Philbin: “Defects” In Dems’ Impeachment Case Are Because It Was “Purely Political” To Begin With

PATRICK PHILBIN: So why is it that there are all of these defects in the House managers’ case for impeachment? Why are they asserting principles like, “only the guilty would assert privileges”? That’s not part of our system of law. Why are they asserting that if the executive resists, the House has the sole power to determine the boundaries of its own power in relation to the executive? Also, not something that is in our system of jurisprudence. And why the lack of due process in the proceedings below? I think as we’ve explained, it’s because this was a purely partisan impeachment from the start. It was purely partisan and purely political and that’s something that the Framers foresaw. I’ll point to one passage from Federalist 65—a number of different passages from that have been cited over the course of the past week, but I don’t think this one has. It’s just after Hamilton points out—he warns that “an impeachment in the House could be the result of persecution of an intemperate or designing majority in the House of Representatives.” Then he goes on, “Though this latter supposition may seem harsh, and might not likely often to be verified, yet it ought not to be forgotten that the demon of faction will at certain seasons extend his scepter over all numerous bodies of men.” Now, that’s very 18th century language. We don’t talk about “demons extending their scepter over men,” but it’s prescient, nonetheless. We might not be comfortable with the terms, but it’s accurate for what can happen. That is what’s happened in this impeachment. This was a purely partisan political process. It was opposed bipartisanly in the House. It was done by a process that was not designed to persuade anyone, or to get to the truth, or to provide process and abide by past precedents. It was done to get it finished by Christmas on a political timetable. And it’s not something this chamber should condone. That in itself provides a sufficient and substantial reason for rejecting the articles of impeachment.