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Nadler comes loaded with a bag of legal tricks

Betsy McCaughey on

On Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., takes over as ringmaster for the ongoing impeachment show. He's billing his opening act as an inquiry into the "historical and constitutional basis of impeachment" and "the framers' intent." Nadler claims he'll be looking into what the Constitution's authors meant by "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Don't be fooled by Nadler's scholarly posturing. He isn't planning a civics lesson. Democrats are hell-bent on impeaching Trump, so Nadler has to rewrite American history and massage the meaning of the Constitution's Impeachment Clause to fit the pile of nonevidence Adam Schiff's Intelligence Committee has produced.

Count on Nadler to come loaded with a bag of legal tricks.

Trick No. 1 is the bait and switch. Dems have already laid the bait. They swear they're reluctant to drag the nation into impeachment, but their duty to defend the rule of law requires it. "Our job is to follow the facts" and "apply the law," says committee member Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. "No one is above the law," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists.

Now get ready for the switch: At the hearing, Democrats and their handpicked legal experts will argue that a president can be impeached without breaking a law. Suddenly, impeachment isn't about upholding the rule of law. The grounds are broader -- wide enough to drive a truck through.

Why the switch? Because Dems don't have the goods to show Trump's committed a crime, even after three years of the Mueller investigation, followed by Schiff's televised spectacle.

 

Expect more deceptive claims from Nadler, including these:

No. 2: The framers wanted impeachment to apply broadly.

Sorry, but the record is airtight on this one. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the framers considered grounds for impeachment. On Sept. 8, George Mason suggested that bribery and treason were too narrow, and proposed adding "maladministration." But James Madison objected, explaining that "so vague a term will be equivalent to" saying the president serves at the pleasure of the Congress. The framers did not want to duplicate the British system, which made the executive dependent on Parliament. Mason's idea was dropped, and the framers instead agreed to the more specific term, "high crimes and misdemeanors," where "high" meant offenses committed while in high office, such as embezzling public funds.

The framers couldn't specify federal law violations, because there were no federal laws yet. But today, it's hard for any citizen to steer clear of the tangled web of federal laws. Still, the impeachers can't find a law Trump's broken.

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