Marc Scaringi: There Is No 'Official Impeachment Inquiry,' It's All a Façade
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of an “official impeachment inquiry” to be undertaken by the U.S. House of Representatives is a façade. There’s nothing behind it.
Pelosi called a news conference to make her big announcement. After spending a few minutes quoting our Founding Fathers, extolling the virtues of the U.S. Constitution and the importance of our national security, and then declaring that President Trump is subverting all of the above, Pelosi finally got to the point: “Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
Wow! The House is impeaching the president. This is historic. Well, no, it turns out that’s not the case. In her very next sentence, she declared, “I am directing our six Committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.”
With the entire nation watching, Pelosi stepped up to the television cameras and boldly announced that the House Committees should continue doing what they’re doing. But, contrary to Pelosi’s declaration, they’re not impeaching the president.
In order to formally initiate an impeachment “inquiry” or investigation, the House of Representatives must pass a resolution or bill setting forth the various charges which they believe present a case for impeachment. It’s similar to a grand jury indictment. The prosecutor presents a bill of charges to the grand jury and it decides whether to indict.
None of that has happened here. A news conference is not a bill of impeachment. Rhetoric is not legal process.
But what of the rhetorical “charges” Pelosi laid out against the president? She said, “press reports began to break of a phone call by the President of the United States calling upon a foreign power to intervene in his election. This is a breach of his constitutional responsibilities.” That’s false.
Trump requesting that a foreign government investigate credible allegations of corruption involving former vice president Joe Biden is not an intervention in his election or a breach of his constitutional responsibilities. And, by the way, there is no election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
On the contrary, the president is carrying out his constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Biden himself admitted that he threatened to pull $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars from Ukraine unless it fired the chief prosecutor who was at that time investigating Biden’s son, Hunter, and the company, Burisma Holdings, LLC, that he governed.
Knowing this any U.S. president is required to investigate whether the Bidens violated U.S. law. That’s the president’s job as our chief law enforcement officer. It’s irrelevant if Biden hopes to run for president against Trump. Biden does not get a “get out of jail free card” because he’s a political opponent of the president.
Further, Pelosi also stated the U.S. Intelligence Community Inspector General informed the House Intelligence Committee that “the Acting Director of National Intelligence blocked him from disclosing the whistleblower complaint. This is a violation of the law.”
Pelosi might be technically correct; the Acting Director may have violated the whistleblower statute. He did not forward the complaint to the congressional committees by the deadline. But he had good reason; the Justice Department stopped him.
It was concerned the complaint did not satisfy the statutory requirements and contained classified information subject to executive privilege. Nevertheless, the Trump administration has now agreed to provide the complaint. This brief delay is certainly not a crime let alone a “high crime and misdemeanor” of the kind envisioned by the Framers of our Constitution, which is the sine qua non of any impeachment.
Later in her remarks, Pelosi said, “And this week, the president has admitted to asking the President of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit [Trump] politically” and she calls that, “a betrayal of [the president’s] oath of office…”
As explained above, the president is carrying out his oath of office by investigating the Bidens for corruption. Further, most everything an elected official does he does in part to benefit himself politically. Speaker Pelosi announced this “impeachment inquiry” to benefit herself politically — she needs to placate the more extremist wing of her Democratic Party who are demanding Trump’s immediate impeachment.
In short, Pelosi’s “impeachment inquiry” is a fraud — she hasn’t done what she claims. But what she is doing is damaging the presidency. With her treats to impeach, she caused the president to release a transcript of his telephone call with the Ukrainian president, which although it exonerates Trump of any wrongdoing, it jeopardizes his ability to conduct foreign policy.
Now the president and every foreign leader with whom he speaks will be reluctant to talk openly and candidly about issues of national importance out of fear the contents of their call will appear on the front page of The New Times just like the Trump-Zelensky call did.
It’s Pelosi who is violating her oath of office to defend the Constitution. She’s usurping the president’s constitutional duty to conduct foreign policy and trying to interfere in his effort to enforce U.S. law.
Perhaps the House Republicans should introduce a bill to expel Pelosi from office. That would certainly reassure our Founders such as Benjamin Franklin, who said we’ve given you, “a Republic, if you can keep it.”
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