In an excellent op-ed for The New York Times this weekend, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner laid out a thorough case against impeachment, explaining why he chose to vote no on Wednesday’s historic charges. Sensenbrenner, who was on Capitol Hill way back in the late 1990s when the time came to vote for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, said the differences in the two cases were as stark as they could be.
“Just a day short of 21 years ago, I had cast my votes to impeach President Bill Clinton and was then selected to serve as a House manager — a prosecutor — to argue our case before the Senate. While the Clinton impeachment was a bitterly divisive moment in our history, I did what I believed — and still believe — was right,” he wrote. “This week, the sight and sounds were similar, but the underlying facts were vastly different. After evaluating the allegations against President Trump and the process that led us here, I determined that I could not vote to impeach.”
In a step-by-step condemnation of the way Democrats have run this partisan affair, Sensenbrenner notes that Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Jerrold Nadler managed to completely rob President Donald Trump of his constitutionally-afforded due process rights. He said this was in sharp contrast to the impeachment of Clinton, where the president at the time was allowed the freedom to carve out his defense, answer the charges against him, and present evidence he believed to be exculpatory. Hearings, in other words, weren’t being conducted in the SCIF room of the Capitol.
Worst of all, he said, the final charges against the president were so vague and undefined that they could have been used to take down virtually anyone.
“When we finally considered the articles of impeachment, they were so broad and flimsy that almost any other president could most likely have been accused of them,” he wrote. “Article II, the obstruction of Congress charge, is particularly bad, as Democrats failed even to give a court — the proper arbiter of these disagreements — the chance to weigh in on the matter.
“Further, none of the articles allege that the president committed a crime — a drastic departure from the Nixon and Clinton cases,” he continued. “Nevertheless, Democrats prioritized haste as they jammed through their impeachment vote. Again and again, Democrats told us that Congress could not wait to impeach the president. Yet Speaker Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles from the Senate shows us that we can apparently wait. This whole exercise has been completely bunk.”
How anyone can look at what’s been done here and conclude that it has been a fair process…it boggles the mind. But when you hate a president rabidly enough, clear thought goes right out the window.