Republicans must stick with the facts in impeachment

Television crews fill the lobby of the Longworth Office Building before the House impeachment inquiry on Nov. 13 in Washington, D.C. Bonnie Jo Mount/Washington Post

On Tuesday, the Federalist ran an article by Jim Hanson titled “Alex Vindman Is Living, Breathing Proof That The Deep State Exists, And It Is Corrupt.”

The Federalist is a much-needed addition to the ranks of Beltway-based media organizations, and Jim Hanson is one of its reliable essayists. But it is crucial for conservatives to avoid the unforced errors Hanson makes in this piece.

First, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is a patriot, and while I believe he is very wrong about his understanding of how national security policy is made by the president in a “unitary executive” constitutional order, he is entitled to his opinion and to air it publicly, if in doing so he does not violate orders. Argue with his reasoning, not his person.

More important, there is not now, nor has there ever been a “deep state” in the United States. Deep states exist in history in the fascist and communist regimes of the 20th century and continue today in North Korea, China, Cuba and Venezuela. Menacing security agencies exist in Russia and other states, including within the governments of some countries we call “allies,” such as Turkey.

Wherever politics is controlled by secret police and a secret security apparatus, there is a deep state. The rule of law is the only answer to the deep state, the writ of habeas corpus, the right to a speedy trial, the right to confront accusers — these are all bulwarks of due process, and we have them all in the United States as a matter of course. It is crucial for Republicans generally and conservative supporters of President Donald Trump specifically to stay far away from exaggeration during the impeachment process.

It also distracts from the need to drive home the more important point that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is denying the president and his colleagues in the minority due process as impeachment hearings opened Wednesday. Schiff has so far refused to allow the House Republicans to call the witnesses they want — especially Hunter Biden and the unnamed White House whistleblower.

The Senate Republicans, I have argued, should refuse any article of impeachment birthed by this deeply broken “process.” But neither the president nor the country is helped by hyperbole.

Yes, it might turn out that a handful of senior officials at the FBI and within the intelligence community and the White House have politicized the security and law enforcement services during the election of 2016 and into the transition and perhaps beyond. That is for the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and U.S. Attorney John Durham to determine, and serious, fair-minded people will wait on the results of their investigations just as serious, fair-minded people waited for special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report, which ultimately exonerated Trump of charges of collusion and obstruction in the matter of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But there is no deep state, no out-of-control secret police, and there very much exists an independent judiciary deeply committed to individual rights.

Instead, what needs defending is that not only did Trump not commit an impeachable offense, he committed no offense at all, though his controversial back-channel lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, has created a political headache for the president.

Opportunities are lost every day when the president’s defenders overreach into conspiracy theory and refuse to wait upon the facts as they will inevitably emerge about the wrongdoings by government officials, if any. There is zero need to juice either the condemnation of Schiff’s hearings or to slag career military or diplomats who are in disagreement with the president or the administration. That way lies madness and hysteria.

Stick with the facts. They are with the president.

WPBloom

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(10) comments

hermit thrush

to gracie02:

although the Dems gained 41 seats in the 2018 election before the impeachment started

and the democrats just won gubernatorial races in blood-red kentucky and louisiana. trump campaigned actively in both states. he tried to nationalize the races through the lens of impeachment. his failure tells you something.

Noting Clinton's popularity went up after his proceedings

so? trump's has ticked down slightly since the ukraine scandal broke. impeachment has at least plurality support in the public -- way ahead of where it ever got under clinton.

Using the proceeding to affect an election(s)....versus impeachment... is what I have a issue with... If the goal of the proceedings is to impeach POTUS... chance of that is less than zero...

if this was a purely cynical political move on the dems' part, then i'd agree with you. but it's not. at least insofar as the underlying facts of the case are crystal clear. the president abused the power of his office to try to sabotage an upcoming election in his favor. that is molten-core corruption. that is molten-core impeachable. it would be an abdication of constitutional duty not to act to remove this stain on our country from office. to acquiesce to trump's wrongdoing would be to condone it. we can't have that! if other people refuse to do the right thing, then that's on them. democrats owe it to the country to explain why what trump has done is wrong. then we can let the chips fall where they may.

hermit thrush

hugh hewitt is one of the most shameless party hacks around. trump threatened to illegally withhold funds appropriated by congress to exhort a foreign power to sabotage our next election in his favor. if that's not impeachable then nothing is. every single republican knows that if barack obama had done that then they'd be calling for his head. indeed, republicans actually impeached bill clinton for much less.

Newsjunkie39a

The Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 4 states that "The President . . . shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, BRIBERY, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. "

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines a bribe as "money or favor given or promised to to a person in a position of trust to influence his judgment or conduct."

Persons who profess this is inapplicable may still want to consider whether extortion, witness tampering, or witness intimidation constitute "high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Gracie02

Try to get 21 other GOP or Independent Senators to go along with that... good luck..

Gracie02

It comes down to math HT... 46 Dem Senators...need 67 votes to Impeach...where are they going to come from? No way anyone from the GOP is showing any sign of budging ... and 21 votes have to come from somewhere.. They'll vote along party lines in the House...it's DOA in the Senate..

hermit thrush

so?

Gracie02

So?? 21 GOP Senate votes is everything! "To convict an accused, "the concurrence of two thirds of the [Senators] present" for at least one article is required. If there is no single charge commanding a "guilty" vote of two-thirds majority of the senators present, the defendant is acquitted and no punishment is imposed. " Impeachment is DOA in the Senate... I'm not a POTUS fan, but I just can't get excited about the process knowing that... All you'll hear is "it was stupid but not impeachable" from the GOP... So they'll prove he lied, don't they all?

hermit thrush

democrats can't abandon their agency just because republicans obstinately refuse to do the right thing.

and you can ask president al gore about how the politics of impeaching bill clinton worked out.

hermit thrush

to come at basically the same point from a slightly different angle -- democrats just beat an incumbent republican governor in kentucky. a state trump won by 30 points. democrats just held onto the governorship in louisiana. a state trump won by 20 points. in both cases, trump actively campaigned for the republican. he staked himself on the race. he told the voters to vote as though they were voting for him. he explicitly framed the races in terms of a rebuke to impeachment.

and look how it turned out.

impeachment is the right thing on the merits. the evidence we have so far is that it's a good thing in practice. tell me again what's wrong with it?

Gracie02

Side note..apparently with WDT's great new format...you can't reply directly to a comment on some...another check in the negative column for this paper and "improved website".. grrr..

Re - Benefits of the proceedings... effects on off year elections... certainly may have some merit...although the Dems gained 41 seats in the 2018 election before the impeachment started..Using the proceeding to affect an election(s)....versus impeachment... is what I have a issue with... If the goal of the proceedings is to impeach POTUS... chance of that is less than zero...

Noting Clinton's popularity went up after his proceedings... which again had zero chance of success, and that was when Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich lead congress..

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