What No One Mentions in the Impeachment Debate

How can you impeach your President for doing what he’s required to do?

The following is a transcript of Bob’s interview with Craig Roberts, on 11/19/2019:

It’s Life!Line with Craig Roberts. He’s the host of Northern California’s longest running conservative talk show. He’s a man with a message, a conservative with compassion. He’s Life!Line’s own Craig Roberts.

Craig Roberts: Yes. So we thought at the start of the program tonight, we’d take a couple of moments and learn a bit of a lesson about some of the purpose, the history, the scope of impeachment. Joining us is bestselling author and the host of the nationally syndicated Bob Zadek Show heard locally here in the Bay Area on 860 AM the answer — Sunday mornings at 8am PST — Bob, great to have you on the program

Bob Zadek: Thanks so much for having me.

Craig Roberts: There’s of course a massive partisan angle to all of this and as much as I think many that we see on the dais would like to purport that they understand what impeachment is all about, and one side is yelling “Impeach him!.” The other guys, the other side says “no!”

I guess it really demonstrates that outside of the fact that we’ve done this twice in the past — in 1868 with Andrew Johnson and more recently in 1998 with Bill Clinton –understanding the history, the purpose, the scope of impeachment seems to allude a lot of people take a moment if you would, and from the historical roots of this all help us better understand.

Bob Zadek: The founders debated this very important division. There was a discussion, involving James Madison and some other founders on what exactly was to be the scope of impeachment.

At the extremes, some thought the president could be impeached for maladministration — now there’s a vague word for you. Others feared that to create something as vague as “maladministration” would be in effect to have the President serve at the pleasure of the Senate. That would be far too upsetting to the balance of power that is in the design of the Constitution.

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So what we know about impeachment is it requires something more than displeasure in the House and in the Senate. We also know that from the discussion that grounds for impeachment do not necessarily require the commission of a crime. We know that for a lot of reasons.

First of all, at the time of the founding there were only three federal crimes. Now there are countless, but then there are only three.

The first use of impeachment in the constitutional sense was the impeachment of a justice on the Supreme Court — John Pickering — who came to work drunk, was abusive, was nasty, and quite an unpleasant character. That was felt by the founding generation to be sufficient grounds to impeach that Supreme Court justice. Now, he wasn’t the President, but he was impeached under the same statute that the President is being threatened to be impeached. So we have some sense of the statute.

Justice John Pickering — the first US official to be impeached.

Therefore, we are left with not much guidance as to what the official grounds on which somebody can be impeached are. We know it’s something less than criminality, something more than making people in the Senate unhappy. And beyond that, we don’t have much scope.

Now what’s interesting, Craig, is the present discussion — at least the public discussion — is missing a very important element. It appears from all that one can learn about what’s going on in Congress, that the accusation against the President is that he somehow was inducing Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, because Biden was a political opponent and therefore Trump was putting his personal interests ahead of that of the country. That’s a reasonable summary of what’s going on.

Socrates taught using the Socratic method. There’s an interesting analysis that I invite our listeners to partake in. Let us assume, and it’s a hypothetical I’m going pose, but it’s a challenging one. Craig.

Let us assume that it is suspected. I’m making this up, that Joe Biden, while he was Vice President, passed state secrets — atomic secrets — whatever you want, important secrets.

He passed the secrets to Russia or to the Ukraine, and let us assume that Trump, discovers it while in office. Trump not only would be wise to have Ukraine investigate that, but he would be guilty of treason if he didn’t, and Trump should be impeached for not doing it.

Therefore what we conclude is that if Biden was doing something bad, Trump is duty-bound to have it be investigated by anybody who can help. If we can achieve that point then, what if Biden was a suspected spy, but also running for President against Trump?

Is Trump then prohibited from investigating Biden’s possible treason? Of course not. Therefore, if what Trump did was lawful, if Biden is not running for president, then it has to be equally lawful if Biden is running for President. It can’t change, and that analysis is missing from the public debate.

Craig Roberts: Yeah, absolutely. Because of course the debate seems to be centered, at least in my opinion in watching the proceedings, thus far — it appears to be very opinion oriented. “I thought this, I thought that,” and questions related to what’s improper or inappropriate, … crazy illegal so and so forth.”

It goes on ad nauseum and yet ironically, so much of those very specific details are not being touched on. It seems to be more about, “Well this is how I felt and I think one of the underlying issues ought to be here.” And we saw this come out in the Mueller Report and that is the question of whether or not a reasonable prosecutor would bring a charge. And so far that really has not been up for discussion.

Bob Zadek: Craig, I was in a private meeting with a member of the House of Representatives quite recently — a very smart fellow. He pointed out to the group in his presence that he was a Republican, and there are four federal statutes, all of which were approved and signed by by Schiff, and by Pelosi — each of the four required (not suggested, that’s an important word, required) the President to carefully look into corruption in the Ukraine before any foreign aid was given to the Ukraine.

So Trump, whether he knew it or not (I’m not a mind reader) was obeying four federal statutes. If he hadn’t done that, that would be grounds for impeachment. He didn’t know basic law. So the only variable is it also happened to be that Biden is his opponent, possibly in a presidential election.

That additional fact cannot make an otherwise compulsory and certainly lawful act wrongful. That is the obvious and fatal fallacy. And nobody has mentioned these four federal statutes, each of which named the Ukraine as being the third most corrupt country on earth and requiring the President to investigate corruption! Certainly what he was doing was investigating corruption, i.e., doing what the law compelled him to do.

How can you impeach your President for doing what he’s required to do?

Craig Roberts: Well, and they perhaps should also be mindful that when they wish to expand the impeachment powers, the remedies go beyond its constitutional limits in this case, hoping in a sense to punish the President, and deal with a guy that they don’t like. Well, remember that caught that sword can cut in the opposite direction at a potential later date, creating even more problems for the future of the Republic.

I post-script here, it was many years ago but I have a little familiarity with the Ukraine. I have been there. I’ve spent time there and even when I was there, albeit a decade ago, better than 50% of its economy turned on the black market. You talk about the breadth and depth of corruption. If 50% of the entire country’s GDP is black market driven, wow. Says a lot.

Bob Zadek lawyer, host of the Bob Zadek show, heard Sunday mornings at 8:00 AM on our sister station, 860 am — The Answer. We invite you to tune in for that. Check them out online. Lots of great resources, podcasts. And all of it at BobZadek.com

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http://bobzadek.com • host of The Bob Zadek Show on 860AM – The Answer.