On Wednesday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show,” Knowles talks about the Trump administration’s response to Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry. Video and partial transcript below:
Very, very Trumpy letter sent from the White House to congressional Democrats about the impeachment inquiry. There have been some question about whether the White House is going to let certain people testify or not testify before Congress. Basically, what it comes down to is will the White House cooperate with this impeachment inquiry, or are they going to stonewall and tell the Democrats to shove it?
Now, I’m not a gambling man, but if I were, I probably would have bet on the latter. And if I had, I would’ve won a lot of money. This letter puts it in no uncertain terms, the White House is not going to cooperate. The striking thing about this letter is it reads not like it was written by a White House lawyer. It reads like it was written by Trump himself. I’m sure it was written by lawyers because there are a lot of details in it, but the language, and the rhetoric, and the tone, obviously, has been set from the very top, and that begins with President Trump.
So the letter goes:
Dear Madam Speaker and Mrs. Chairman:
I write on behalf of President Donald J. Trump in response to your numerous, legally unsupported demands made as part of what you have labeled — contrary to the Constitution of the United States and all passed by partisan precedent — as an “impeachment inquiry.” As you know, you have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.
This is an important way to begin, because you might remember from past impeachments — I guess for most people, the only one they’ve lived through is Bill Clinton, then they were about to impeach Richard Nixon, and you probably weren’t alive in the 1860s for the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
One thing that’s been very strange in the coverage of this impeachment is they keep referring to the “formal impeachment inquiry,” the official formal impeachment inquiry. And they’re saying this in the mainstream media to give this impeachment push this air of legal seriousness, to give it an air of being official.
But what is a formal impeachment inquiry? Drew Klavan says it is that you put on your tiara and a nice ball gown, and then you talk about impeachment. It’s not like the House has taken a vote on anything, they haven’t impeached the president. They haven’t taken a vote to impeach the president. [It’s] just Nancy Pelosi came out one day and said, Yes we’re going to start an impeachment inquiry, and we’re going to give it to some committees.
But that’s not how impeachment really works. And so for right now, it’s all just bluster. It’s all just a way to drag people from the White House, in front of Congress, on television, during an election year. Because, the impeachment inquiry such as it is, is fundamentally political. Not legal, but political.
This gets to another reason why it’s illegitimate. We’ll get to that in a second. But that’s the setup. What the White House is saying, is that what you are doing is not valid, it is not legitimate, you’re not following the normal legal processes, and so we are not going to participate. They go on:
For example, you’ve denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans. You have conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening the Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives. All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives — under the control of either political party — taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue.
Now, the key here is the separation of powers, because the way that the House is describing this impeachment process is, they’re saying, We have a right. We have a duty, as a coequal branch of government to rein in the executive. We are going to go in there and take the executive down for what, I don’t know what is it, collusion with Ukraine now?
It used to be collusion with Russia, then it was Stormy Daniels. They’re going to find something because in D.C., you could indict a ham sandwich. So they’re going to try to find some legal basis for impeaching Trump, but this is obviously an impeachment in search of a crime.
The separation of powers here matters because what people are not talking about is reining in the Congress. The reason that the Founders and the Framers of our Constitution set up this impeachment process is to prevent oversteps by the executive. Sure, but also oversteps by the legislature, because it’s not as though Congress is the most important branch of government. It’s a coequal branch: One of three.
This is actually why, if the president is impeached, he will go to trial in the Senate, and presiding over that trial will be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Why is the Chief Justice there? Is the Chief Justice there because he has a really nice robe and he looks really good and he can smile on camera? No, he’s there because he represents a coequal branch of government.