term used quite often. What is it?

Executive privilege is the right of the president of the United States and other members of the executive branch to maintain confidential communications under certain circumstances within the executive branch and to resist some subpoenas and other oversight by the legislative and judicial branches of government in pursuit of particular information or personnel relating to those confidential communications.

Of course, stopping someone from responding to a subpoena to cover-up illegal activity would be Obstruction. But in this case, Mr. Trump personally demanded all applicable information be provided not only to Congress for investigations but to Robert Mueller’s team. The Trump Administration had produced 2 million pages of documents to Robert Mueller. And this all is available to each House oversight committee. And those committees have access to all the witness testimony from the Mueller case. But that isn’t good enough.

That said, past presidents have, on numerous occasions, ignored Congressional subpoenas for their staff members because of executive privilege. No Congress has ever used his doing so as a precursor to Impeachment. Want recent examples?

  • Eric Holder refuses to provide subpoenaed Fast & Furious documents. The investigation of the botched Fast & Furious investigation is perhaps the most significant example of the Obama administration using executive privilege to justify their refusal to cooperate with an investigation. Holder refused to provide subpoenaed documents to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
  • Lois Lerner refuses to testify on IRS targeting. Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS when they were inappropriately targeting conservative and tea party groups, appeared before Congress in May 2013. She gave a statement but refused to answer questions by pleading the Fifth Amendment. Republicans called her back in March 2014, when she pulled the same stunt. At the time, Rep. Elijah Cummings blasted Republicans for wanting to question Lerner.
  • Ben Rhodes not allowed to testify on Iran Nuclear Deal. The Iran Nuclear Deal was so bad Obama didn’t even try to get Senate ratification for it, and much of the negotiations were done without Congress notified. When Congressional Republicans wanted to get answers after Ben Rhodes (the failed novelist turned Obama speechwriter turned top foreign policy adviser to Obama) let it spill to the New York Times that the administration relied on a false narrative to sell the Iran deal to the public, the White House wouldn’t let him testify, using the “separation of powers” excuse.
  • Treasury officials blocked from testifying on Obamacare subsidies. When Obama started making all sorts of unilateral (and illegal) changes to Obamacare, Republicans were none too happy about the abuse of power. When Obama’s IRS decided to expand Obamacare subsidies to be used in federal exchanges in addition to state exchanges, the Obama administration refused to allow Treasury Department officials to testify on the rule changing process, using the excuse that the issue was soon to be decided in the Supreme Court.
  • White House refuses to allow the political director to testify. In 2014, Democratic operatives were concerned that the Obama White House wasn’t doing enough to help in the forthcoming midterms. In response to these concerns, Obama launched the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. This raised eyebrows for some, who were concerned that Obama and his minions were using White House resources for political activity. So, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee began investigating in order to make sure the White House was complying with civil services laws designed to prevent executive branch employees from engaging in political activity. David Simas, the director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, was subpoenaed, but the White House refused to allow him to testify before Congress. In a letter to Congress, White House Counsel Neil Eggleston claimed Simas was “immune from congressional compulsion to testify on matters relating to his official duties” and thus would not appear before the committee.
  • Justice Kagan’s Obamacare conflict of interest. Before being nominated as a justice for the  Supreme Court, Elena Kagan served as solicitor general for the Obama administration, during which time she was heavily involved in crafting a legal defense for Obamacare. This conflict of interest was important since issues revolving around Obamacare would be going before the Supreme Court. Federal law dictates that Supreme Court justices must recuse themselves when their impartiality “might reasonably be questioned.” Naturally, the Obama administration didn’t want Kagan to recuse herself from any Obamacare-related cases. So, when the House Judiciary Committee requested documents and interviews to get a clear understanding of her role relating to Obamacare while she was solicitor general, the Obama/Holder Justice Department refused to comply. When Eric Holder testified before the committee, he claimed to not know about the request.
  • Refusal to provide subpoenaed Solyndra documents. Remember the Solyndra scandal? The Obama administration wasn’t exactly interested in letting Congress exercise its oversight responsibilities when they investigated how the Obama administration could have given them a considerable loan when they were going bankrupt. When House Republicans subpoenaed documents for their investigation, the Obama White House fired back, claiming their request would put an “unreasonable burden on the president’s ability to meet his constitutional duties.” House Republicans accused the Obama White House of hiding information, and they responded with accusations of a partisan investigation.
  • Refusing to let the White House social secretary testify on party crashers scandal. In 2009, two-party crashers successfully got by the Secret Service during a state dinner, succeeding in meeting and shaking hands with Barack Obama. Congress investigated the breach in security, but when White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers was asked to testify before Congress, the White House refused to let her testify. Obama’s press secretary explained during a press briefing that  “…based on the separation of powers, the staff here don’t go to testify in front of Congress.”
  • Fighting subpoenas in the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation investigation. When the Obama administration inexplicably dropped a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) in Philadelphia, many questions were asked as to why. The NBPP had dressed in paramilitary uniforms outside of polling places in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008, and the case against them, which was started by the Bush administration, and the Obama administration won the case by default when the NBPP didn’t show up in court to defend themselves, but the DOJ decided to dismiss the charges. Former Justice Department attorney (and current PJ Media contributor J. Christian Adams) quit his position in the Justice Department to protest the Obama administration’s handling of the case and confirmed the racial motivation behind the decision to drop the case against them.

I just had a thought about the claim that the President is Obstructing Congress by not allowing his folks to testify or turn over information Congress want to hear and receive from them: how does Congress know there is anything for which the President is hiding from them? They haven’t seen it! How can they charge Obstruction of Congress when there’s nothing there for him to obstruct?

Summary

There’s no “meat on the bone” of Democrats’ Impeachment process. “Bribery, Treason, and High Crimes and Misdemeanors” are the requisite presidential actions necessary to impeach a president. Those are from the U.S. Constitution, not from some lawyer’s opinion. When each of the legal experts that supposedly had evidence of Trump’s wrongdoing was asked this question, “What action did the President take that are impeachable?” not one person could name a single thing. Monday’s hearing in which attorneys for House Democrats testified about Trump impeachable offenses, 100% of their testimony was based on this one word: “Opinion.”

No doubt, some people do not like President Trump. No doubt, some members of the political bureaucracy in Washington don’t like actions Trump has taken. But the opinions of those who feel that way are not sufficient to impeach a president!

It is anti-American for any public servants to believe the removal of any President can be justly implemented based solely on political partisanship. Just imagine the U.S. government holocaust that would ensue in those circumstances. We would certainly see the political party in power in the House either actually or just through threats control for partisan purposes the acts of every president. “If you don’t do exactly what we want you to do, we will impeach you!”

If the House impeaches President Trump — and that is appearing more likely each day — every president going forward will face that as an inevitability. Some who are qualified for the office will refuse to run, not wanting to consider that with a win, they will probably be impeached — not for doing something wrong other than just being a member of a political party not in control of the House.

Who is completely left out of this conversation? The American people. Don’t forget that 63 million Americans voted to elected Donald Trump. This House of Representatives is about to remove Mr. Trump with no regard for the American voters who put him in the White House. To those who state that doing so IS Constitutional, consider this: in less than one year, American voters will once again pick a U.S. president. Do Democrats in the House think Americans are too stupid to see and understand what is going on? Do House Democrats feel they must step in and save us all from Donald Trump?

If you believe that way, God help Americans from such an environment. Our forefathers knew such a situation and left their homeland to get away from it. Tyranny and Despotism were alive and well in Europe at the time. My ancestors came to America to make something better. We have.

LEAVE IT ALONE!

Play

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.