Court supports Executive Privilege, says Trump did not obstruct Congress
House Democrats say that Trump’s alleged order that White House counsel Don McGahn not comply with a Congressional subpoena, was Obstruction of Congress. This, the Democrats argue, is yet another impeachable offense. Although only loosely reported by the mainstream media, last Friday a federal appeals court ruled that President Trump is permitted to exert executive privilege when a close advisor is subpoenaed to appear before Congress.
The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump
For much of October, November, and December of last year, the House of Representatives held hearings and then voted, to impeach President Trump. Not one Republican in the House agreed with the Democrats.
From January 16 to February 5 of this year, the Senate was forced to close down all business that was related to running the country to listen to more than 100 hours of testimony about why Trump should be found guilty of two impeachable offenses and then be removed from office.
The Democrats just couldn’t wait for the courts
Had the Democrats waited for the Court’s position on the use of executive privilege, there would have been no need to drag the country through the stress and costs of an impeachment trial. According to FoxBusiness article, How much is Trump’s impeachment costing taxpayers?
“According to an estimate from the Heritage Foundation in December, the Democrat-led House of Representatives inquiry, and eventual impeachment of Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Dec. 18, cost taxpayers an estimated $3.06 million. That price tag includes the money spent on the salaries of 106 congressional staffers from the House Intelligence Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Reform Committee, who worked on impeachment from Sept. 24 to Dec. 13, according to the Daily Signal. It also included the estimated hourly fees of six attorneys who appeared during hearings.”
There is also the cost of the Senate not working on behalf of the American people. They could have used that time to go what they are supposed to do, that is to govern.
In the 2–1 decision, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court decision.
The Democrats could appeal to the Supreme Court, but they are unlikely to do that since the outcome will probably be the same if indeed the Justices would agree to hear the case.
Recall in April 2019 as part of the Mueller investigation, Congress subpoenaed McGahn. Democrats believed that Trump obstructed justice by ordering McGahn to say Mueller had conflicts of interest and should, therefore, be removed as special counsel.
The media reported this incident saying Trump demanded McGahn dispute the news stories. McGahn refused and said he would rather resign. (Trump denies he told the White House counsel to fire Mueller)
Trump exerts executive privilege.
The Democrats wanted to hear what McGahn had to say about this. But Trump exerted executive privilege. The Dems went to court, winning at first, but them losing during the appeal process.
At this point, Trump is vindicated.
The court found he had the right to use the privilege to keep McGahn from testifying. That means the second count of the impeachment was not valid. Thus leaving only the abuse of power charge to be considered. Even that charge was a stretch.
The Democrats claim Trump abused the power of the presidency by asking the Ukrainian government to investigate any corruption by high-level US government officials that may have occurred in 2016.
Trump said there is some evidence that former vice-president Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire corrupt top prosecutor Viktor Shokin before the Obama administration would give $1 billion in aid to Ukraine.
Trump said this could be because Shokin is investigating a corrupt Ukrainian company where Biden’s son was receiving very large sums of money without apparent knowledge of the industry.
Biden said that was not true. The pressure to fire Shokin was because Shokin was not fully investigating other corrupt companies. That there were many countries that sought Shokin’s removal.
Democrats say Trump’s wanting Biden investigate was an abuse of power
Democrats in the House said that Trump wanted Biden investigated because Biden could potentially be the Democrats nominee for president is 2020.
To pressure Ukraine to investigate a pollical rival would be an abuse of power. However, the Democrats were not able to prove that the President did, in fact, abuse the power of his office. While the house impeached the President, the Senate did not indict the president, nullifying the house impeachment.
The GOP controlled Senate now wants to investigate both Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden. They want to see if there was indeed any corrupt activity. Some point to a video of Biden demanding a quid pro quo from Ukraine as proof of the former Vice President’s corruption.
This investigation would occur whether Joe Biden is running for president or not. At this point, it does not appear the Biden will be the Democrat’s nominee.
Media ignores the courts’ decision that favors Presiden Trump
The media has not fully reported on the appellate court’s decision which re-affirms a president’s right to exert executive privilege. Other stories are dominating the news cycle today. Mostly concerning the potential negative impact of the Coronavirus. And the Democrat’s insistence that the Trump administration is mishandling the crisis.
Since the abuse of power charge was not really an impeachable offense and since the court just ruled Trump did not obstruct Congress by exerting executive privilege, was this whole impeachment fiasco simply a waste of valuable time?
The answer is obvious. The question is rhetorical. The Russia hoax, Mueller investigation, Kavanaugh hearings, and Impeachment are all failed attempts by Democrats. Their only focus to discredit and destroy President Trump. And keep him from being re-elected for a second term.
Despite their expenditure of time and cost to the American people Democrats have failed. From his rallies to his fourth attendance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the force is strong.
Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years. @mbusler www.facebook.com/fundingdemocracy