Philbin: “These Articles Of Impeachment On Their Face Are Defective”

PATRICK PHILBIN: Because these articles of impeachment on their face are defective and we’ve explained that. Let me start with the second article on the obstruction charge. We’ve explained that that charge is really trying to say that it’s an impeachable offense for the President to defend the separation of powers. That can’t be right. But it’s also the case that no witnesses are going to say anything that makes any difference to the second article of impeachment. That all has to do with the validity of the grounds the President asserted, the fact that he asserted long-standing constitutional prerogatives of the executive branch, specific ways to resist specific deficiencies in the subpoenas that were issued. No fact witness is going to come in and say anything that relates in any way to that. It’s not going to make any difference. And on the first article of impeachment, that too is defective on its face. And we’ve explained—we heard it again today here—they have this subjective theory of impeachment, that we’ll show abuse of power by focusing just on the President’s subjective motives. And they said again today here that the way they can show the President did something wrong is that he defied the foreign policy of the United States. I talked about that before, this theory that he defied the agencies within the executive branch, he wasn’t following the policy of the executive branch. That’s not a constitutionally coherent statement. The theory of abuse of power that they’ve framed in the first article of impeachment would do grave damage to the separation of powers under our Constitution because it would become so malleable they can pour into it anything they want to find illicit motives for some perfectly permissible action. It becomes so malleable, it’s no different than maladministration, the exact ground that the Framers rejected during the constitutional convention.