- - Wednesday, February 17, 2021

President Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate on Saturday by a vote of 57-43. The anticlimactic vote came after the former president was impeached by the Trump-hating, Nancy Pelosi-controlled House of Representatives last month on one count of willfully inciting the riot that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

House impeachment managers could not convince two-thirds of the Senate to convict the 45th president of the flimsy impeachment charge because they couldn’t explain away Mr. Trump’s own words from Jan. 6, when he said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

The Democrats’ latest effort to cancel the Trump presidency also failed because 44 senators voted that the entire trial was unconstitutional. The vote demonstrated that you can’t impeach a former president since it’s impossible to remove them from office if convicted. This common sense notion — as detailed in the U.S. Constitution — was too much for the radical House Democrats to overcome.  

Unfortunately, the damage has been done. The Democrats have proven that Trump Derangement Syndrome is still alive and well, even post-presidency.  The Democrats still hate the former president more than they love their country. Tragically, impeaching him with little to no debate, no due process and then attempting to convict him after he left office will do lasting damage to our republic.  

Precedent matters. Rules, previous decisions and customs are to be ignored at one’s own peril. Prior to the administration of Donald Trump, the delicate process of impeaching a duly elected president of the United States had only been resorted to once in the 19th century and twice in the 20th century. Perhaps most significantly, impeachment had never been used as a mechanism to punish a former political adversary who is no longer sitting in the Oval Office — until now.

Today’s unhinged Democrats — led by Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi — made the decision to plow forward and rush to judgment with a snap post-presidential impeachment without ever stopping to think about future consequences.

Now that the Democrats have irresponsibly and recklessly broken precedent, it’s a good time to look to the past and ask some questions. After President Nixon resigned in 1974, why didn’t the Democrat-dominated Congress continue the impeachment process to punish him for his alleged crimes? And after President Clinton left office in 2001, why didn’t the Republican-controlled Congress impeach him for his last-minute pardons of fugitive financier Marc Rich, cocaine trafficker Carlos Vignali and others pushed by Hillary Clinton’s brothers?

The Republicans could have made Bill Clinton the first president to be impeached twice, but it would have been something too absurd — and unconstitutional — to consider.  

The political leaders in charge of making such decisions at the time were relying on precedent. They respected the office of the presidency too much to weaken it with a short-sighted political stunt. These congressional leaders understood that impeachment of a president must only be used as a last resort.

And in those days — not so long ago — the twisted thought of impeaching a former president would have been dismissed as lunacy by everyone, including the mainstream media. But today, the mainstream media acts as a check on only one political party, while allowing the other to do things that we’re all going to regret for a very long time — like impeaching a former president.  

Thanks to the left-wing Democrats, no one should take comfort in where this is headed. If Republicans win back control of Congress in 2022 — under the new rules — who should they impeach first? The obvious choice would be the sitting president, Joe Biden, for his alleged involvement in his family’s shady overseas business dealings in China and Ukraine. Vice President Kamala Harris could also be impeached for a tweet she sent out last year to assist rioters in Minnesota with raising funds for bail. Sen. Lindsey Graham is right — these irresponsible Democrats have “opened Pandora’s Box.”  

But what’s stopping Republicans from taking it a step further in the name of “what goes around comes around”? Republicans could impeach President Obama for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the FISA warrants against Donald Trump. For that matter, Hillary Clinton could be impeached and convicted for her infamous email scandal so she’s barred from running for president again. After witnessing the latest Democrat sham impeachment, who can argue with a straight face that this somehow isn’t allowed?

So, where does this all end? It ends when cooler heads prevail and the American people demand respect for the office of the presidency and our republic.  

• David N. Bossie is president of Citizens United, 2016 deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump for President and the former chief investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight during the Clinton administration.

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