Republicans and Democrats both in Washington DC and across the battlefields of social media are debating about impeachment witnesses for the Senate trial. Democrats want certain witnesses but believe others, such as Hunter Biden and alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella, are off limits. Most Republicans want no witnesses, but a handful are arguing that certain people should be heard from in order to do a thorough job of holding an impeachment trial. Then, you have those who want the whole thing blown up with numerous witnesses on both sides of the aisle that will expose half of DC and drag the proceedings out for months.
In reality, this is all a result of the haphazard way House Democrats went about holding their impeachment investigation and hearing. They were in such a rush to get the vote in before Christmas, then suddenly in “hurry up and wait” mode after the vote for Articles of Impeachment was complete. Instead of building a strong case across several months, they burned through just enough hearings to claim to be thorough and put forth the weakest Articles of Impeachment in history. That’s saying a lot considering President Clinton’s Articles were feeble. At least he committed a demonstrable crime. President Trump has not.
It is within the basis for the Articles of Impeachment that we have the definitive answer about which witnesses need to be called. It all starts with one: Jonathan Turley. He already appeared before the House Judiciary Committee and gave scathing testimony about the premise for impeachment in the first place. He described how the bar was being set so low for impeachment, nearly anything can be used as the basis for either party with a House majority to take down an opposition president.
This is where the trial should begin. It’s not a question of whether or not the President did what the Articles contend he did until we establish that what he’s being accused of reaches the high bar set forth by our founders. They did not want impeachment to become a political tool, and neither should any American. But that’s exactly what it has become.
Democrats rushed impeachment through the House and want things slowed down in the Senate.
They wouldn't allow Republicans to have witnesses but demand that they get their witnesses in the trial.
If mainstream media were honest, they'd be pointing out these inconsistencies.
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) January 16, 2020
Some would argue Republicans drew first blood against Clinton in 1998, but again it must be pointed out that he admitted to committing a crime. House Democrats have only third-person references to the potential for a possible crime in “Abuse of Power,” and their claim of “Obstruction of Congress” is ludicrous prima facie.
Very relevant to today. Professor Jonathan Turley to House Democrats, 12/4/19:
"If you impeach a president… out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. It’s YOUR abuse of power.”
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 15, 2020
Turley (or someone like him) should be called as the first and potentially only witness. If he acknowledges that the charges against the President do not reach the bar of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and House managers are not able to make a solid case refuting the testimony, then we’re done. Case closed. The defense rests. Let’s vote.
If House Democrats make a valid case that the charges are not only impeachable but grounds for removal of the President of the United States, then the Senate can move forward with debate about other witnesses. That should sound fair to both sides because if these charges are not worthy of removing a sitting president, there’s no need to prove or disprove the charges at all.
Somewhere along the lines, this basic concept was lost in the minutia. That’s why Turley is the right guy to ask. He has the knowledge and the credentials. He is not a supporter of President Trump and didn’t vote for him in 2016. He understands the Constitution as well as anyone on the bench. Politically, he’s as neutral as one can be while still comprehending the Constitution to its core.
The fundamental question that must be answered first is whether or not the Articles of Impeachment demonstrate high crimes and misdemeanors. If not, everything else is window dressing and the trial should be ended immediately.