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Thomas Gallatin / Jan. 28, 2020

Impeachment Trial Day 6: No Impeachable Offenses

Trump's defense team argues that even Democrats' wild allegations aren't impeachable offenses.

As Democrats and the Leftmedia seek to inflate and conflate the leaked excerpts from John Bolton’s soon-to-be-published book into some kind of smoking gun of an impeachable offense, the actual evidence for what did and did not occur stubbornly refutes that impeachment narrative. This was the crux of the argument made by President Donald Trump’s defense team in its second day before the Senate.

The House Democrats’ argument for convicting Trump is based on a narrative of their own creation. They argue that Trump placed a hold on $400 million in aid to Ukraine to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky into “digging up dirt” or at least announcing an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. They contend that in so doing Trump abused the power of the presidency for his own personal benefit — thus he was somehow attempting to rig the 2020 election. (Kind of like what Hillary Clinton actually did to Trump in 2016, but we digress.) Their “evidence” for Trump’s corruption is an alleged quid pro quo … that never happened. To put it bluntly, Democrats have impeached Trump over his supposed motives for something that did not happen. Thought crimes.

After the obviously timed Bolton curveball, the Trump defense team responded directly and effectively. “Nothing in the Bolton manuscript would rise to the level of an abuse of power or impeachable offense,” stated Alan Dershowitz. “That is clear from history. That is clear from the language of the Constitution. You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like quid pro quo and personal benefit. It is inconceivable that the Framers would have intended so politically loaded and promiscuously deployed a term as ‘abuse of power’ to be weaponized as a tool of impeachment. It is precisely the kind of vague, open-ended, and suggestive term that the Framers feared and rejected.”

The president’s defense team also disputed the Democrats’ assertion that Trump’s motive for wanting Ukraine to open investigations was not concern over corruption but pure intent to benefit his 2020 campaign. “The president wasn’t ‘caught,’ as the House managers allege. The managers are wrong,” Deputy White House Counsel Mike Purpura stated. “All of this … demonstrates that there was no connection between security assistance and investigation.”

Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal lawyer, pointedly noted, “Asking a foreign leader to get to the bottom of issues of corruption is not a violation of an oath.” And regarding the questions of corruption surrounding the Bidens, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi highlighted the litany of instances in which numerous individuals both within the mainstream media and even the Obama administration raised red flags. She also observed, “Every witness who was asked about Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma agreed there was a potential appearance of conflict.” She further noted, “The House managers talked about 400 times, but they never gave you the full picture. Here are those who did: The United Kingdom Serious Fraud Unit, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, … ‘ABC Good Morning America,’ The Washington Post, The New York Times, Ukrainian law enforcement, and the Obama State Department itself. They all thought there was cause to raise the issue about the Bidens and Burisma.”

Ken Starr warned against allowing the precedent of so grossly politicizing impeachment: “We are living in what can aptly be described as the age of impeachment. In the House, resolution after resolution, month after month, has called for the president’s impeachment. How did we get here? … Presidential impeachment has become a weapon to be wielded against one’s political opponent.” Meanwhile, the Democrats’ argument that Trump’s refusal to give documents and witnesses to the House equated to obstruction of Congress is actually evidence of a “runaway House,” Starr insisted. “If there is a dispute between the people’s House and the president of the United States over the availability of documents or witnesses, and there is in each and every administration — then go to court. It really is as simple as that.”

Finally, due to the leaked Bolton manuscripts, it now appears more likely that a sufficient number of Senate Republicans will vote to call witnesses. However, this also gives Republicans an opening to call witnesses Democrats vehemently objected to, such as Hunter Biden and the whistleblower. The timed Bolton leak has put Republicans in a tough spot, but Democrats may ultimately regret opening Pandora’s Box.

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