Wednesday 18 December 2019

Has Trump impeachment been a legitimate process—or partisan weapon?

I’ve never had much time for Ted Cruz from the time of the 2016 primaries, and had not time for his unhelpful intervention when he visited Hong Kong recently. But he’s a strong legal mind, who has argued nine cases before the US Supreme Court, and here gives the best explanation I’ve yet seen of the background to the Constitution’s article on impeachment.
Key point: Impeachment can be for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours”.  The catch-all at the end ("... other..."), after a list, legally means things that are similar in nature to the preceding list: in this case treason and bribery. “Abuse of power” or “obstruction of justice”, the two articles in the present impeachment, are not of the same order. Cause, perhaps in the UK context, for a Vote of No Confidence, in the US of a Censure motion. But not impeachment. 
Related: I’ve not bought the Democratic line about Joe and Hunter Biden that all they did in Ukraine was on the up-and-up, and the Democrats talking points that corruption “has been debunked”.  Really? Where was the investigation?
The way this impeachment has been prosecuted so far, it will become simply a partisan weapon to oust the party you don’t like, if you happen to control the House of Reps. A bad outcome.
By the way, for the Dems to say that it’s not political, they’re only following the Constitution, is patently absurd on the face of it. The very fact that every Democrat supports and every Republican  opposes, means it’s a purely political act not a matter of “constitutional principle”.