Articles of Impeachment Violate the Constitution

Jan 22, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The two articles of impeachment approved by House Democrats against President Donald Trump clearly violate the Constitution and set a dangerous partisan precedent. 

The Constitution limits impeachment to cases of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The Framers thus restrict impeachment to specific offense against known and established law. The two articles of impeachment do not meet the Constitutional standard. Instead, the first article alleges “abuse of power” and the second one alleges “obstruction of Congress,” neither of which are impeachable. 

The first article fails to state an impeachable offense as President Trump has not abused the powers of his position and it alleges no crime or violation of law as required by the Constitution. President Trump’s actions on the April 2019 and the July 2019 telephone calls were constitutional, perfectly legal, and done in the best interest of the nation. 

In his response to the impeachment accusations, President Trump stated four reasons why the first article must be rejected: 

“First, the transcripts of both the April 21 call and the July 25 call make absolutely clear that the President did nothing wrong. Second. President Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly confirmed that the call was ‘good’ and ‘normal,’ that there was no quid pro quo, and that no one pressured them on anything. Third, the two individuals who have stated for the record that they spoke to the President about the subject actually exonerate him. And fourth, the bilateral presidential meeting took place in the ordinary course, and the security assistance was sent, all without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations.” 

The House Democrats’ “abuse of power” claim will do lasting damage to the separation of powers under the Constitution. Impeachment was never meant to allow one partisan party to impeach the President over political disagreement.

The second article of impeachment also fails to state an impeachable offense. It does not allege any crime or violation of law and, in fact, claims a so-called “obstruction of Congress.” Here, the allegation is that President Trump sought relief in the courts to challenge unlawful subpoenas issued by a House Committee. Before any impeachment process can begin, and thus any subpoenas issued, the full House must vote to begin the impeachment inquiry. The committee had no authority to act weeks before the House voted. President Trump was acting on advice by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Affairs and based on established precedent that the subpoenas were invalid. Tellingly, when the subpoenas were challenged in court, the House Committee withdrew them. 

House Democrat Chairman of Judiciary Jerrold Nadler, said in 1998 “The use of a legal privilege is not illegal or impeachable by itself….” 

Nadler also once stated having the votes and having the muscle without “the legitimacy of a national consensus” is just an attempted “partisan coup d’etat.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated an impeachment “would have to be so clearly bipartisan in terms of acceptance of it.” Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy stated “A partisan impeachment cannot command the respect of the American people. It is no more valid than a stolen election.” 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The House Democrat articles of impeachment make a mockery of the Constitution and set a dangerous precedent. An impeachment of a sitting president is a serious matter and is limited to specific known legal violation. A partisan impeachment, which this clearly is, that fails to cite impeachment offenses under the Constitution would allow any majority party to use this death sentence to undermine the election of a president and the will of the people.” 

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