Impeachment Halts America's Agenda, Holds Due Process Hostage

Impeachment Halts America's Agenda, Holds Due Process Hostage
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Impeachment Halts America's Agenda, Holds Due Process Hostage
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
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It was all trick and no treat for the American people this Halloween. Democrats in Congress voted on a process for the already ongoing impeachment investigation that prevents Republicans from asking some types of questions and even denies witnesses access to a lawyer during testimony.  Incredible. 

When our Founding Fathers created the Constitution, one of the things they wanted to make certain was that all Americans were treated fairly. They had spent their lives under a tyrannical king who governed by whim and who’s power was unchecked.  

When it came to the judicial system, they wanted to make certain America never had a Star Chamber Court like the one in England.  The Star Chamber was, for more than 200 years, the English kings’ weapon for punishing their enemies.  Held in private, with secret witnesses, outside the rule of English Common Law, the Star Chamber’s decisions were completely arbitrary and incredibly unfair.  

The Democrats’ impeachment stampede has run right past the cornerstone of fairness in our system of government: due process.   

Due process is all about fairness. It’s the only concept repeated twice in the Constitution. The Fifth Amendment and the 14th Amendment require all levels of government to operate within the law and to provide fair procedures. In addition, the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to confront your accuser.  

Now, some Democrat lawyers are arguing the Sixth Amendment only applies to criminal cases, not to impeachment.  Maybe. The courts may need to rule on that.   

But the basic laws of fairness – and common sense – dictate that in an action as serious as impeachment, a president should be entitled to a fair and open process. What we’ve seen so far looks more like a Kangaroo Court.  

I’m also upset with what impeachment has done to Congress. The Democrats’ helter-skelter rush has frozen the House in its tracks.  

The opioid crisis rages on my home state of New Hampshire and across the country as illegal drugs flood across our border.  The House Democrats did vote on a border aid package, but they treated it like a Christmas tree, weighing it down with provisions that would hamstring the border patrol.   

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told them to try again. No response.  

President Trump's U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement has been delayed because of the uproar. The agreement was signed by President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada almost a year ago. Last week the Mexican president guaranteed the labor reforms House Democrats have demanded.

Still, those Democrats have not scheduled a vote that could mean literally thousands of new good-paying jobs for Americans.   

The train wreck on the horizon is the most frightening of Congress’ unfinished business. The bill that funds our armed forces is not moving forward. In addition, the bipartisan bill that would lower prescription drug prices is not scheduled for a floor vote this year.  

Americans should be asking themselves, “Is this what we sent these people to Washington to do?” Even further, “Is denying Donald Trump any success more important than helping the American people?”  

The Democrats, so upset over Hillary Clinton’s utter failure as a candidate, were determined from day one to get Donald Trump. Less than a month after he took the oath of office, on Feb. 6, 2017, Rep. Maxine Waters called for impeachment.  The stampede was on.  

So now, the real work of Congress is at a virtual standstill as the impeachment circus consumes Congress’ attention.  Behind closed doors, with no free access to testimony, in the dark, in the shadows, cloaked in the fog of Washington, the Democrats are conducting an impeachment investigation.   

To call it a Kangaroo Court insults kangaroos.  

Our Founding Fathers wanted to make certain that someone like Nancy Pelosi or Adam Schiff never had the power to launch an unfair process to impeach a president.  Yet that’s exactly where we are.  

I call on Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff to stop, to consider the long-term consequences of their unfair process, to end this closed-door circus and get back to work.  

Bryant “Corky” Messner, a graduate of West Point and a retired U.S. Army Ranger, is the founding partner of a national law firm, resides in New Hampshire and is a candidate for the U.S. Senate there.

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