Given the 'horrific' nature of the deeds that President Trump is accused of, we are, quite frankly, a little surprised that the impeachment report from the House Judiciary Committee is only 76 pages long.
The wordy tome describes a series of events that beggar belief when one considers that, as Jonathan Turley noted previously noted,
Despite widespread, justified condemnation of his words, Trump never actually called for violence or a riot. Rather, he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol to express opposition to the certification of electoral votes and to support the challenges being made by some members of Congress. He expressly told his followers “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
Democrats are pushing this dangerously vague standard while objecting to their own statements being given incriminating meaning by critics. For example, conservatives have pointed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) calling for people to confront Republican leaders in restaurants; Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) insisted during 2020’s violent protests that “there needs to be unrest in the streets,” while then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said “protesters should not let up” even as many protests were turning violent. They can all legitimately argue that their rhetoric was not meant to be a call for violence, but this is a standard fraught with subjectivity.
However, the ominous Report concludes:
In the words of Vice President Pence, the "Presidency belongs to the American people, and to them alone."
President Trump has falsely asserted he won the 2020 presidential election and repeatedly sought to overturn the results of the election. As his efforts failed again and again, President Trump continued a parallel course of conduct that foreseeably resulted in the imminent lawless actions of his supporters, who attacked the Capitol and the Congress.
This course of conduct, viewed within the context of his past actions and other attempts to subvert the presidential election, demonstrate that President Trump remains a clear and present danger to the Constitution and our democracy.
The House must reject this outrageous attempt to overturn the election and this incitement of violence by a sitting president against his own government. President Trump committed a high Crime and Misdemeanor against the Nation by inciting an insurrection at the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.
The facts establish that he is unfit to remain in office a single day longer, and warrant the immediate impeachment of President Trump.
And so, amid all that hyperbole, we return to Jonathan Turley, who so far has been an almost lone voice of reason during this malarkey:
The concern is that this impeachment will not only create precedent for an expedited pathway of “snap impeachments” but allow future Congresses to impeach presidents for actions of their supporters.
Democrats are seeking to remove Trump on the basis of his speech to supporters before the Jan. 6 rioting at the U.S. Capitol. Like many, I condemned that speech as it was still being given, calling it reckless and wrong. I also opposed the challenges to electoral votes in Congress. However, Trump’s speech does not meet the definition of incitement under the U.S. criminal code. Indeed, it would be considered protected speech by the Supreme Court.
The damage caused by this week’s rioting was enormous - but it will pale in comparison to the damage from a new precedent of a “snap impeachment” for speech protected under the First Amendment. It is the very danger that the Framers sought to avoid in crafting the impeachment standard. In a process meant to require deliberative, not impulsive, judgments, the very reference to a “snap impeachment” is a contradiction in constitutional terms. In this new system, guilt is not to be doubted and innocence is not to be deliberated. It would do to the Constitution what the rioters did to the Capitol: Leave it in tatters.
The House is expected to vote on the impeachment charges tomorrow.
Full Report below: