When the impeachment follies moved to the Judiciary Committee, four constitutional scholars were summoned to testify before the panel. Three of them were invited by Democrats. Those were Michael Gerhardt, Noah Feldman and Pamela Karlan. The Republicans were allowed to invite a single scholar of their own, Jonathan Turley. When Congressman Matt Gaetz had his turn to ask questions, things got a little spicy, and it didn’t all have to do with the various points each of the witnesses were making. In fact, he brought up some interesting tidbits from the background of the scholars invited by the Democrats. (Fox News)
House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., grilled three of the four impeachment panel witnesses for their past support for Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, and admonished one for making a joke at the expense of the teenage son of President Trump.
Gaetz began his allotted five minutes of question time by responding to the previous questioner, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem S. Jeffries, D-N.Y., who noted that Americans had elected a Democrat majority in the House to serve as a check on Trump.
“The will of the American people also elected Donald Trump to be president of the United States in the 2016 election, and there’s one party that can’t seem to get over it,” Gaetz said, adding that unlike Jeffries’ caucus, Republicans haven’t focused all of their resources on attempting to remove the top official in the opposing party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
If you watched this bit of the circus, you already know how it played out. Gerhardt, Feldman and Karlan all set forth their own interpretations of constitutional law explaining why the Intelligence Committee hearings proved that President Trump had committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors and should be removed from office. Turley then described with equal enthusiasm why Trump’s actions failed to meet that bar.
This is yet another example of situations where the art of interpretation fails to serve as a substitute for science. I’ve long opined that economics shouldn’t be taught in college unless it’s moved into the same school as religion. You can find expert economists out there who will state that raising taxes will produce the best results for the economy. You can also find a separate army of scholars in the same field who say that lowering taxes is the correct way to go. Both of these things can not be simultaneously correct, but they all make a fine living arguing about it on cable news. Working as a constitutional scholar probably falls into the same category.
But getting back to the bits of background trivia that Gaetz was tossing out for the crowd, some of them were quite interesting. It turns out that Gerhardt was a donor to Barack Obama. Karlan had given thousands of dollars to Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren.
When it came to the impartiality of Feldman, Gaetz noted that he had published an article in April of 2017 suggesting that Donald Trump should be impeached. That was when Trump had been in office for less than four months and it was long before the Ukraine phone call and well ahead of the full-blown fury of the Russia, Russia, Russia investigation. Gee… do you wonder how he might have arrived this week at the conclusion that Trump should be impeached?
We didn’t get any information on Turley’s background from Gaetz. For the record, I checked Open Secrets and couldn’t find him listed as a donor. But some of his previous writings suggest that he might have looked more favorably on conservative philosophies when interpreting the intent of the Founders.
The point is, if the Republicans had been allowed to invite three scholars and the Democrats only one, you could have produced precisely the opposite results. So what was the point of doing it? If you’re going to examine the President’s actions while sniffing around for potential High Crimes and Misdemeanors, the only course of action to follow is to stick to the fact. If this impeachment is based on interpretations, beliefs and feelings, the actions of the people pushing for Trump’s removal won’t be painted in a favorable way in the history books.