By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) As the Senate gears up to begin the process of disposing of President Trump’s impeachment on Tuesday, it’s worth reminding everyone of a couple of things.
First off, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) talks a lot but is seldom accurate; and secondly, there is a wide gulf between the alleged guilt of the last impeached president, Bill Clinton, and the current allegations involving Trump.
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You may recall some weeks ago, Graham was mouthing off about how the president’s impeachment articles would be dismissed out of hand.
“This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly,” Graham told CNN International’s Becky Anderson at the Doha Forum in Qatar.
Yeah, well, not so much.
The Hill reported Sunday:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) conceded Sunday that the House-passed articles of impeachment against President Trump would not be dismissed without a trial in the Senate despite the near-certainty the upper chamber will vote to acquit the president.
“Have you given up on the idea that the majority will vote to dismiss case right away?” host Chris Wallace asked Graham on “Fox News Sunday.”
“That’s dead for practical purposes,” Graham told Wallace. “There are a lot of senators who I think will wind up acquitting the president but believe we need to hear the House’s case [and] the president’s case in answer to the House’s case.”
“The idea of dismissing the case early on is not going to happen,” he added. “We don’t have the votes for that.”
Got it. So, once again, Graham talks just to hear himself talk.
But the reality is, the allegations against the president ought to be dismissed right away because there is no substance to them, unlike the last time a president was impeached.
Bill Clinton was accused of 11 actual crimes:
Five counts of lying under oath
Four counts of obstruction of justice
One count of witness tampering
One count of abuse of constitutional authority
According to this history:
The Starr Report, presented on Sept. 9,1998, presented 11 impeachable offenses. Bill Clinton was eventually charged because he “…willfully provided perjuries, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury,” and made “…corrupt efforts to influence the testimony of witnesses and to impede the discovery of evidence.”
The first of the possible offenses presented in the Starr Report was that President Clinton had lied under oath during the civil case when he denied any sort of sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. The President also lied under oath to the grand jury about his sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky.
He also lied in a civil deposition about ever having been alone with Ms. Lewinsky and the gifts that he had exchanged with her. There was evidence of him discussing the Jones case with Ms. Lewinsky as well. Throughout the course of the Jones case, Bill Clinton obstructed justice with Ms. Lewinsky by jointly concealing the truth of their relationship.
Clinton attempted to obstruct justice by helping Monica Lewinsky get a job in New York when her witness could be detrimental if she told the truth in the Jones case. The President lied again under oath in his discussions with Vernon Jordan regarding Ms. Lewinsky’s involvement in the Jones case.
Following this civil disposition, President Clinton attempted to tamper with a potential witness by influencing his secretary. Refusing to testify for seven months was an attempt to obstruct justice during the grand jury investigation. Finally, President Clinton abused his constitutional authority in several ways throughout the course of the investigation.
Now, what has President Trump been accused of? Two articles have been returned: ‘Abuse of power’ and ‘Obstruction of Congress.’
Neither one of these amounts to a “high crime or misdemeanor,” the constitutional description of impeachable offenses.
Trump’s ‘obstruction’ amounted to refusing to allow Executive Branch officials to respond to subpoenas for their testimony. Democrats sued, but before a federal court could rule, they voted to impeach anyway.
Some constitutional experts have said that federal courts should not rule on such matters anyway, because it would amount to one branch of government siding with another branch. They also note that such matters could be decided by the people at the next election.
In any event, Clinton was actually convicted for some of the crimes he was charged with, and on a bipartisan basis.
Trump was impeached without a single Republican vote, but the vote to clear him of any charges was bipartisan, as two Democrats crossed party lines to side with the GOP.
The fact is, the only reason Trump was impeached was so Democrats could say he was, as Nancy Pelosi proved during an appearance on HBO Friday.
And that’s no way to run a superpower.
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