By Rep. Andy Biggs, , Rep. Russ Fulcher
Published December 03, 2019
The House Judiciary Committee will hold another impeachment hearing this week related to Democrats' vindictive effort to impeach President Trump. The committee will be entering a strange new place never encountered before in the history of the republic by receiving jury instructions without a trial.
The Judiciary Committee has historically been the committee of jurisdiction for impeachment; instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gave control to Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and the House Intelligence Committee.
During the secret proceedings, Schiff attempted to control everything related to impeaching President Trump. Public sentiment was supportive of the Democrats’ impeachment obsession as long as they only heard the leaked information from Schiff that was purposefully selected to color the president in an unflattering light.
When the hearings were opened, and Democrats paraded a cast of characters before the public, Americans quickly soured on the notion of impeachment. Democrats have yet to identify what high crime President Trump has supposedly committed.
In desperation, Democrats started testing various catchphrases to focus groups in an attempt to find something that would resonate with the country. That hasn’t worked either. They are shedding public support like a St. Bernard in an Arizona summer sheds hair.
And now Schiff and company have written a report on their so-called evidence to give to the Judiciary Committee so that they can proceed to write their Articles of Impeachment to be considered by the House of Representatives.
So, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is having at least one hearing this week. Will the Judiciary Committee have real witnesses appear? Not likely. The committee has instead invited several lawyers to come in and tell us what the report’s evidence means and that impeachment of President Trump is consistent with their respective interpretations of the law.
But isn’t that what the Judiciary Committee itself is for? The committee itself determines whether impeachment is appropriate based on the evidence is.
And that’s the real problem here. House rules are generally silent on the impeachment process. In House practice, however, precedent should be followed when there are no specific rules. Thus, we should do what was done in the Clinton and Nixon proceedings.
In those proceedings, the House Judiciary Committees were triers of fact and law. In other words, we hear witnesses, review evidence, and hold a hearing in conjunction with the impeachment proceedings. As the Judiciary Committee receives this evidence, it sifts through what it sees and hears and determines what the facts of the case are. Thus, “triers of fact.”
At the conclusion, we should review the laws pertinent to the case and then apply them to the facts. Thus, “triers of law.” Each member of the committee then reaches their respective conclusions and then votes.
But, like so much in this shameful, sham of a coup, we are doing it backward. On Wednesday, we anticipate either receiving jury instructions from Nadler’s lawyers before witnesses and evidence are presented to the committee, or the committee will not conduct evidentiary hearings at all.
In either case, it is a perpetuation of the unfair, distorted procedure that the Democrats have conducted thus far. Apparently, they are as obtuse in their knowledge of procedure as they are in the purported charges they assert against the president. They continue to flail at gnats.
So the Judiciary Committee will hold a meaningless “hearing” where no witnesses will testify to the facts and those who appear will be giving us jury instructions before we hear the evidence. Another fail on the part of Democrats.
Republican Russ Fulcher represents Idaho's 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.