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Use the Other Political Process

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

We should be able to objectively acknowledge the Democrats are rushing impeachment. They are. The impeachment of Richard Nixon took months just to investigate. The impeachment of Bill Clinton was based on a multiyear independent counsel investigation. This is a few weeks of Rep. Adam Schiff coordinating with a whistleblower behind closed doors, and now the spotlight is on a year-end rush to get the articles of impeachment drafted.

A trial will come at the beginning of next year. The election is less than a year away. Democrats in the Senate will be forced to miss campaign time for Iowa and New Hampshire.

Friends who really feel strongly will tell me the rule of law matters, but this is a political process. It is not a court of law process. If it were really about the rule of law, Democrats would not be in a rush to justice. They would be methodical.

In fact, we are in a funny game where Republicans say we need to hear from the original accuser: the whistleblower. The president has the right to face his accuser in a due process system. Democrats tell us that this is not a judicial process or a criminal process; it is a political process. They have plenty of other firsthand witnesses.

But then the Democrats turn around and say, with gusto, "If this isn't impeachable, nothing is." That's the impeachment argument equivalent of, "A vote for a third party is a vote for the guy I want to lose."

Only Andrew Johnson was impeached in an election year, and it is pretty clear from the history of that impeachment that it is not really apt to the present situation. Nixon and Clinton were impeached outside election years. Given the political nature of impeachment, I find it quite reasonable that something could be impeachable in 2018 or 2019 but not impeachable less than 365 days from the general election. In politics and political processes, timing matters. Let the voters decide.

Impeachment seems foolhardy and will become a more divisive issue in an already bitterly divided nation. Republicans, even the 19 who are departing the House of Representatives, are solidly with the president. Democrats are making no effort to persuade them or change other people's minds. The Democrats seem intent on forcing impeachment through, and all the people screaming are the people who never wanted the president elected. No minds have been changed.

Democrats have, since Trump won in 2016, treated him as an illegitimate usurper. The very people who hated him then still hate him today, and they have done nothing to earn the trust of those who might be inclined to side with them on this issue. Since Election Day in 2016, it has been abundantly obvious we would get to this point if the Democrats took back the House of Representatives. The whistleblower's lawyer, on January 30, 2017, just 10 days after the president's inauguration, tweeted, "#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately. #lawyers". How convenient he now represents a bureaucrat intent on bringing down the president.

This is a political issue. It is not a court of law issue. The Democrats in the House, who functionally serve as a grand jury, have been clamoring for this for years. They waited until they regained power and immediately began to act. The Senate Democrat jurors have been calling for impeachment for years. Some of these people have fundraised off the issue.

The president cannot get a fair trial because several of the Democrats have long been on record demanding his impeachment. But, you might say, this isn't a court, and the jurors are politicians in a political process.

Exactly, I say.

Elections are a political process, too. And clearly, this issue should be decided in that political process -- not one that half of America will view as the Democrats finally doing what they've been wanting to do for three years.

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