Last night, Daily Wire Editor-at-Large Josh Hammer, a constitutional attorney by training, joined “Tipping Point With Liz Wheeler” on One America News Network to discuss the latest twists and turns in Democrats’ ongoing partisan impeachment saga, as well as to recap the deeply flawed nature of House Democrats’ two finalized articles of impeachment.
“House Democrats emerged from a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning to finally announce the much-delayed vote on sending their articles of impeachment against President Trump — passed nearly a month ago without a single Republican vote — to the Senate,” The Daily Wire’s James Barrett reported earlier today. “The big vote will take place Wednesday, though one particularly important detail has yet to be determined: who exactly from the House is going to be presenting the Democrats’ case against the duly elected president during the Senate trial,” Barrett continued.
In a New York Post op-ed last month, Hammer explained why House Democrats’ second article of impeachment, “obstruction of Congress,” is “an utterly ridiculous impeachment charge”:
Our tripartite separation-of-powers edifice was hardly devised for the purpose of ensuring amiability between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. On the contrary, the Framers envisioned a national government in which the three branches existed in a state of continuous, unyielding tension with one another.
In particular, the two political branches — Congress and the executive branch — were meant to be jealous guardians of their own ambits and spheres of influence. Ceaseless tussling between them was to be the norm. “Ambition,” James Madison told us in Federalist 51, “must be made to counteract ambition.” …
That is how our separation of powers is supposed to function — in a state far closer to animosity than to geniality. Which is precisely why House Democrats alleging “obstruction of Congress” as an article of impeachment makes no sense.
Wheeler began the segment last night by asking about that deeply problematic second article of impeachment. Wheeler noted that the Democrats accused the president of “obstructi[ng]” Congress without even waiting for the judiciary to weigh in with respect to congressional subpoenas issued for Trump administration officials. Hammer agreed and also reiterated, in similar fashion to the Post op-ed, that the article of impeachment is also non-sensical from the broader perspective of structural constitutionalism:
[T]his impeachment charge is so risible. … The entire separation of powers construct is built around tension. The three branches of government — the legislative branch, the executive branch, the judicial branch — are not … intended to exist in some state of harmony. … No, that’s not what the Framers envisioned.
James Madison, in The Federalist No. 51, maybe the most famous Federalist Paper of them all, clearly says “ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” They’re supposed to be zealous guardians of their own idiosyncratic spheres of influence. They’re supposed to butt heads. They’re supposed to use all the various tools at their disposal to push back and try to encroach upon each other’s spheres. They’re [each] supposed to want to be the most dominant branch. Each one is supposed to not get along with the others. …
Wheeler agreed, noting that the second impeachment charge is therefore “both practically and philosophically ridiculous.”