The Senate Has a Nuclear Option on Impeachment — They Can Refuse to Take it Up


It’s assumed at this point that the impeachment of President Donald Trump is a fait accompli.

No matter what kind of exculpatory evidence might come out between now and the end of the impeachment inquiry, po-faced Democrats will all vote to deliver articles of impeachment to the Senate where, it’s assumed, a trial designed as an elaborate campaign advertisement will ensue.

However, this is all predicated on an assumption that may not actually come to pass. There’s a nuclear option that hasn’t yet been considered: What if there isn’t any trial?

That sounds counterintuitive. After all, if there’s an impeachment, there’s got to be a trial, right? Well, not exactly. Generally speaking, if you’re following the established procedure, that’s what happens.

But here’s the thing: None of this has followed the established procedure.

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The Democrats’ kangaroo court has been an insult to both courts and kangaroos. Republicans’ ability to ask questions was limited and they lacked subpoena power. The hearings were held behind closed doors and selective leaks were designed to give the impression that the evidence being given was far more damning than it actually was.

Now we have open hearings in the House, except the primary difference is that the thumbs are on the scales of justice publicly as opposed to privately. And you know what? Nobody in the media seems to particularly care.

So, about that nuclear option. If the de facto indictment is a joke, why even bother with a trial?

But the Senate has to take it up if the House chooses to impeach, right? Well, that’s not what the Constitution says.

Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution says, “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” Notice, however, it says nothing the Senate having to take up impeachment. From what we can infer, that’s at the sole discretion of the upper chamber.

That’s apparently the opinion of former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, who doesn’t think the Senate needs to take the issue up even if the House decides to impeach the president.

“Not only is it dead on arrival, there’s a risk that the Senate doesn’t even take it up as it is a completely partisan exercise where [there are] only Democrat witnesses, only Democrats’ votes, and Republicans’ rights to due process and fairness are not honored,” Whitaker told Fox News on Monday.

Whitaker made the remarks in response to South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s assertion that impeachment was “dead on arrival” if the original whistleblower didn’t testify.

“It’s impossible to bring this case forward in my view fairly without us knowing who the whistleblower is and having a chance to cross-examine them,” Graham, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said on “Fox News Sunday,” according to the Washington Times.

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As part of the rules for the public portion impeachment inquiry, Rep. Adam Schiff — the California Democrat who’s been the point man for the left on the proceedings — wrote in a letter to Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, that allowing the GOP to call the whistleblower would put his “personal safety at grave risk,” according to The Daily Caller.

The whistleblower’s background has been a subject of much contention; not only is he alleged to have a close working relationship with Joe Biden but reports have also surfaced that he had close ties with Democratic National Committee members involved in digging up dirt on possible connections between Donald Trump and Russia.

Do you think the Senate should take up impeachment?

Democrats, meanwhile, have called those reports unfounded and poorly sourced. But that’s an argument that can easily be made about the whole impeachment effort, which seems to be made up of a combination of hearsay “evidence” and Democratic hostility toward the Trump White House that goes back to even before the president was inaugurated.

So, does the case go to the Senate?

Whitaker makes a decent point: If this is a joke impeachment, why even give it the time of day? Treat the case with the same seriousness that the Democrats are doing.

This impeachment charade is nothing more than a ploy aimed at slanting the 2020 election. It should be treated as such.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture