Trump Lawyer Calls Impeachment a 'Direct Attack Against Our Constitution'
On Tuesday, Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Jenna Ellis, a constitutional lawyer and senior legal advisor to the Trump campaign, told PJ Media the articles are "a pathetically weak and thinly veiled attempt to save face for their impeachment scam." She warned that the second article, "obstruction of Congress," could undermine the separation of powers.
"The two articles brought forward by the Democrats are a pathetically weak and thinly veiled attempt to save face for their impeachment scam," Ellis told PJ Media in an interview Wednesday night. "They have no evidence, no witnesses, and no constitutional grounds. This is more than an embarrassment to the Democratic Party. It’s a direct attack against our Constitution and foundation of our government system."
"They are weaponizing the power of impeachment that was never intended to provide the opportunity to oust a sitting president for sheer political hatred," she said. The Democrat articles of impeachment did not accuse Trump of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" as stipulated in the Constitution.
In a previous interview, the constitutional lawyer noted that the Founders debated the appropriate venue for impeachment, and they limited the subject matter for impeachment because "the Founders never wanted it to be political."
In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton wrote 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" (emphasis added).
In this case, impeachment has become the very thing Hamilton wanted to prevent. Democrats are pushing forward with the process even though they know that not one Republican in the House of Representatives will vote to impeach Trump. In fact, the vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry was bipartisan — in opposition to impeachment!
Ellis debunked each of the Democrats' articles, and warned that the second one might undermine America's constitutional system.
"There is no evidence for abuse of power. In fact, the evidence shows precisely the opposite—that President Trump was acting within his constitutional authority to set foreign policy, to ensure foreign aid was not used for corrupt purposes, and to ensure compliance with our national security interests," she said. "Further, the evidence shows that he was acting in the interests of the United States."
Democrats argue that Trump temporarily withheld the military funding for Ukraine in a scheme to force Ukraine to open politically-motivated investigations to help Trump in the 2020 election. However, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has presented a more plausible explanation for Trump's actions: he was working to verify whether or not Ukraine's newly-elected president was "the real deal" when it came to fighting corruption.
Trump ended up releasing the funding without Ukraine announcing any investigation. Furthermore, Trump asked the Ukrainian president to "do us a favor," not "do me a favor." An investigation into potential corruption regarding the son of an American vice president working a cushy job at a Ukrainian gas company while his father was the point person on Ukraine is indeed in America's national interest. The Hunter Biden scandal may help Trump politically, but that does not mean it is not a legitimate concern for the U.S.
Perhaps more importantly, Ellis warned that Democrats' second article of impeachment will undermine America's constitutional system.
"Obstruction of Congress is the Democrats’ way of ignoring the separation of powers," she told PJ Media. "Every president has exercised legitimate executive privilege and due process rights. If there is a dispute between Congress and the president as to the scope and application of those rights and privileges, this is resolved by our non-political branch in the judiciary. Accessing justice and following due process is not 'obstructing' Congress. It’s actually ensuring Congress doesn’t overreach."
Rather than adjudicate these matters in the courts, Democrats decided to assume that Congress is in the right and Trump has no right to executive privilege. They are impeaching Trump in order to move on with a political stunt, not due to real concerns about the president's authority, Ellis argued.
"The Democrats don’t have time for a decision from the court. They have a deadline of Election Day, 2020," she quipped.
Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, has warned that both of the Democrats' articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — "are so vague and open-ended that they could be applied in partisan fashion by a majority of the House against almost any president from the opposing party." This impeachment is not just unsubstantiated, but it could pose serious problems for the American government going forward.
Ellis has argued that House Democrats who are riding roughshod over the Constitution and politicizing impeachment in this manner should be expelled from the House of Representatives for betraying their oaths to uphold the Constitution. In 2020, they will be held accountable to the people. Even those who dislike President Trump should seriously consider voting against representatives who abuse impeachment in this way.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.