Where are the ‘high crimes’ Trump is supposedly guilty of
“Quid pro quo” was the accusatory Latin phrase most often used to describe President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call asking for a “favor” from the president of Ukraine.
New Year’s prediction: The Roman poet Horace’s Latin depiction: “Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus” — “The mountains went into labor, and brought forth a mouse” — will be used to describe the articles of impeachment drawn up by Nancy Pelosi’s House.
Article II is titled “Obstruction of Congress.” What does it allege?
That Trump “directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its ‘sole power of Impeachment.'”
Undeniably, there is truth here.
Trump did direct the Executive branch not to provide witnesses and documents subpoenaed by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, both of which are partisan, pro-impeachment and chaired by unapologetic Trump-haters Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff.
But what the substance of Article II is really about is the eternal conflict between the first and second branches of the government over their respective rights and powers.
Such clashes are usually decided by the third branch, the Supreme Court. But Pelosi, Nadler and Schiff are unwilling to wait for the court to decide. They are declaring the issue decided and settled in the House’s favor, and treating Trump’s recourse to the courts as a new impeachable offense: “Obstruction of Congress.”
Can Pelosi seriously expect a Republican Senate to convict and remove a Republican president for defending what that president is claiming in open court are the constitutional rights of the Executive Branch that he, as its present occupant and leader, is obligated to defend?
Trump would be derelict in his duty if he allowed a rogue House to run roughshod over the White House.
Consider Article I, “Abuse of Power.”
The heart of this charge is that Trump briefly held up delivery of $391 million in “vital military and security assistance to oppose Russian aggression.” So doing, Trump “compromised the national security of the United States.”
Is the House serious? It was the Trump administration that began the transfer of the lethal aid — sniper rifles, Javelin missiles — that President Barack Obama had denied to Ukraine for three years.
If Trump’s brief hold on a second tranche of lethal aid to Ukraine imperiled our “national security,” was not Obama’s yearslong denial of lethal aid to Ukraine a far greater peril to our national security?
Still, it is absurd to declare U.S. national security as threatened by a Russian presence in Crimea or in the Russian-speaking Donbass.
Russia has been in Crimea since Catherine the Great’s reign in the 18th century.