Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
Since the first public testimony is scheduled for day after tomorrow, this ia a good time to look at the positions taken TO DATE by the Democrats and Republicans with regard to the impeachment of President Trump.
1 DEMOCRATS.The basic position of the proponents (Democrats) is that the President abused his office as President by asking in a telephone call with the President of Ukraine for a personal favor that would benefit his 2020 presidential campaign in return for the release of some $400 million in military aid that had been authorized by Congress but not released by the President. The favor asked had two elements; (a) that the Ukrainian government investigate any possible corruption on the part of Hunter Biden as a Board member of a corporation called Barisma, or otherwise, or any corruption by former Vice-President Joe Biden; and (b) that the Ukrainian government investigate allegations that the Ukrainians, instead of the Russians, interfered with the 2016 presidential election and that the server with the missing Hilary Clinton emails was in Ukraine. The proponents are presenting the request for a favor as a quid pro quo – no investigation, no aid and no meeting between Trump and Zelensky. The military aid in question was authorized by Congress in May, held up at the direction of the President prior to but at the time of the phone call with President Zelensky of the Ukraine in July and not released until after the initial whistle blower’s complaint was made public in September. The Democrats may also allege obstruction of Congress based on the President’s refusal to allow members of the White House staff and other key officials such as Secretary of State Pompeo, former National Security Adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney to testify.
2. REPUBLICANS. The Republicans have advanced several different responses/defenses to the charges. They include: (a) there was no quid pro quo; (b) even if there was a quid pro quo, so what; it happens all the time. It is a normal method of negotiation between heads of state; (c) no laws were broken; (d) President Zelensky has said he did not feel under any pressure to do the favor; (e) Ukraine did receive the military aid; (f) President Trump was trying to insure that the military aid would not be wasted because of corruption in Ukraine instead of getting help with his re-election effort; (g) asking the head of state of another country for a favor is not an impeachable offense; (h) the Ukrainians did not conduct any investigation; (i) the Democrats are engaging in a “witch hunt” fueled by Deep State career bureaucrats that hate Trump; (j) the Democrats are trying to over-turn the results of the 2016 election; and (k) it was all Giuliani’s doing.
Harkening back to the previous post, IMPEACHMENT: A PRIMER, according to no less an authority than Alexander Hamilton, impeachment is essentially political, not legal. Given the political reality that the Democrats have a substantial majority in the House of Representatives where it only takes a bare majority to impeach a president, it is all but assured that President Trump will be impeached. However, the reality shifts in the Senate where it takes 2/3rds ot those present and voting to remove a President from office. The Republicans have a slim majority in the Senate; 20 Republican Senators would have to vote for removal for President Trump to be removed from office. Highly unlikely based on what is known today.
So, a question for consideration is What is the benefit to the Country to impeach a president and divide the country even further when the chance of actual removal are remote? Might there be a different path to follow?