The Corner

Politics & Policy

Democrats Aren’t Interested in Talking about Trump’s ‘Crimes’ Anymore

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff speaks to reporters with Nancy Pelosi, Jerrold Nadler, Maxine Waters, Eliot Engel,Carolyn Maloney, and Richard Neal during a news conference in Washington, U.S., December 10, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake points out that Republicans have adopted a new line of defense during the impeachment hearings: Unlike former president Bill Clinton, the GOP argues, Donald Trump won’t be cited for an actual crime. A number of Democrats made a big show of offering their colleagues a civics lesson on the matter, explaining that impeachment isn’t contingent on the president having committed any obvious statutory offenses.

It’s true! Democrats can impeach Trump for virtually any reason they see fit. Then again, as you’ve no doubt have heard, the impeachment is a political process. And Republicans would be negligent if they didn’t stress that the Democrats’ articles of impeachment lacked a single criminal accusation. Especially since Dem leadership has spent months alleging that it was a moral imperative to impeach Trump because he engaged in specific acts criminality.

It’s quite convenient, no doubt, for Democrats to have unburdened themselves of the thorny business of substantiating allegations of lawbreaking right before sending their case to the Senate. But it was Adam Schiff who spent the vast majority of his inquiry time pressing the case that Trump had engaged in criminal “extortion.” It was the Democrats who told us that criminal “obstruction of justice” was evident in the Mueller Report. It was Nancy Pelosi who moved the debate away from ambiguous quid pro quo towards the very graspable concept of “bribery.” People definitely understand what “bribery” entails. Which surely made Schiff and Jerrold Nadler’s job of proving criminality much harder.

Democrats are, of course, free to impeach Trump on constitutional charges alone, but it’s not within their power to keep changing the terms of the debate every time they decide to switch up strategy. Which, as you can see, is quite often.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

Most Popular

Culture

Two NFL Apologies

So Drew Brees defended the American flag and all it stands for, said he didn’t agree with kneeling for the national anthem and correctly described this gesture of open disrespect as disrespect. "Is everything right with our country right now?" said the Saints' future Hall of Famer. "No, it is not. We still have ... Read More
Culture

Two NFL Apologies

So Drew Brees defended the American flag and all it stands for, said he didn’t agree with kneeling for the national anthem and correctly described this gesture of open disrespect as disrespect. "Is everything right with our country right now?" said the Saints' future Hall of Famer. "No, it is not. We still have ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Chesterton’s Cops

Conservatives are big on “Chesterton’s fence.” That’s G. K. Chesterton’s principle that you cannot reform what you do not understand, that you should not for the sake of convenience knock down a fence until you understand why it was put up in the first place. When encountering a fence in his way, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Chesterton’s Cops

Conservatives are big on “Chesterton’s fence.” That’s G. K. Chesterton’s principle that you cannot reform what you do not understand, that you should not for the sake of convenience knock down a fence until you understand why it was put up in the first place. When encountering a fence in his way, ... Read More
Media

The Media’s War on Words

I recently ran across a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer that lays out four racist words and phrases that should be banished from the English language. It begins like this: Editor’s note: Please be aware offensive terms are repeated here solely for the purpose of identifying and analyzing them honestly. ... Read More
Media

The Media’s War on Words

I recently ran across a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer that lays out four racist words and phrases that should be banished from the English language. It begins like this: Editor’s note: Please be aware offensive terms are repeated here solely for the purpose of identifying and analyzing them honestly. ... Read More
Education

Destroy the ‘Public’ Education System

‘Public” schools have been a catastrophe for the United States. This certainly isn’t an original assertion, but as we watch thousands of authoritarian brats tearing down the legacies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, it’s more apparent than ever. State-run schools have undercut two fundamental ... Read More
Education

Destroy the ‘Public’ Education System

‘Public” schools have been a catastrophe for the United States. This certainly isn’t an original assertion, but as we watch thousands of authoritarian brats tearing down the legacies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, it’s more apparent than ever. State-run schools have undercut two fundamental ... Read More
Culture

On the Letter

I thought it right to congratulate John MacArthur and Harper’s magazine on putting together an open letter in defense of intellectual liberty — including the liberty to make mistakes -- as a necessary component of social justice. And further congrats on assembling its broad church of signatories. MacArthur ... Read More
Culture

On the Letter

I thought it right to congratulate John MacArthur and Harper’s magazine on putting together an open letter in defense of intellectual liberty — including the liberty to make mistakes -- as a necessary component of social justice. And further congrats on assembling its broad church of signatories. MacArthur ... Read More
Media

The Unrelenting Assault on President Trump

There has never been a presidential campaign in the United States where the administration was so massively opposed by the principal media outlets as in this election. Nor, in at least a century, have the national political media so widely and thoroughly discarded the traditional criterion for journalistic ... Read More
Media

The Unrelenting Assault on President Trump

There has never been a presidential campaign in the United States where the administration was so massively opposed by the principal media outlets as in this election. Nor, in at least a century, have the national political media so widely and thoroughly discarded the traditional criterion for journalistic ... Read More