It’s no secret that from the day after the 2016 election, Democrats had their sights set on impeaching President Trump, even objecting on January 6, 2017 to the electoral votes starting with the State of Alabama, which President Trump won by 28 points, alleging “Russia Collusion.” When the Russian collusion conspiracy was proven to be make believe, they moved on to impeaching him over allegations made by an “anonymous whistleblower” who we later found out worked with Joe Biden when he was vice president. We may never know all the facts about those allegations because House Democrats denied President Trump his Sixth Amendment right to cross examine the witness against him.
Just like the Russian collusion narrative, it was all political theater, engineered before an election, and designed to railroad President Trump and energize the Democratic Party’s base of support at a time when the economy was thriving and our country was at peace. In the Senate there was little appetite for the show trial and the articles of impeachment were rightly dismissed. Trump Impeachment 2.0 is unconstitutional and should also be dismissed by the U.S. Senate.
Now that President Trump’s term has ended and he is a private citizen, the impeachment articles are irrelevant, and the case is moot. The U.S. Constitution limits impeachment jurisdiction to the current president, vice president and sitting federal civil office holders. Additionally, the Constitution prescribes a punishment that shall not go beyond removal from office with the possibility of being disqualified from holding office in the future. Since President Trump no longer holds office, the penalty if convicted is meaningless. It’s politics at its worst and will only serve to further divide our nation.
Furthermore, it is disingenuous to tie President Trump’s January 6th remarks with the violence that took place at the U.S. Capitol. President Trump addressed the crowd by the White House grounds about two miles away from the Capitol, exercising his right under the First Amendment, and he asked attendees to protest peacefully. He did not use any language during his address that could be construed as incitement. He also rightly denounced the violence and instructed federal authorities to bring those responsible for breaking the law to justice.
There is good reason to believe that a group of individuals, unaffiliated with the rally, assembled, broke the law, and disobeyed police orders by breeching the doors of the U.S. Capitol even before President Trump made his remarks. We also now know that bombs were placed outside the Republican and Democratic Committee Headquarters in the early morning hours indicating violence was planned possibly weeks in advance.
House Democrats were so eager to get another shot at impeaching President Trump that they bypassed the regular process and denied President Trump, members of Congress and the American people the prerequisite fact-finding through committee hearings and official investigations into the events of January 6th. We still do not have a full accounting of what took place, and what organizations and individuals were involved in the violent acts that day, though I have requested this information from law enforcement authorities. We need a bipartisan commission to investigate those events.
Truth be told, President Trump’s real offense is that he beat Hillary Clinton four years ago in an upset election that liberal Democrats and the Washington establishment have never gotten over. This impeachment reeks of political revenge and is a waste of valuable time Congress could be dedicating to uniting the country and getting Americans safely back to work. Antics like this are an abuse of power, but sadly are in line with other abuses of power in the opening month of the new Congress: removing a member of Congress for statements made before she became a member of Congress and changing House rules to prohibit Republicans from offering an amendment at the end of House debate on legislation (a right that the minority party has had for more than 100 years).
These highly partisan actions make many Americans cynical about politics and distrustful of Washington and the motives of our leaders. At a time when Congress should be thinking about ways to unify the nation and improve the public’s trust, it has hit rock bottom and started digging deeper.
Congressman Bill Posey represents Florida’s 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.