When Democrats launched their first sham impeachment in fall 2019, opponents warned triggering the extreme measure by pursuing the expulsion of the elected president would cheapen the institution reserved for egregious offenses.
“Instead of a once-in-a-century phenomenon, which it had been, presidential impeachment has become a weapon to be wielded against one’s political opponent,” Trump lawyer Ken Starr warned Senate lawmakers in the upper chamber trial almost exactly a year ago.
Conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan issued the same prophecy.
“Impeachment has now been normalized. It won’t be a once-in-a-generation act but an every-administration act. Democrats will regret it when Republicans are handing out the pens,” Noonan wrote in a column dated Jan. 16 last year. Democrats would prove her point only 12 months later.
The Democratic impeachment launched in fall 2019 had been long in the making, a culmination of media-manufactured conspiracies driven by Trump Derangement Syndrome. Democrats capitalized on an anonymous whistleblower complaint to indict the president on hail Mary charges seeking to accomplish the top item on their policy agenda. It was just minutes after Trump took the official oath of office that the Washington Post published the headline, “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.”
By the time news of the White House whistleblower complaint surfaced offering Democrats their final opportunity for impeachment before the 2020 election, the Russia hoax had failed. Their efforts to impeach over the Emoluments Clause had failed. Their efforts to impeach over James Comey’s firing had failed, and so did 80 others.
The complaint, filed anonymously, and kept anonymous by the complicit corporate media but reported to be Obama White House holdover Eric Ciaramella by RealClearInvestigations, never independently confirmed by The Federalist, charged Trump with brokering an illegal quid pro quo with Ukraine in exchange for politically motivated investigations. Trump had allegedly withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to the Eastern European ally until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged a foreign investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings in the country, an arrangement apparently outlined in a phone call between the two world leaders.
The hysterical coverage provoked the Trump White House to take the unprecedented step to release the unredacted transcript of the call in question, risking lost confidence from world leaders over fears that their discussions too could be revealed.
The grand revelation from their release, however, uncovered no such quid pro quo that Democrats would launch their impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors” over anyway. What Americans did find in the transcript was Trump demanding the foreign leader of one of the world’s most notoriously corrupt countries rid the government of corruption and investigate Ukraine’s peddling of the Russia hoax that did irreparable harm to the United States.
But Democrats’ impeachment still proceeded. Their own witnesses would either exonerate the president or destroy their own credibility, and Trump would emerge triumphant the same week of the State of the Union address that came the day after Democrats suffered a meltdown in Iowa. Absent the coronavirus panic that began a month later, Trump appeared to be sailing on a smooth course to re-election in November.
The Democrats’ asterisk impeachment, launched for the sole purpose of tainting Trump’s presidency, cheapened the process as a political weapon then, and in turn bears fruit of critics’ prophecies now.
Last year’s impeachment, despite its abysmal failure, emboldened Democrats to launch a snap impeachment this month when they were granted the political capital. Trump was impeached by the House with no hearings and no witnesses merely one week after the events of the president’s alleged offenses took place.
The Senate will now be holding the impeachment trial in February debating conviction of an ex-president after Trump left the White House Wednesday, setting a new and potentially unconstitutional precedent of Congress impeaching an individual not in office. This only further cheapens this obviously partisan process.