By Kenneth Tiven
The political rhetoric coming from America for the next three weeks—some would call it asymmetrical verbal warfare—will most certainly lead to Articles of Impeachment for President Donald Trump.
This is unlikely to dislodge him from office. Impeachment is a two-step affair. The Republican controlled 50-person Senate, which sits as a real court for impeachment articles voted by the lower House of Representatives, will resist convicting him. Because impeachment is an optional Constitutional requirement it is a political process. Today it is also an on-going media even nationally elected Republicans believe winning reelection is determined by the intensity of the Trump voters for whom facts and reality are non-existent factors. The backlash from impeachment, whatever its outcome, will be clear in the November 2020, presidential election: Will America remain a free world leader or become a Banana Republic.
Releasing a scathing 300-page report the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee concluded that Trump had “compromised national security to advance his personal political interests” and then engaged in an “unprecedented campaign” to prevent Congress from uncovering the truth.
In releasing it the chairpersons of the three committees involved said, “The President’s actions have damaged our national security, undermined the integrity of the next election, and violated his oath of office.” The Judiciary Committee not decides on Articles of Impeachment focused on obstruction of justice (cover-up of what happened) and abuse of power. Witness intimidation tactics figure in both charges.
House Republicans — as the minority political party— drafted a 123-page report that asserts that Democrats have failed in committee hearings to unearth evidence that Trump committed an impeachable offense in the Ukraine, where he and his lawyer sought negative information about Joe Biden.
Evidence cited in the GOP report strives to exonerate President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. However, the evidence clearly incriminates both men. It shows that Giuliani, operating under Trump’s authority, pressed Ukraine to serve Trump’s personal interests rather than the interests of the United States. The technical distinctions the GOP uses in its report are transparent.
The House Judiciary Committee drafts impeachment articles based on what the Intelligence Committee has sent them. Constitutional experts will testify about history, precedent and language. These hearings will be a noisy and rude battle of fact and fiction demonstrating America, like other great democracies, has collected an assortment of colorblind politicians. Consider, says the GOP, “The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system.”
Democrats point out the impeachment inquiry is an organic outgrowth of serious misconduct by Trump and his administration, not only in Ukraine, but also in dealings with Russia, Turkey and elsewhere.
The fight moves soon to the Senate, where the White House and its allies believe that the president will be acquitted by the Republican-controlled chamber.
A quick timeline suggests a formal impeachment will be in Trump’s Christmas stocking with the Senate taking it up in after New Year’s.
— The writer has worked in senior positions at The Washington Post, NBC, ABC and CNN and also consults for several Indian channels