Rep. Rick Crawford: House Democrats’ impeachment resolution spits on the face of due process

Oct 31, 2019
In The News

Rep. Rick Crawford: House Democrats’ impeachment resolution spits on the face of due process

Written by: Rep. Rick Crawford
Published by: Washington Examiner

For several weeks now, my Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives have tried to validate their tactics on impeachment by touting the talking point, “No one is above the law, not even our president.” However, they conveniently fail to recognize that no one is below the law, either. In fact, these self-proclaimed champions of equality have forgotten a key value woven into our Constitution — we are all equal in the eyes of the law.

 

About a month ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that six House committees would be given the authority to conduct an impeachment investigation based on shaky accusations against President Trump. In her speech, the California Democrat claimed the president betrayed his oath of office, our national security, and the integrity of our elections. Yet, today she insists the House vote on “formalizing” the impeachment investigation through a resolution that commits the very same sins of which she accuses the president. The resolution is nothing but an admission of guilt to violating the House rules and a concession that the Democratic Party is only interested in a partisan process.

The Democrats betray their oath of office by placing partisan politics over their duty of defending the Constitution.

Their resolution flies in the face of both precedent and House rules. It gives subpoena power to both parties but only after getting approval from the majority party, the Democrats. In past impeachment investigations, unchecked subpoena power has been given to both parties, allowing bipartisan questioning and witnesses from both sides to be called.

Additionally, the resolution clearly establishes the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as the leader of the impeachment process. While the Judiciary Committee will still report Articles of Impeachment to the House if it deems necessary, the Intelligence Committee will conduct the bulk of the investigation.

But any communication containing evidence of impeachable offenses should be referred to the House Judiciary Committee, in accordance with Sec. LIII of the Jefferson Manual. This has been the tradition since the Judiciary Committee was created in 1813. The impeachment inquiry resolutions for both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton gave the Judiciary Committee primary responsibility for investigating.

Why then are so many committees involved with no jurisdiction over the substance of the allegations? Because Democrats are not investigating the allegations: They are tearing apart an innocent man’s life, clutching at straws trying to find any impeachable offense.

They will examine Trump’s interactions with foreign leaders. They will examine his finances. They will examine his personal life. They will do all of this with no indication of wrongdoing, merely a desire to remove him from office. It is clear that Pelosi’s intention is to weaponize the Intelligence Committee (a committee chartered to oversee the intelligence community) for the sake of political games.

My Democrat colleagues are betraying our national security. Rather than taking the purpose of the Intelligence Committee seriously, their resolution gives Chairman Adam Schiff the House’s blessing to work as the conductor of impeachment.

The Intelligence Committee is the only House committee designated to provide oversight of the intelligence community. Schiff has secretly met with witnesses without alerting the minority and has conducted hearings in a bunker. Rather than allowing the public to examine all of the evidence that has been collected, he has selectively leaked only the most damaging information to his liberal cronies in the media.

By taking evidence out of context, Schiff has deliberately misled the public. The Democrats’ resolution only strengthens Schiff’s grip over information, by granting him authority to redact “classified and other sensitive information.” Given that the Ukraine phone call hearings aren’t classified, one wonders what exactly Schiff is planning to redact.

To seal the deal, this partisan and one-sided investigation betrays the integrity of our elections by undermining a duly-elected president. The Sixth Amendment guarantees every American’s right to a fair trial, representation, and to face their accuser. Democrats are affording Trump no such rights: Under Schiff, the president isn’t even allowed to know who his accuser is, let alone have counsel present.

The right to confront and cross examine is a cornerstone of American justice, and it is being swept under the rug in the name of political expediency. If this were an everyday citizen, there would be public outrage. Nixon and Clinton were both allowed to have counsel present at congressional impeachment inquiries and Trump should too. It is his right.

While impeachment is a rare occasion in our nation’s history, it’s not an excuse to throw away due process, and it is certainly not a pass for partisan politics. The process matters and it mattered to our Founding Fathers too.

If Democrats were truly concerned about their oaths of office, our national security, or the integrity of our elections, they would not be blatantly pursuing a political agenda and attempting to unfairly impeach the president over a noncrime. The public deserves nothing short of the truth — but how do we get the truth if we are stacking the deck against one of the parties responsible for finding it?

Crawford, a Republican, represents Arkansas’ first congressional district. He is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

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