This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Second Week Circus
As we entered into the second week of the impeachment farce in Washington, the new mantra of the Democrat Party is that “Impeachment is a political process, not a legal process.” We have even seen some stalwart conservative publications, such as the National Review, get in on the act saying that the protections of due process may not be in play. While this position is debatable, the Cato Institute has an excellent piece on why Impeachment is, in fact a political process; the question remains as to whether this is something that the American people should be saddled with. There is a catch-22 here. If the process is a legal process, then this is a process that the American people should be paying for and there are quite clearly due process rights. On the other hand, if this is a political process, as has been claimed by democrats across the board, then why are we paying for it? Political actions should not come out of the public coffers.
The issue before congress, specifically the house of representatives is simple – “Did President Trump violate the law when he discussed giving aid to the Ukraine on the July phone call?” While this is the question before congress, it is a loaded question. Even if we take all the claims of the Democrat star chamber at face value, we do not have an issue where the President violated the law. Let’s look at a few things:
1) The President is the Top Law Enforcement Officer in the United States
The President is the top law enforcement officer in the United States, and as such has a duty (read not a choice) to uphold the laws of the United States, including investigating violations that have happened of federal law. The United States Constitution provides that the President “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”. Though the Office of Attorney General was created as the chief investigator by Congress, Congress does not have the power to supersede the constitutional duties of the president short of passing an amendment. This means that while President Trump is not “in charge of the investigation” he is tasked with taking all possible steps to make sure that the laws are being followed and that any persons breaking the law are brought to justice. Thus, asking a foreign president to investigate credible allegations that a Vice President of the United States extorted a foreign government cease investigation on a company that his son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the board of, or else he would withhold aid, is an act not only consistent with the duties of the President of the United States, but a required action.
As the Ukrainian president is the chief operator working to squelch corruption in his country, the jurisdiction to find information of Biden’s actions in that country falls within the Ukraine. The idea that Biden, whether acting as a vice president or as a private citizen, is immune from investigation because he is an American citizen or because he elected to run for the office of the president is facetious at best and asinine at worst. Not only should have President Trump asked for this assistance from the proper jurisdiction to investigate, but he was required by the Constitution to do so.
2) The President Had the Right to Withhold Aid from the Ukraine for Corruption
This is an unpopular opinion, but luckily it is firmly based on fact. If Ukraine was looking the other way on the issue of corruption because Joe Biden is running for the office of President of the United States, that is a form of corruption – giving the benefit of the doubt to a potential political ally. Further, with the mounting evidence that Hillary Clinton received aid from the Ukraine in her failed 2016 election effort, the connection between corruption in Ukraine and the Democrat Party is quite apparent . With officials such as Rand Paul stating that “Up to 70 percent of foreign aid is ‘skimmed off the top,” it becomes imperative that the government deny aid to corrupt regimes. Therefore, when President Trump inquired whether the investigation into the Biden’s was re-established, he was protecting the monies of the American Taxpayer.
3) Congress Can Appropriate Money, But That Does Not Mean That it Must Be Spent
Congress can appropriate money, but that does not mean that it must be spent – only that it can be spent. Once again, this is unpopular, but legally sound. Congress does have the power of the purse according to the Constitution; however, the executive has the power of disbursement of the monies appropriated by Congress from the American people. First, the president is the Commander and Chief of the Armed forces, if monies appropriated by Congress would be going to a corrupt government, the president has the power to deny or delay those monies until a time when they will not be used against United States interest. With the established fact that the Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential elections, the use of the money could be deemed outside of the interests of the United States.
Second, the discussion between the President and the President of the Ukraine is allowed under the foreign affairs section of the presidential powers, this is a summit where the president is consulting with another leader to stamp out corruption (albeit a small summit for the purpose of congratulations). Third under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the President may rescind appropriated funds for 45 days unless the Congress overturns the decision with a vote (after the 45 days if congress does not vote to approve the decision to withhold a budget item, the money is paid out). As such, the aid was held up for a short period of time, well short of the 45 days. Congress did not vote to overturn the decision; thus Congress does not have a leg to stand on in this case.
4) Finally, President Trump Did Not Commit Extortion/Bribery, Joe Biden Did
Finally, President Trump did not commit extortion/bribery, Joe Biden did – all President Trump did was ask that it be investigated. We have Joe Biden stating that he told Ukrainians that if they did not fire the prosecutor who was investigating his son, that he would hold up their aid. If you need proof of that, you can watch the video here. President Trump asked a foreign head of state to go forward with an investigation that had been canceled by corruption, if you need to see it you can read it here. All President Trump did was ask that an investigation be continued.
The impeachment process is a conflation of several events that are marginally related to create a narrative of corruption. What it has done is expose the corruption of the Democrat Party and the laughable chairmanship of Schiff. This process is a catch 22 for the Democrats. If it is a legal process, then they have failed to show a “high crime” and misdemeanor, but that is not their job anyway as that is the job of the Senate. If this is a political charade (the impeachment inquiry which is not provided for in the Constitution, only a vote) then we, the American people, should not be paying for it and should demand that our representative quit “playing God” and do the job we elected them for.