Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
FACT: Donald J. Trump is the third President of the United States to be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors”.
FACT: Donald J. Trump is the third President of the United States to be impeached but not removed from office.
!. President Donald J. Trump – Acquitted on both Articles of Impeachment by a vote of 52-48 on Article I and a vote of 53-47 on Article II.
2. Tribalism – despite several Republican senators voicing concerns over the President’s actions towards Ukraine and the suspended military aid, only one Senator voted to convict the President on Article I. The lure of the tribe of Trump and the possible adverse electoral consequences kept all others safely on the Trump reservation. Likewise, all the Democrats in the Senate and in the House voted in favor of both Articles
3. The President’s defense team – the Pelosi pause worked to their benefit. Given over 30 days to analyze the Articles, the Democrats evidence and the temperature of the Senate, they masterfully devised responses to all the allegations and responded creatively and forcefully to all the House charges and evidence.
4. Rudy Giuliani – the President’s personal lawyer, despite being prominently mentioned in the Ukraine affairs, managed to virtually disappear from the testimony and evidence.
5. The Civil Servants – they courageously stood up and testified openly as to what they heard, what they saw and were told and the conclusions they drew from what they heard and saw based on their expertise. (They knew they would pay a high price for their courage and they are; witness Colonel Vindman being fired from his position on the National Security Council and escorted from the White House grounds the same day.)
1. Nancy Pelosi – widely respected as a master tactician firmly in control of the Democrat caucus in the House, Speaker Pelosi was forced into initiating impeachment proceedings by the radicals in her caucus, placed the proceedings into a truncated time line because of the impending primaries, and held the actual Articles “captive” in a futile and ill-advised effort to force Mitch McConnell into agreeing to have live witnesses during the Senate trial.
2. House Democrats – like the Hussars in the Charge of the Light Brigade, the Democrats bravely went into battle in the Senate, armed with their Articles and their incomplete evidence, and, while not actually annihilated, were soundly defeated.
3. The Nation – this futile effort to exercise the remedy provided by the Constitution for removing a President from office only served to further widen the chasm that divides our political tribes. How can we ever expect and enjoy bipartisan,lasting solutions to the problems facing America after this name-calling, rock-throwing alley fight?
4. The Constitution – not only did this effort to remove the President, doomed from the inception, weaken the constitutional safeguard provided by impeachment, it also served to enhance the domination of the Executive branch over the Legislative branch. Regardless of the merits of the charges, the Democrats were severely hampered by the blanket refusal of the President to permit current and former key officials to testify and the refusal to turn over documents that bore on the charges, some of which later were made public. Executive privilege, which is not a codified legal privilege like the doctor-patient privilege, is not intended to shield the Executive branch from wrongdoing.
One final note – PROFILES IN COURAGE – Senator Mitt Romney. Despite crushing pressure from his own political party, Senator Romney, after consulting the legal and historic texts and asking wisdom from his Maker (as many of us do when called upon to make difficult choices), stood up and voted his conscience.