In breaking news Tuesday night, Sen. Lindsay Graham is introducing a resolution in the Senate condemning the House of Representatives for its illegitimate, closed-door “impeachment inquiry.” The rationale is that they cannot allow future Presidents to be subject to such an unconstitutional process. “All I’m asking is give Donald Trump the same rights as Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had when it comes to impeachment,” he says. He’s telling us that Trump "should be given the rights that every American is given when he gets a parking ticket. And if he is not, then when the case gets to the Senate, it should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial.”
As White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in his letter to the committee heads, “[Y]ou have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process. For example, you have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans...All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent.”
In news that broke on Tuesday, congressional Republicans seeking to view transcripts of the House Intelligence Committee's hearings haven’t even been permitted to have a copy in their possession. They go into a special viewing room accompanied by a “minder” (!), a Democratic staffer present to make sure they don’t make notes or take papers out. You know that if these transcripts furthered their impeachment narrative, Democrats would be doing everything they could to make them public, not hide them. What does this tell you? This is why you should pay no attention to mainstream media leaks about any of the testimony, no matter how much CNN and MSNBC salivate over it. It is cherry-picked and essentially worthless.
As Devin Nunes said to Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening, “I’ve described it as watching a slow-motion crazy train that’s going into impeachment fantasyland looking for the Loch Ness monster.” He also pointed out that if this were on the other side, the Democrats would be screaming for the transcripts.
The inquiry is being led by California Rep. Adam Schiff, whom we already know has lied multiple times and is likely to be a fact witness in the case, having had contact with the “whistleblower” on the fake story concerning Trump and Ukraine. (We may never know who this person was, or even if there was such a person at all.) With the conditions he’s setting up for the “inquiry,” he’s even outdoing Hillary on the Nixon/Watergate case.
In fact, we thought it might be enlightening to look back at how the Nixon case was handled, and a great historical source for this is the 1999 book HELL TO PAY, by Barbara Olson --- a fine attorney and conservative commentator (wife of attorney Ted Olson) who was killed on American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11 --- about Hillary Clinton, who at age 26 was one of the attorneys on the Watergate committee staff. It was a plum assignment; she was one of only two female lawyers in the group of forty. Pages 120-126, under the chapter subhead “Watergate: lessons learned,” summarize her work on that committee, and what was seen as stunning overreach back then is now business as usual for the Democrat impeach-Trump crowd in 2019.
Hillary started with the committee in January 1974; her main assignment was “to make sure that the inquiry conformed to legal and parliamentary procedure.” But according to an article by journalist Renata Adler in THE ATLANTIC two years later, John Doar, who was special counsel for the House Judiciary investigation of Nixon, had meant to use this legal team as “legal window dressing.” Hillary was on a mission to take Nixon down, though, and her zealousness got her into the “inner circle” of lawyers. Then, as would surprise no one reading this today, her OVER-zealousness kicked in.
“She proposed a gag order on Judiciary Committee members,” Olson wrote, “a measure that would have prevented them from cross-examining witnesses or drafting their own articles of impeachment; all power, in other words, would rest with Doar’s staff. The elected committee members would be mere marionettes in a Doar-Rodham show trial. The Judiciary Committee members were stunned.
“William Dixon, a member of the committee staff, later [said] that Hillary ‘paid no attention to the way the Constitution works in this country, the way politics works, the way Congress works, the way legal safeguards are set up.’ Hillary’s protocols were so poorly conceived and drafted that Rep. Jack Brooks, the populist Democrat from Texas, had no choice but to line up a committee vote to strike them down.”
Does this sound familiar? I’m sure the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee who in 2019 aren’t even being allowed to attend hearings and can’t even look at the transcripts without a “minder” present would say it does. The difference between then and now is that then, the Democrats in Congress STRUCK DOWN such over-the-top rules. As much as they wanted to impeach Nixon, they realized this went too far. Today, they are doing this and more to the Republicans. They are so partisan, they have gone off the rails.
Doar and his circle of attorneys are described in HELL TO PAY as “driven by a secretiveness that rivaled that of the Nixon White House itself, with similar antipathies toward democratic processes. They seemed to believe that an open inquiry could not be trusted to come to the proper conclusion. It would have to be orchestrated by smart young people like Hillary Rodham and her general, John Doar.”
Again, sound familiar? Olson could have been talking about Strzok and Page, or perhaps Andrew Weissmann, whom we now must acknowledge was the real force behind the “Mueller” probe.
In a report she wrote to Doar, Hillary said that “to limit impeachable conduct to criminal offenses would be incomopatible with the evidence concerning the constitutional meaning of the phrase...” (Never mind the irony that her husband’s later impeachment would bring to this statement.) This is precisely the argument today’s Democrats will make if they can’t find any actual crime committed by Trump after years of trying.
Even among Doar’s impeachment-hungry staff, not everyone was appreciative of Hillary’s overkill. There was William Dixon, and chief counsel for the Judiciary Committee Jerry Zeifman was not on board, either. He “had every reason to feel he was being shut out by his special counsel, Doar. Zeifman later concluded, ‘It seems to me that Haldeman and Ehrlichman are crude amateurs at arrogance in comparison to the more polished and sophisticated arrogance and deceit of some of Doar’s assistants.’”
The difference today is that this haughty, win-at-all-costs attitude has gone on to infect the elected representatives conducting their “inquiry.” They don’t care if they rip up the Constitution they have sworn to uphold or if they destroy the balance of power as long as they get Trump. Those who DO CARE are going to have to do something to stop this.
By the way, here’s one example of why Adam Schiff’s “inquiry” is so secret: