Robin Diel: Turley’s unheeded warning
On Dec. 4, 2019, Professor Jonathan Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee led by Chairman Jerry Nadler. Unfortunately, Turley’s testimony was largely ignored by the mainstream media.
Thankfully, The Union published a short article on Dec. 18 in which I spoke about that testimony. As the trial in the Senate unfolded, I reviewed Turley’s testimony and noticed that all his warnings to the House of Representatives fell on deaf ears. Two months ago, Turley warned:
“ … one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president.”
“I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger.”
“You have to give time to build a record. This (impeachment) is not an impulse buy item. You are trying to remove a duly elected president of the United States … and that takes time, it takes work.”
“Notably, the House has elected not to subpoena core witnesses with firsthand evidence on any quid pro quo in the Ukraine controversy. Democratic leaders explained that they want a vote by the end of December, and they are not willing to wait for a decision from the court system as to the merits of these disputes.”
“ … the House leadership have allowed two months to slip away without using its subpoena authority to secure the testimony of critical witnesses. The decision to adopt an abbreviated schedule for the investigation and not to seek to compel such testimony is a strategic choice of the House leadership. It is not the grounds for impeachment.”
“ … an impeachment must have a wide foundation in order to be successful. The Ukraine controversy has not offered such a foundation and would easily collapse in a Senate trail.”
“Meeting that deadline appears more important than building a viable case for impeachment. Two months have been wasted that should have been put toward litigating access to missing evidence. The choice is with the House. It must decide if it wants a real or a recreational impeachment.”
The House of Representatives ignored Turley’s warnings and indeed all his points have come to pass. This resulted in a “recreational impeachment.” It is important to note, as Turley observed, this was a “strategic choice of the House leadership” and not the fault of whether or not the Senate called additional witnesses. Unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate is required to focus exclusively on the impeachment trial once the articles of impeachment arrive. This simple fact effectively immobilizes the Senate and cripples its effectiveness as a legislative body.
Far beyond the retention or removal of an American president, approval of a “recreational impeachment” would effectively turn impeachment into a partisan weapon by which the House of Representatives could effectively shut down the Senate.
That verdict would be bad for us all.
Robin Diel lives in Penn Valley.
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