House Democrats are violating their oath of office by weaponizing impeachment to win the 2020 election and therefore they themselves should be expelled from Congress, Jenna Ellis, a constitutional law attorney and senior legal advisor to the Trump campaign, told PJ Media in an interview on Monday. The current impeachment inquiry is not only extremely partisan but unconstitutional, she claims.
“This is a political stunt that the Democrats know that they cannot win in 2020. They are manipulating a power in the Constitution, weaponizing the system in order to win 2020,” Ellis said. “There’s no legitimate basis to pursue this impeachment. This is just a continuing effort to oust the sitting president because they hate him.”
“That’s not how impeachment was designed to work when the Founders wrote Article I Section 2 and Article II Section 4,” she said.
Citing the Constitution and Alexander Hamilton, Ellis insisted that impeachment is not a political process but a judicial one, and that a president’s impeachment must fall under the purview of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
At the Constitutional Convention, the Founders debated the appropriate venue for the impeachment of a president, vice president, or other federal officers — a debate Hamilton wrote about in Federalist 65. Ellis insisted that the subject matter of impeachment “was specifically and intentionally narrowed — the Founders never wanted it to be political.”
“Although jurisdiction was given to a political branch, it is an inherently judicial proceeding,” the constitutional lawyer insisted.
Indeed, Hamilton warned that since impeachment involves “the abuse or violation of some public trust,” the proceedings “may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”
In other words, Founders like Hamilton feared that impeachment would devolve into a political process when it was intended to be judicial — a consideration of an executive officer’s innocence or guilt when it comes to extremely important crimes.
“Opponents of the sitting president could manipulate it to their advantage outside of the original intent of the Founding Fathers, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing today,” Ellis explained.
The process of impeachment involves legal terms. The House of Representatives files articles of impeachment — essentially an indictment — and then the U.S. Senate holds a trial and conviction. “Due process is still attached,” the lawyer explained.
Ellis also insisted that “Article I and Article II have to work in tandem.” She accused Democrats of citing the phrase about the “sole power of impeachment” from Article I “out of its judicial context and forgetting that it has to fit Article II Section 4,” which specifies the legal basis for impeachment — the “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“Those are specifically crimes that are against the interest and sovereignty of the United States,” Ellis explained. In British law, the term “high crime” denoted “an offense against the crown of England, which was the sovereign.” In order for misconduct to qualify for impeachment, “the president or another federal official would have to be using their office against the interest of the United States.”
The Democrats’ impeachment effort centers on an alleged quid pro quo. According to their narrative, President Donald Trump held up military funding to Ukraine in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into opening a politically-motivated investigation into Hunter Biden, in order to politically damage 2020 Democrat and former Vice President Joe Biden.
This narrative falls apart on investigation. Zelensky and Ukrainian officials did not know the funding had been stalled until long after the call. Trump, notoriously wary of foreign aid, seems to have decided to hold up the funding until he was convinced that Zelensky was committed to fighting corruption. After many meetings with Trump officials, U.S. officials convinced the president that Zelensky was the real deal, so he released the funding.
As for the Bidens, Joe Biden was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine. Burisma, a notoriously corrupt gas company, hired Hunter Biden to the board despite the fact that the vice president’s son did not have any experience in the energy industry. Joe Biden later bragged about using a quid pro quo to get a Ukrainian prosecutor fired — the same prosecutor who was investigating Burisma.
Ellis defended the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky. “The president is talking to an ally and he is asking for help in an investigation against a then-sitting vice president whose corruption would have been against the interest of the United States,” she said.
“For the United States to investigate potential corruption of a then-sitting vice president is absolutely in our interest,” Ellis argued. Furthermore, she claimed that “Joe Biden isn’t Trump’s political opponent and wasn’t during the phone call. He hasn’t won the primary — he may never become the actual political opponent.”
Perhaps more importantly, if Trump were to drop any investigation because Biden was running for president, that would have perverse effects. “Every Democrat who fears prosecution because of corruption would sign up to run against Donald Trump,” Ellis quipped.
She also attacked Democrats for refusing to extend due process rights to Republicans in the impeachment process. Trump and House Republicans “are being denied any witnesses to show this context,” explaining why the Democratic narrative is false. “The president does not have the ability to have his lawyer there to confront and cross-examine witnesses. This is a complete show trial in the media already.”
Ellis argued that the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton involved more due process and less partisanship than the current effort. After all, Democrats joined with Republicans to approve the impeachment investigation against Clinton. “Also, then-President Clinton had the opportunity for his lawyers to be involved.”
The Trump lawyer acknowledged that there is very little precedent on the process of impeachment.
“Unfortunately the Supreme Court hasn’t had the opportunity to weigh into the impeachment process,” she said. “We’ve seen very few impeachments.”
On the other hand, “what is available is the process for the expulsion of these Democratic members who are violating their oath of office.” Members of the House or Senate may be expelled by a two-thirds vote of their chamber. Fifteen senators have been expelled from the U.S. Senate, and five representatives have been expelled from the House. While the House and Senate are unlikely to vote to expel Democratic members over impeachment, the constitutional lawyer said that members of Congress should face expulsion for violating their oath to the Constitution — perhaps enforced by the Supreme Court.
“This is something that potentially the Supreme Court should weigh into because President Trump does not at all legally or constitutionally deserve to be among the ranks of Nixon and Clinton for a partisan political circus,” she insisted.
“Nothing that the Democrats have offered so far has risen to the level of proving their case,” she said. “The president doesn’t have to defend that allegation, they have to prove their case first and they have failed entirely to do that.”
Unable to prove their case legally and convince the Senate to remove Trump, the Democrats “are simply trying to win in the court of public opinion and trying to dissuade voters to come out for Trump in 2020 and they know that they can’t win a fair election.”
Indeed, Democrats are starting to freak out about Biden, who has proven himself an extremely weak frontrunner. Concerns about the former vice president’s health, his gaffes, and his inability to appeal to moderate Democrats and the radical left have led some politicos to suggest Hillary Clinton should enter the race. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is mulling a late entry, and former Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass.) has jumped into the race — in an indictment of Biden.
“They don’t have a leader, they don’t have a message, they don’t have a candidate that anyone besides AOC is willing to go on record really supporting,” Ellis said, referring to rising star and radical “democratic” socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Democrats “have been trying to oust President Trump since before he ever got inaugurated. Instead of waiting for the election that is in twelve months they are weaponizing a power that was not intended for this purpose. Their entire pattern of conduct of trying to oust President Trump is very plain evidence on its face.”
“They’re the party of obstruction and they continue to be,” Ellis said. Yet she celebrated that despite “all of the hate and vitriol and partisan politics that have been thrown at President Trump,” Trump has many accomplishments: originalist judges; defunding Planned Parenthood; holding the religious freedom ministerial; record-low unemployment, and more.
“This president is delivering on his promises and he’s doing that in spite of overwhelming political opposition,” the campaign lawyer insisted.
Even though Democrats are not likely to be expelled for their politicizing of impeachment, the American people can see the relentless partisan attacks on Trump and the president’s achievements in the face of this onslaught.
The Democrats’ disgusting attempt to win the 2020 election by tarnishing Trump should backfire.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.