Friday night on Almanac, Larry Jacobs of the U of M’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance in the Hubert H. Humphrey School was interviewed about the impeachment process. Early in the interview, Jacobs said that “these folks are new to the process. We’ve already seen Congressman Schiff make some mistakes. Washington Post already called him out for a Pinocchio because he wasn’t fully forthcoming about his relationships and his conversations with the whistleblower.”
Adam Schiff didn’t lie because he was “new to the process.” Schiff lied because he’s a dishonest political hack. Further, that isn’t the only lie Rep. Schiff told. His opening statement at the Maguire hearing was a complete fabrication. Why Speaker Pelosi picked Schiff to be her point person on this is puzzling.
Later, Jacobs said that we’ll start seeing subpoenas getting sent out to the White House. That’s wrong, too, because they aren’t considered by judges to be subpoenas until you have a vote of the Committee of the Whole, which is as it sounds. That’s where all 435 representatives vote, in this case to open an impeachment inquiry. Because Ms. Pelosi hasn’t held that vote, we don’t have an official inquiry.
That’s an important distinction because courts look at those so-called subpoenas as “requests for information” if they aren’t issued for “legislative purposes.” It’s an issue of separation of powers. If Congress wants to impeach a president, then it’s given limited law enforcement authorities. Otherwise, their subpoenas must be done for legislative purposes.
Later in the interview, Jacobs said “These are sacred values and law. The president has been, both openly and behind the scenes, talking to foreign powers about contributing to his domestic political campaign.” That’s false. Further, Jacobs doesn’t have proof that verifies his allegations. At the top of page 3 of the Trump-Zelensky phone call transcript, President Trump said “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike — I guess you have one of your weal thy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation.”
There’s no way that can be construed as President Trump asking foreign powers to contribute to his re-election campaign. This can’t be construed that way either:
The other thing, there’s a lot talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it — It sounds horrible to me.
You’d have to find a thoroughly liberal judge to rule that as a campaign finance violation. I’m talking about a judge to the left of the judges on the Ninth Circuit. I don’t know if such a critter exists. But I digress.
Let’s stipulate for this conversation that it is a campaign finance violation. Even if that’s true, that’s usually handled by the candidate writing a check to the FEC. I’ve yet to see that type of dispute resolved through impeachment.
It’s indisputable that Richard Nixon would’ve been impeached and convicted if he hadn’t resigned his office. Kenneth Starr cited multiple felonies that he accused Bill Clinton of committing. In the end, Clinton surrendered his Arkansas law license and pay the plaintiff almost $1,000,000. Both of those impeachment inquiries started by investigating charged crimes.
Can Professor Jacobs seriously insist that the Trump impeachment semi-inquiry is even close in terms of a constitutional crisis as Nixon telling staff to destroy documents and wiretap phone conversations without a warrant? That’s what a legitimate constitutional crisis looks like. What’s happening now is a farce. To mention the 2 things together is silly.