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Bruce Bialosky

Things to Consider Before the Impeachment Vote

The U.S. Senate will soon vote whether to convict President Trump and remove him from office. Not many people believe that will happen. Many people believe this entire process is to convince voters to cast ballots against Trump and Republicans in November. Neither may be true. Whether you are part of the Senate or a member of the public, you should consider the following facts before casting your vote.

1. The person who has been the lead in developing the case against President Trump and in presenting that case to the Senate insisted for nearly two years and right up until the presentation of the report by Robert Mueller that he had definitive proof of collusion between Trump and the Russians. Mr. Mueller totally discounted that was the case on July 24, 2019. Why would we believe anything that the Lead Person has asserted regarding the telephone call Trump had with Zelensky the very next day?

2. Since that telephone call on July 25, 2019, Democrats have stated that delaying the military aid to Ukraine was an affront to an ally of the United States and was risking lives of Ukrainians who were defending their country against a Russian aggressor. Yet for three years of the Obama Presidency after Russia invaded Ukraine, they said nothing as their party leader refused to provide any military aid to Ukraine. President Trump had already provided that military aid by time of the call. Why should we believe their new-found concern for the Ukrainians?

3. Once the Democrats decided to proceed against President Trump, they set up completely new procedures to pursue the process. A large part of that was done in closed-door secret hearings that were restricted from anyone saying anything about those proceedings under threat of severe penalties. The results of those hearings were selectively released by the chair of the committee. The Chair has released testimony of 17 of the 18 witnesses. He still refuses to release the testimony of the 18th witness, Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general who has firsthand knowledge of the origins of the whistleblower complaint. What is in that testimony that has caused the Chair to keep it a secret?

4. The whistleblower apparently met with the staff of the Intelligence Committee prior to filing the compliant against President Trump. This circumvented the required process to file these complaints. The Chair of the committee has refused to identify the people the whistleblower met with or allow them to testify about that meeting. He has denied he knows who the whistleblower is despite virtually no one believing that statement. Why should we take the whistleblower’s complaint seriously?

5. While watching the witnesses in the public House proceedings, virtually every one of them asserted a claim against the President. Under cross examination every one of them made clear they were dealing from either secondhand information or their own conclusions as to what occurred without having any evidence. The one witness that supposedly had the most damning testimony against President Trump, the Ambassador to the EU, based on his opening statement had no direct knowledge and made clear he was drawing his own conclusions without actual evidence. Why should we consider any of their testimony?

6. The Senate had a procedure to which they agreed 100-0 during the Clinton impeachment proceedings. Even though the Majority Leader proposed that exact same process for the Trump Impeachment, the Senate Minority Leader refused to accept that process and his caucus followed suit. Why is the same process not good enough a little over twenty years later?

7. One of the Impeachment charges is Abuse of Power. We have had scholarly statements saying that the President does not have to had broken a law to be impeached. All the president needs to do is abuse the power of the office. If you accept the argument of these scholars and accept this charge in this impeachment proceeding, doesn’t that open an entirely new avenue for impeaching presidents? Presidents abuse their power all the time depending on the view of the opposition. President Obama abused his power regularly — the situation of the DACA recipients is a perfect example. Obama asserted he had no power to do such and went ahead and did it anyway. Should he have been impeached? If we accept this charge against President Trump, are we not opening a dangerous new path for the opposition in control of Congress to routinely impeach a president?

8. The other charge against President Trump is Obstruction of Congress. Lyndon Johnson spent his entire presidency trying to obstruct Congress. Every president could be charged with this and frequently. The question is the remedy. We have had a remedy which is dictated by the Constitution. It is appeal to the third part of government – the courts. Now the states are suing the president regularly as the attorneys general from both sides take on the decisions of the president. As everyone knows Congress could have argued against executive privilege to the courts. What makes this situation so unique that impeachment is warranted?

9. The last point is the crux of the issue. Can Trump pursue finding out about potential corruption by members of the Biden family? Is Joe Biden off limits because he is running for president? His defenders say the Bidens did nothing illegal. That may be true. But no one has ever looked at it as Obama let it ride and Trump was hamstrung until July 25, 2019, when he broached the subject. No matter which side you fall on the appearance of corruption makes it stink. Many people in our country think that our elected officials get elected to take advantage of the system. It damages our body politic for everyone. When a skeptical person cites this situation and says, “they are all crooked,” how do you argue that if the Bidens’ behavior and Hunter Biden’s activities are not reviewed?

These are just some points that need to be considered when the final review of the impeachment process is done, and the Senators vote before we all vote in November.