Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of an “official impeachment inquiry” to be undertaken by the U.S. House of Representatives is a façade. There’s nothing behind it.
Wow! The House is impeaching the president. This is historic. Well, no, it turns out that’s not the case. In her very next sentence, she declared, “I am directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.”
That’s it. With the entire nation watching, Pelosi stepped up to the television cameras and boldly announced that the House committees should continue doing what they’re doing. But, contrary to Pelosi’s declaration, they’re not impeaching the president. In order to formally initiate an impeachment “inquiry” or investigation, the House of Representatives must pass a resolution or bill setting forth the various charges which they believe present a case for impeachment. It’s similar to a grand jury indictment. The prosecutor presents a bill of charges to the grand jury and it decides whether to indict. None of that has happened here. A news conference is not a bill of impeachment. Rhetoric is not legal process.
Trump requesting that a foreign government investigate credible allegations of corruption involving former vice president Joe Biden is not an intervention in his election or a breach of his constitutional responsibilities. And, by the way, there is no election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
On the contrary, the president is carrying out his constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed. . . ” Biden himself admitted that he threatened to pull $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars from Ukraine unless it fired the chief prosecutor who was at that time investigating Biden’s son, Hunter, and the company, Burisma Holdings, LLC, that he governed. Knowing this any U.S. president is required to investigate whether the Bidens violated U.S. law. That’s the president’s job as our chief law enforcement officer. It’s irrelevant if Joe Biden hopes to run for president against Trump. Biden does not get a “get out of jail free card” because he’s a political opponent of the president.
Further, Pelosi also stated the U.S. Intelligence Community Inspector General informed the House Intelligence Committee that “the Acting Director of National Intelligence blocked him from disclosing the whistleblower complaint. This is a violation of the law.”
Pelosi might be technically correct; the Acting Director may have violated the whistleblower statute. He did not forward the complaint to the congressional committees by the deadline. But he had good reason; the Justice Department stopped him. It was concerned the complaint did not satisfy the statutory requirements and contained classified information subject to executive privilege. Nevertheless, the Trump Administration has agreed to provide the complaint. This brief delay is certainly not a crime let alone a “high crime and misdemeanor” envisioned by the framers of our constitution, which is the sine qua non of any impeachment.
In short, Pelosi’s “impeachment inquiry” is a fraud. She hasn’t done what she claims. But she is damaging the presidency. With impeachment threats, she caused the president to release a transcript of his telephone call with the Ukrainian president, which although it exonerates Trump of any wrongdoing, it jeopardizes his ability to conduct foreign policy.
Now the president and every foreign leader with whom he speaks will be reluctant to talk openly and candidly about issues of national importance out of fear the contents of their call will appear on the front page of The New York Times just like the Trump-Zelensky call did.
It’s Pelosi who’s violating her oath of office to defend the constitution. She’s usurping the president’s constitutional duty to conduct foreign policy and trying to interfere in his effort to enforce U.S. law. Perhaps the House Republicans should introduce a bill to expel Pelosi from office. That would certainly reassure our founders such as Benjamin Franklin, who said we’ve given you, “a Republic, if you can keep it.”