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Sat Jan 25, 2020, 01:21 PM

So long 'original intent,' 'rule of law' and Constitution

By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist

Iím old enough to remember when Patrick Henry, during the Constitutional Convention, expressed concern about a too-powerful executive:


Or maybe Iím remembering a time when Americans considered those concepts to be of vital importance, and so did their proxies in Congress. The questions are at the heart of what became the United States: in what institutions should power reside, and in what proportions; in what way can that power be held in check; and, when necessary, how should its abuse be redressed?

What I definitely remember is that during the Clinton impeachment, Sens. Tom Daschle and Trent Lott, leaders of the Democrats and Republicans, respectively, negotiated rules for the trial that were approved by all 100 senators. The proceedings included witnesses and some 90,000 documents Clinton had delivered, as asked. Because of course it did.

Midnight-in-Moscow Mitch (YouTube: tinyurl.com/midnitemitch) involved no Democrats. Rather than honoring the trust our founders placed in Congress, Mitchís oath-breaking trial, rigged to ensure exoneration, looks to be about renouncing that trust and ignoring the abuses that worried Mr. Henry, in the face of which, if they occurred, Mr. Madison assured the assembly that his remedy would preserve the Republic.

Barring an outbreak of integrity to which Republican Congress-people have so far shown remarkable immunity, the conclusion is foregone. Fittingly, Trumpís most Foxworthy lawyers joined Republicans who were involved last time around, manufacturing breathtaking reversals: back then, Ken Starr argued that obstruction of Congress in an impeachment inquiry was itself an impeachable act. The Alan Dershowitz of yore insisted that the committing of specific crimes was not required for impeachment. What happened? Trump. Like an oil spill, Trump happened.

On day one, Team Trump declared the Constitution unconstitutional. Thatís what it means when impeachment is characterized as an attempt to undo an election, and, even more audaciously, to abolish our right to vote. Likewise, claiming itís Democrats who rigged the process, and, as Trump has whined, that he wasnít treated fairly in the House impeachment. Bullwash. Trump was offered all the time he wanted, and all the documents and witnesses he wished to produce. He stonehenged.



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