Hidden Dangers of Impeachment
By Hal Lindsey
America’s founders knew there had to be a constitutional method for removing a president from office. But they were leery of it. They expressed concern that it might become a political weapon. They knew that if politics were to override matters of justice, an impeachment-happy Congress could radically weaken the American republic.
A few days after pronouncing that the House of Representatives was beginning an impeachment inquiry, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said something important. She said that with such an inquiry, “We must be somber, we must be prayerful, and we must pursue the facts.”
I agree that impeachment hearings should be entered into somberly and prayerfully. But prayer and a somber pursuit of facts should start well before the decision to begin the official inquiry. Once it starts, damage to the nation is already being done. Impeachment should never be a political tool. It’s much bigger than that. An impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate would override the constitutional selection of a President.
And here’s the scary part. So far, the present inquiry has been a completely partisan exercise. To my knowledge, not one Republican in the House or Senate has called for impeachment.
Did President Trump attempt to “bribe” President Zelensky of Ukraine in their phone call last summer? As a matter of policy, calls between US Presidents and other heads of state are not recorded. But the best available transcript of it was declassified by President Trump and made available to Congress and the public on September 9th. Anyone who wants to read it, can read it.
The first to testify in the hearings was Ambassador William Taylor. He did not hear the phone call. He has never met President Trump. He briefly met Rudy Giuliani once twelve years ago. His testimony was filled with opinion — lots of “I think” statements. And he told about things he heard from other people. At one point, he said, “I’m not here to take one side or the other, or to advocate any particular outcomes. Let me just restate that. Second thing is that, my understanding is only coming from people that I talk to.”
In court, they call that “hearsay.” This is a House hearing and not a court, but basic rules of evidence are still important. If hearsay evidence can be admitted, then almost anyone can testify because we’ve all “heard things.” But fairness demands “best evidence.” That means someone who was there, not someone who heard things from other people.
And if opinion can be admitted, then once again we are all qualified to testify because everyone has an opinion.
Then they had the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. She had been appointed by President Obama and was upset that President Trump wanted someone else in the position. She seems to have forgotten that when President Obama came into office, he fired all the US ambassadors around the world who had been appointed by President Bush.
This is important because Presidents conduct foreign policy. The decision about who officially represents the country is a matter of foreign policy. You don’t impeach a President for conducting foreign policy, even if you don’t agree with it.
During the hearing, President Trump was criticized for using what are called “backchannels” in foreign policy. Should a President be impeached for using a civilian rather than a State Department employee to reach out to a foreign government? Presidents have been doing it for decades, if not centuries. It was through a backchannel connection to the Soviet Union that John Kennedy was able to diffuse the Cuban Missile Crisis and avoid World War III.
State Department employees almost always resent the use of backchannels because they see it as infringing on their turf. But it is an invaluable component in a president’s foreign policy toolkit. It should have nothing to do with impeachment.
Using impeachment as a political tool is not just dangerous to this President, but to all the Presidents that will follow — whether Democrat, Republican, or something else. It’s part of the ongoing schism in American life — a schism that threatens the very fabric of the Republic. And, as I have explained elsewhere, it is a fulfillment of end-times prophecy when people groups live in rage against one another, especially when they are acting against their own self-interest.