The media and elite Hollywood influencers have had a difficult time accepting the Senate’s acquittal of the president in his impeachment trial.
Having considered the arguments against the process and ultimate verdict in the Senate, and accepting that the verdict was predictable from the start...both the House and the Senate arrived at their conclusions in this matter in an entirely partisan fashion...should we be alarmed by some of the concerns being raised about the Senate process and verdict?
Case in point, in the Fox Halftime report of February 6, Judge Napolitano summarily convicts the president of the high crimes and misdemeanors required by the constitution for removal from office. The headline for his piece was, "Trump Clearly Guilty of a High Crime." Let’s consider his concerns.
He insists justice cannot be served "without a single witness; a single document; cross examination; or the defendant showing up." This argument is a common one heard from the verdict’s dissenters. However, everyday all across the country defendants are summarily acquitted and cases dismissed as judges use their discretionary power to dismiss charges without a trial if the evidence is considered flawed or insufficient. And, often defense lawyers rather than their clients appear in court for the court proceedings.
The impeachment case sent forward by the House was flawed...as their managers admitted by insisting they needed additional witnesses to prove their case. For a jury of 100 politically sensitive Senators to toss out the votes of over 60 million Americans in order to remove a president from office, the case must be airtight. One indicator of the public’s concerns about the president’s behavior is their reaction to the “convincing case” being brought by the House as expressed in public polling. In this case the president’s poll numbers actually improved during the impeachment process.
Additionally, many challenging the verdict in the Senate have accepted the Bolton quotes from a NYT's leak at face value, saying Bolton's, "quotes demonstrate that the House's case against Trump was true." This claim is doubtful in many minds outside the beltway because of Bolton’s desire to sell books and his previous public testimony contradicting the NYT’s leak on the subject of the President and Ukraine.
Without accepting the presidential legal team's (I think flawed) argument that anything the president does is legitimate if he truly thinks it is in the country's best interest...it is certainly possible to envision issues where the country's interests (in Ukrainian corruption, for example) and the president's personal interests (in the roles the Bidens played in the corruption) could intersect without the actions being impeachable.
To dismiss the president's stated concerns that Ukrainian corruption was a significant issue to the White House is to ask the Senate to judge the president's motives in order to impeach...seems a stretch to many of us outside the beltway.
As for the "Contempt of Congress" charge; many of us would be more impressed with the House's case had they taken their arguments to the federal courts as the constitutional arbiters for such disagreements before bringing these charges. If the president had defied House requests for information AND court orders, the House charges would have had merit.
I disagree with the president's argument that the Ukrainian call was "perfect." It does represent a misjudgment on his part; however, wrong does NOT equal impeachable.
Contrary to the expressed concerns that the Senate should have finished the work begun by the House impeachment investigation, I don't believe the constitution requires the Senate to make the House's case...merely judge it. The Senate (and millions of Americans) found conclusions contained in the House investigation unconvincing. Most of the hand-wringing...on both sides of the aisle was politically inspired and not legally relevant.
Since the Senate's 67 vote requirement to convict does essentially impose a bipartisan vote for conviction, perhaps we should consider requiring bipartisan support in the House before impeachment charges can be sent to the Senate and establish some sort of censure process to allow the Congress to strenuously oppose a president's actions while not overturning millions of voters’ expressed will?
A censure of President Trump over his Ukrainian actions would surely have passed in both branches of the legislature. However the charges did not rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” required by the constitution for removal from office by impeachment.
Although impeached, neither President Clinton nor President Trump were ever in danger of being removed from office. Though never impeached, President Nixon was removed (resigned) from office by the bipartisan Congressional effort to bring him to trial.
History shows that the American voters agreed with all three results. It is to our national credit and the foresight of our founders that America has never removed a president from office on political grounds.