Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
REMEMBER: A. Impeachment is NOT removal from office.
. B. An impeachable offense is what half plus one of the members of the House of Representatives say it is.
C. Impeachment is more a political process than an legal one.
The House Intelligence Committee has completed its investigation and sent its report to the House Judiciary Committee. No Republicans on the Intelligence Committee voted in favor of the report prepared exclusively by the Democrats. The Republicans prepared their own report which was also forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee.
The Judiciary Committee has called a public hearing for tomorrow, Wednesday, December 4, 2019. Four constitutional scholars will be testifying – three called by the Democrats and one by the Republicans.They will be presenting their views on whether or not the acts by the President constitute an impeachable offense. It will be interesting to see on what they base their respective opinions; since only two presidents have been formally impeached (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton), there is not a lot of actual precedent to rely upon. I would expect that the witnesses called by the Democrats will find that the President‘s act do constitute an impeachable offense; the Republican witness probably will disagree with that conclusion. President Trump was invited to send his attorneys to the hearing to ask questions but the White House declined to participate in what they call an “illegal, unconstitutional effort to overturn the results of the 2016 election”. The President has also been given until Friday, December 6, 2019, to decide if he will participate in any of the impeachment proceedings.
It is unclear whether or not the Judiciary Committee will have more public testimony or closed door depositions or rely exclusively on the report and voluminous documentary. evidence sent over from the Intelligence Committee. A tentative schedule that has been suggested is that the Judiciary Committee will vote on Articles of Impeachment on December 12, and forward any that receive a majority affirmative vote to the full House. The full House would then vote on December 16; any Articles that receive the affirmative vote of half plus of one those voting would then be forwarded to the Senate for the trial. It is unlikely that any trial would be this year.
I find it puzzling that the Democrats schedule for their first (and possibly only) public. hearing a discussion on what constitutes an impeachable offense. This is not a strictly legal proceeding; the rules of evidence on such things as hearsay do not apply. The conclusions by the experts will not sway the votes of any members of Congress, either Representatives or Senators, or public opinion. All of us remember the stirring words of the Declaration of Independence . – “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, etc.”. Those words only make up a small part of the Declaration. The remainder is dedicated to a list of offenses and abridgment of rights by King George III. – “to prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid World” I believe that the Democrats scheduled this hearing to justify by scholarly sentiment their actions in bringing these impeachment proceedings.. Won’t work.
I hold to my original prediction – impeachment but no removal. Despite the loud and strenuous objections by the Republicans, President Trump will go down in history stained by the black mark of impeachment. However, since the case being put forth by the Democrats is, to a certain extent, a purely intellectual one, it would not surprise me if a few Democrats – mostly those who were elected in districts that voted heavily for President Trump in 2016 – voted against impeachment in search of the Holy Grail of re-election. The President will still be impeached but by less than a unanimous Democrat majority.