- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Republican attorneys general of 21 states authored a scathing rebuke of the impeachment trial, urging senators to reject Democrats’ charges against President Trump.

In a 13-page letter to the U.S. Senate, the attorneys general assert House Democrats’ impeachment of Mr. Trump is nothing more than a political ploy that could destroy the Constitution’s separation of powers provision.

“If not expressly repudiated by the Senate, the theories animating both Articles will set a precedent that is entirely contrary to the Framers’ design and ruinous to the most important governmental structure protections contained in our Constitution: the separation of powers,” they wrote.

The attorneys general also allege Democrats impeached Mr. Trump as a political ploy that could undermine the democratic process and affect the 2020 presidential election.

“Even an unsuccessful effort to impeach the President undermines the integrity of the 2020 presidential election because it weaponizes a process that should only be initiated in exceedingly rare circumstances and should never be used for partisan purposes,” they wrote.

Adam Piper, executive director of the Republican Attorney General Association, said the letter demonstrates his group’s “commitment to preserving the vitality of the presidency, legacy of our founding fathers and sacredness of the impeachment process.

“The framers intended for impeachment to only be used in nonpartisan and exceedingly rare circumstances,” Mr. Piper said. “While Republicans are committed to keeping America great, Democrats are playing political games, setting a dangerous precedent for future generations and risking the mutually assured destruction of a constitutional crisis.”

The Senate is currently conducting the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump, who was impeached by House Democrats last month.

Democrats have sent two articles of impeachment to the Senate, accusing Mr. Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

But the Republican attorneys general say both impeachment articles are flawed. They claimed the abuse of power article is based on a “constitutionally flawed” legal theory.

The attorneys general say the article relies on “speculative, conclusory allegations that are contradicted by, and indeed conveniently ignore, known material facts.”

They also took aim at the second article of impeachment, saying that a president cannot be impeached for invoking executive privilege because that would render the privilege “meaningless.”

Instead of impeaching Mr. Trump for blocking witnesses from testifying, Democrats should have gone to court to enforce its subpoenas, the attorneys general wrote.

Among the more high-profile attorneys general who signed the letter are Ken Paxton of Texas, Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, Jeff Landry of Louisiana and Sean Reyes of Utah.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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