Breaking: Today’s Impeachment Hearing Ends Badly for Democrats, Today, the public-facing portion of House Democrats’ impeachment
inquiry witch hunt shifted from Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) Intelligence Committee to Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) Judiciary Committee. The law school professor witnesses, We the People were reliably informed beforehand, would be testifying about whether or not President Donald Trump’s conduct on the now-infamous July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky amounted to an impeachable offense. The three law school professors range from the outright leftist (Pamela Karlan and Noah Feldman) to the merely liberal/civil libertarian-leaning (Jonathan Turley).
It is not even remotely obvious why such a hearing is necessary or even helpful. On the contrary, the hearing is actually a monumental waste of time.
As I have noted countless times in both these columns and my weekly “Election Wire” newsletter (subscribe here!), the Constitution’s Framers quite helpfully explained for us exactly what they meant by the ostensibly obscure, but actually English common law-rooted phrase describing the broader ambit of offenses that might be deemed impeachable: “[H]igh crimes and misdemeanors.” As I explained last month:
Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution defines the jurisdiction of impeachable offenses as being “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” In using the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the Constitution’s Framers employed a well-known phrase with a rich history in the English common law tradition.
In The Federalist No. 65, Alexander Hamilton helpfully defines “high crimes and misdemeanors” as being “those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” By contrast, the men at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 expressly considered the much lower impeachment threshold of mere “maladministration” before deciding against it. Put another way, the Framers specifically deliberated the possibility of constitutionally permitting impeachment for something as trivial as a mere policy disagreement or partisan squabble before rejecting that possibility outright.
Why do we need three left-leaning law school professors — who, by definition of their ivory tower perches, all emanate from one of America’s leading institutional bastions of sclerotic and ideologically monolithic groupthink — to tell us something that no less a Founding Father luminary than Alexander Hamilton quite clearly told us himself? Why, for that matter, do we need weeks of subpoenas, depositions, and hearings to recount first-, second-, and third-hand accounts about a diplomatic phone call for which the transcript is … literally already public?
Indeed, virtually everything about the Democrats’ partisan impeachment pursuit is a sham. We already know that impeachment is an inherently political, and not criminal, process. We already knowthat, while the Framers rejected a lower “maladministration” standard for impeachment, they nonetheless left us a purposefully malleable political standard that implicitly relied upon independent-minded legislators exercising the contemporarily all-too rare virtue of prudence. Perhaps most importantly, we already know that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will be able to corral her troops to formally impeach the president around Christmas time, but that this hopeless stunt is destined for death on arrival upon its elevation to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Senate.