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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Impeachment Managers' Brief

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of lawThe 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

IN THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP ;
President Trump’s solicitation of foreign interference in our elections to secure his own
political success is precisely why the Framers of our Constitution provided Congress with the power to impeach a corrupt President and remove him from office. One of the Founding generation’s principal fears was that foreign governments would seek to manipulate American elections—the defining feature of our self-government. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams warned of “foreign Interference, Intrigue, Influence” and predicted that, “as often as Elections happen, the danger of foreign Influence recurs.” The Framers therefore would have considered a President’s attempt to corrupt America’s democratic processes by demanding political favors from foreign powers to be a singularly pernicious act. They designed impeachment as the remedy for such misconduct because a President who manipulates U.S. elections to his advantage can avoid being held accountable by the voters through those same elections. And they would have viewed a President’s efforts to encourage foreign election interference as all the more dangerous where, as here, those efforts are part of an ongoing pattern of misconduct for which the President is unrepentant.
The House of Representatives gathered overwhelming evidence of President Trump’s
misconduct, which is summarized in the attached Statement of Material Facts and in the
comprehensive reports prepared by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary. On the strength of that evidence, the House approved the First Article of Impeachment against President Trump for abuse of power. The Senate should now convict him on that Article. President Trump’s continuing presence in office undermines the integrity of our democratic processes and endangers our national security.
President Trump obstructed Congress by undertaking an unprecedented campaign to
prevent House Committees from investigating his misconduct. The Constitution entrusts the House with the “sole Power of Impeachment.” The Framers thus ensured what common sense requires—that the House, and not the President, determines the existence, scope, and procedures of an impeachment investigation into the President’s conduct. The House cannot conduct such an investigation effectively if it cannot obtain information from the President or the Executive Branch about the Presidential misconduct it is investigating. Under our constitutional system of divided powers, a President cannot be permitted to hide his offenses from view by refusing to comply with a Congressional impeachment inquiry and ordering Executive Branch agencies to do the same. That
conclusion is particularly important given the Department of Justice’s position that the President cannot be indicted. If the President could both avoid accountability under the criminal laws and preclude an effective impeachment investigation, he would truly be above the law.