For the first time in history, Home Democrats voted Wednesday night to impeach a duly-elected president of the United States without asserting a crime.
Rather, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., charged President Trump with an unclear “abuse of power” for apparently conditioning U.S. security support to Ukraine on an examination into previous Vice President Joe Biden’s child Hunter’s relationship with a corrupt Ukrainian energy business.
Pelosi was right when she mentioned earlier this year: “Impeachment is so divisive to the nation that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I do not believe we ought to decrease that path.”
In this case, the hurried and deeply problematic inquiry released by Democrats did not produce the clear proof or bipartisan support we should require for such an extraordinary measure.
As a previous federal prosecutor with the Public Stability Area of the Justice Department, I approached this inquiry with the same standards I would have used to any case. During six weeks of depositions, I listened vigilantly and looked for appropriate facts.
Nevertheless, the Democratic bulk, driven by a political timeline, insisted on a rush to judgment with an incomplete accurate record. Without talking to several people with firsthand knowledge, the Democrats went for speculation and innuendo.
Eventually, Democrats failed to prove President Trump connected U.S. help to Ukraine to political investigations.
Here’s what we discovered instead:
President Trump put a momentary hold on U.S. security assistance to Ukraine in mid-July and launched it on Sept. 11, without Ukraine ever revealing an examination into Hunter Biden or allegations of Ukrainian disturbance in our 2016 presidential election.
Multiple witnesses provided testament that the pause was because of President Trump’s longstanding concerns about corruption in Ukraine, and about other nations not contributing enough to support Ukraine’s defense.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who campaigned as an anti-corruption reformer, made historic progress after his party took over the Ukrainian parliament in August.
Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin saw the progress up close and reported their encouraging findings to President Trump in the days before the hold was lifted.
The Democrats’ essential witness– the only one who talked with President Trump about the aid to Ukraine– is Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. When pushed, Sondland admitted during his statement prior to your house Intelligence Committee that he never understood why the help was postponed.
Neither President Trump nor anyone else ever told Sondland that aid was connected to examinations by Ukraine. Any viewpoint Sondland expressed to others about such a connection was only him “speculating,” he acknowledged.
President Zelensky and his senior consultant Andriy Yermak– the crucial Ukrainian officials in the Democrat story– have consistently and highly rejected they were ever forced or provided any sense that the temporary hold on U.S. help was linked to investigation demands. Undoubtedly, they were not even knowledgeable about the hold up until it was openly reported by the media.
History will evaluate Democrats for their rush to impeach President Trump without direct evidence, in defiance of historical precedent and as a one-sided political probe.
The “investigation” was kept in the most secret space in the Capitol. Depositions occurred on days lawmakers were out of town. Democrats denied Republicans fundamental fairness and did not allow them to call a single witness.
The Trump administration was not permitted to bring executive branch attorneys to the depositions. In contrast, legal representatives for Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton deserved to go to all depositions and hearings, ask concerns, make objections, present proof, and request their own witnesses during impeachment procedures for those presidents.
Democrats rejected those rights to President Trump and weaponized the impeachment procedure for political gain.
Opposing impeachment does not imply accepting every choice made by the Trump administration in this case. I strongly disagreed with the hang on the security assistance that Congress had actually appropriated for Ukraine and wrote an urgent letter with the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee a week prior to the aid was released.
Then and now, I think that unwavering support for Ukraine to counter Russian malign influence is an essential part of U.S. national security.
However the reality is, House Democrats began their three-year effort to impeach President Trump the day he was sworn into workplace. An overall of 104 out of 233 existing Democrats voted for impeachment prior to the telephone call in between President Trump and President Zelensky ever took place.
Our constitutional order needs far more than this to get rid of a duly-elected president. Some 63 million Americans voted for President Trump. With an election less than a year away, Americans must decide their chosen president at the ballot box, as our Constitution requires.