Category: Congress

Do The Democrats Really Want Unity?

Below is my column in the Hill on the increasingly divisive rhetoric and actions taken on Capitol Hill. Rather than plot a course to between greater unity, many are seeking to muscle through extreme measures that will only further aggravate and deepen our divisions.  The media from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times have run editorials encouraging aggressive moves to secure control of the Senate, including the ending of the filibuster. That move would make every vote a muscle play — producing sweeping changes in a country that is clearly divided and seeking political compromise.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Do The Democrats Really Want Unity?”

“Aid and Comfort” To the Enemy: Speaker Pelosi Ramps Up Attacks On Republican Colleagues Amidst Calls For Expulsions

Speaker Nancy Pelosi ramped up the attacks on members of her own house this week, accusing them of giving “aid and comfort” to those who want to destroy the nation.  The comments came after Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., denied a public accusation by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., that she personally took rioters around the capitol for a tour before the attack on January 6th.  Boebert pointed out that the “rioters” were her family members and she has never given such tours. Rather than encouraging colleagues to avoid baseless and inflammatory accusations pending review of what occurred on January 6th, Pelosi threw gasoline on the fire and accused her colleagues of giving “aid and comfort” to those who were trying to destroy the Constitution and the country.  It is, in my view, another failure of leadership by the Speaker in her duties to the institution as a whole. Continue reading ““Aid and Comfort” To the Enemy: Speaker Pelosi Ramps Up Attacks On Republican Colleagues Amidst Calls For Expulsions”

The Case Against Retroactive Impeachment Trials: A Response To The Open Letter Of Scholars

This week, a group of scholars wrote an open letter endorsing the constitutional basis for trying former President Donald Trump in a retroactive impeachment trial. The letter contains many individuals who I know and respect. I encourage you to read their case for such retroactive impeachment. As I have said in every column and posting on this subject, this is a close question upon which people of good-faith can disagree.  However, I would like to respond to the letter and offer a countervailing view. Continue reading “The Case Against Retroactive Impeachment Trials: A Response To The Open Letter Of Scholars”

“Everybody’s Mistakes Except My Own”: Trump’s Final Pardon List Offers A Telling Reflection On His Legacy

I can pardon everybody’s mistakes except my own.” Those words of Cato of Elder have long been the principle guiding presidents who have resisted the temptation of issuing themselves self-pardons.  There have been ample abuses of this power, but that is one dishonor that presidents have spared the country. Despite predictions by many in the media, Trump left office without adding that ignoble distinction. He did not grant clemency to himself, his family, or close associates like Rudy Giuliani. What is so telling is that we are so shellshocked from the last four years that this act of restraint was a reason for celebration and praise.  Notably, the lack of the self-pardon might not be a welcomed by critics as it may appear. There is now no impediment to a charge for incitement, a much-touted possible charge that some of us believe would fail ultimately in the courts on either the trial or appellate levels.

Continue reading ““Everybody’s Mistakes Except My Own”: Trump’s Final Pardon List Offers A Telling Reflection On His Legacy”

Warren Hastings and the Historical Basis for Retroactive Impeachments [Updated]

It sometimes seems that every impeachment road leads back to Warren Hastings.  Previously, I wrote about Hastings in addressing the bribery theories being voiced by Democratic leaders and legal experts in the first Trump impeachment. Now Hastings is back as a historical precedent for the impeachment of former officials.  As I have repeatedly in virtually every interview since the second Trump impeachment, there are good-faith arguments on the use of impeachment for former officials. However, Hastings is not particularly strong precedent beyond the obvious point that impeachment was used retroactively in Great Britain. Continue reading “Warren Hastings and the Historical Basis for Retroactive Impeachments [Updated]”

The No-Show Option: Trump Could Sit Out The Senate Trial And Still Prevail

Below is my column in the Hill on why President Donald Trump might want to consider skipping the upcoming Senate trial. This is an expanded version of that column. Rumors continue to suggest that Trump is considering Rudy Giuliani as counsel — a role that would be viewed as open contempt to the Senate and, as Karl Rove noted, would increase the chances of a conviction.  There is a better defense: no defense.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “The No-Show Option: Trump Could Sit Out The Senate Trial And Still Prevail”

Being Blount: The First Impeachment May Offer The Best Defense For Trump

If American politics shows anything, it is that enmity, not necessity is the mother of invention.

Many continue to feel rage over the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. I condemned the speech of President Donald Trump when it was still being given and opposed the challenge to the electoral votes. However, it is the future of the Constitution, not Donald Trump, that most concerns me as the Senate is about to try to remove a president who has already left office. Continue reading “Being Blount: The First Impeachment May Offer The Best Defense For Trump”

The Senate’s Cadaver Synod: The Trial Of Citizen Trump Would Raise Serious Constitutional Questions

Below is my column in USA Today on the upcoming Senate trial of President Donald Trump. The Hill recently my second column on why the best defense of Trump could be no defense — to skip the Senate trial and force a threshold vote on the constitutionality of the trial of an ex-president.

Here is my column: Continue reading “The Senate’s Cadaver Synod: The Trial Of Citizen Trump Would Raise Serious Constitutional Questions”

Georgia Rep Pledges To File Articles of Impeachment Against Joe Biden

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a newly elected Republican member from Georgia who pledged yesterday that “On January 21, 2021, I’ll be filing Articles of Impeachment against Joe Biden for abuse of power.”  That is precisely what I criticized Democrats for doing in challenging the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election starting on the inauguration and raising repeated demands for impeachment for acts ranging from his criticism of NFL kneelers to his inflammatory tweets. It was wrong for them and it is wrong of Greene and any other Republicans who want to engage in this type of retaliatory impeachment effort.

Continue reading “Georgia Rep Pledges To File Articles of Impeachment Against Joe Biden”

President Donald Trump Impeached For Second Time

U.S. House of Representatives

With the entry of the 217th vote, the House of Representatives have impeached President Donald Trump for a second time. As I have previously stated, my primary objection to this action is the use of a snap impeachment that dispenses with the traditional hearing or inquiry of impeachment. There was no opportunity to debate the language or the implications of the language. Indeed, the House gave the President a threshold challenge based on this process. With the addition of a possible trial after Trump leaves office, the rush to judgment could become a parade of constitutional horribles.  The use of impeachment to “remove” a president who has already left office is ripe for challenge on the Senate floor and even later in the federal courts.

Continue reading “President Donald Trump Impeached For Second Time”

Democratic Member Accuses Colleagues Of Conducting “Surveillance” For Capitol Rioters

As reported by Newsweek, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D., N.J.) has gone public with an extraordinary allegation against some of her colleagues that they conducted secret surveillance in a conspiracy with rioters at the Capitol. If true, those members could be criminally charged and expelled from the House. Conversely, if Sherrill has no such evidence, she could (and should) face a resolution of censure or resolution.

Continue reading “Democratic Member Accuses Colleagues Of Conducting “Surveillance” For Capitol Rioters”

Pelosi Names Eric Swalwell As House Impeachment Manager

Speaker Nancy Pelosi shocked many in Washington by appointing Eric Swalwell as a house managers in the impeachment of President Donald Trump as he continues to face calls for his removal from the House Intelligence Committee due to his alleged intimate relationship with a Chinese spy.  Swalwell has been bunkered down to avoid questions from the media and the public, but he will now be one of those prosecuting the case against the President.

Continue reading “Pelosi Names Eric Swalwell As House Impeachment Manager”

How A Snap Impeachment Could Shatter Our Constitutional Balance

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on my concerns over the planned “snap impeachment” this year.  In my view, impeaching on the speech alone would raise serious concerns over the use of impeachment in the future. Many Democrats, including members of Congress, refused to accept Trump as the legitimate president when he was elected and refused to do so as rioting broke out at the inauguration.  Many of the same members have used the same type of rhetoric to “take back the country” and “fight for the country.”  The concern is that this impeachment will not only create precedent for an expedited pathway of “snap impeachments” but allow future Congresses to impeach presidents for actions of their supporters.  The point of this column is to call for greater caution and deliberation before we take this step to consider the basis and implications of this impeachment.  As with the calls to use the 25th Amendment, there are real dangers to any opportunistic or hurried use of this option.  There is also the alternative of a joint and bipartisan condemnation of both houses, which would be both justified and unassailable.

As I have said, there could be evidence to support impeachment on the proposed incitement article but it would have to be found before or after the speech to show an intent to spark rioting or to allow it to continue.  As with the 25th Amendment claim, such evidence would be found from within the White House and through a traditional impeachment inquiry.

Here is the column: Continue reading “How A Snap Impeachment Could Shatter Our Constitutional Balance”

Be Careful With The 25th Amendment

Below is my column in USA Today on the call to use the 25th Amendment to “remove” President Donald Trump. As a threshold matter, the 25th Amendment does not “remove” a president but rather shifts his powers to the Vice President. The only method for removal of a president from office is impeachment. The 25th Amendment refers to the Vice President as “acting” in his capacity.  However, “removal” is a common way of expressing the substitution under the 25th Amendment. The main problem is not the nomenclature but the standard. Section 4 actions under the amendment are designed for physical or mental incapacities. Such evidence may exist but it has not been disclosed. Vice President Mike Pence would need to disclose such evidence of mental illness or irrationality in the President. The speech alone is not a basis for a 25th Amendment “removal.”

This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to call for the invocation of the 25th Amendment or impeachment as alternative courses of action.  She and others have expressed a preference for the 25th Amendment due to the limited time remaining before President Trump leaves office.  However, neither time nor the text for a 25th Amendment action is supportive in this effort. More importantly, without such clear evidence of mental incapacity, the use of the 25th Amendment could introduce even greater instability in our system.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Be Careful With The 25th Amendment”

A Crisis Of Faith: Why We Should Be Worried More About A Desecration Than An Insurrection

Below is my column in the Hill on the riot at Congress and its implications for our country.  As shown by the unfounded rush for a “snap impeachment,” we are experiencing a crisis of faith in this country — not only in our Constitution but ourselves.  Pushing for a snap vote (and snap judgment) on these issues will only exacerbate our divisions. This is a time for deliberative, not impulsive, action in Congress.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “A Crisis Of Faith: Why We Should Be Worried More About A Desecration Than An Insurrection”