This impeachment felt like a bad divorce: One person walks away with everything, having gutted the house. The other gets the gutted house to build their life upon.

I am sidestepping the guilt or less-than-full-guilt — surely not innocence as Lamar Alexander admitted — but rather I worry for process and fairness. Once a structure that is meant to enlighten is torn asunder and set as precedent, to whom or to what might we look for redress when the next harm is done?

I am a process person. I like to have structure to make things move as smoothly and unbiased as possible. Process is there to help cool ardor and help restrain villainy. Now the Senate has chosen to redefine what a trial looks like. It has chosen to ignore that a president — regardless of party — can quash witnesses and documents when the House requests or subpoenas them.

If you see yourself on the “winning side,” you are not looking at the big picture: How will the House and Senate adjudicate wrongdoing by future presidents when witnesses and evidence are no longer required?

What if the House and Senate use the same technique when the president is of the “other” party? The outcome would feel very different and threatening. What happens when they condemn without documents and witnesses? The stage is now set for that.

Congress has chosen to gut a balance of power that was meant to protect the nation.

If you can dare to step back and look at the loss of process and put yourself in a room where no evidence is allowed to acquit you, and those in judgment do it with minds made up, is that what you want?

If you are actually innocent and called upon to document your actions and allow witnesses to speak to your actions and innocence, that should be a process you would welcome. But here it was not.

But when that is swept away, is one judged innocent if there is no demonstration of fact?

On top of the loss of justice, without impeachment we must now reconcile ourselves with the idea that whatever a president does cannot be considered a crime.

I find that horrifying, not just for now but for the future of our country as a whole. That sounds like tyranny to me. To never be able to question the actions of a senator, representative or president because they believed their self interest equals national interest?

Self interest is just that — it includes no one else. It is delusional to think that one person’s personal goal overrides just process.

One can argue about the merits of the case brought in any impeachment. Opinions will vary, but that is what evidence, witnesses and paying attention to arguments are meant to provide: clarity wrought by process.

Left to ourselves, humans will choose self interest, and that is why we need process to guide us and not be swept away just because it is an election year, and fear of failing seems greater than judicial process.

We need to guard against ourselves.

So our house is divided and a rule of justice has been made moot. And on that day when the time comes that another president commits a great crime, will we sit by and allow him/her to say, “No documents. No witnesses. I did it in the national interest and you must, by precedent, allow me to continue.”

It is not an election thing that happened; it was a very small earthquake that will come back to shake our very core.

In fact, it has done just that now, but the heady inebriation of what feels like victory for some has clouded our national judgment and traded the expedient for the righteous.

Having cut down due process, behind what law shall we hide ourselves when this president or any other decides to do more in their self interest? Just where shall we look for justice and honor then?

Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.

(31) comments

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Jim Tomashoff

This assertion from someone who posts as often as I do. This is at least the 20th time you've indicated that you are "finished." You have no sense of yourself at all. But like most ignorant rubes you demean education and actual knowledge. You're too lazy to do real research, you just hate others who are more qualified to comment on current affairs than you, which is just about everyone.

Jim Tomashoff

Conrad wrote: "But how do you feel when conservatives use the liberal strategy of pushing it right back in your face Chicago style?" I have no idea what he's referring to. To remind him, 2018 actually occurred after 2017, when Trump became President, so it was quite clear that he had already committed several actions that were potentially impeachable offenses.

Ed Pieczynski

Hey Joyce, the "bad precedent" was the partisan impeachment period. After calling for his impeachment for three and a half years the truth was revealed when Dem politicians publicly stated "if we don't impeach him he may get reelected."

Jim Tomashoff

Please provide footnoted examples where "...Dem politicians publicly stated 'if we don't impeach him he may get reelected."

Peyton Cook

You won’t find these remarks in the “fake news” media, but the remarks are true.

Jim Tomashoff

Then perhaps Ed can share these remarks, with footnotes as to sources, in whatever media he wants.

Conrad Meyer

Here is one Jim - took all of 5 seconds to find it as it has been repeated thousands of time on the mob media. I presume a video is even better than something in writing.

Al Green repeated it three times in case you didn't hear it the first time....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3mffaPZA6Y

Jim Tomashoff

Well, he did indeed say it. Did anyone else in Congress say it? Or is your view that if one Democrat says it then all Democrats in elected office must share his views? And Congressman Green did not repeat it three times, the edited clip repeated three times.

Jim Tomashoff

One other point. I believe the implication you have in mind is that Democrats chose to impeach Trump while not truly believing that he had committed the High Crimes and Misdemeanors, impeachment was a tactic to get rid of him. I truly believe that the Democrats did, and still do, believe Trump's actions, as spelled out in the two Articles of Impeachment, warranted his being convicted of them and removed from office. I'm sure you disagree, but so what?

Conrad Meyer

Hey Jim, a little sore that I easily found a democrat that said that "he had to be impeached because he will win"? I could probably find more.

Here is another reaction from my old home state.

Remember squad member Rashida Tlaib when she pronounced that she was going to "impeach the mfer" in 2018? I do and I will contribute to her competitor. She walked out of the SOTU speech, triggered by the Kavanaugh comment.

Hey Jim, how do you like the "squad" - the future of your party? I despise them.

Of course I'm sure you will disagree, but so what? Frankly, I couldn't care less about your opinion on my comments. But how do you feel when conservatives use the liberal strategy of pushing it right back in your face Chicago style?

Jim Tomashoff

You know Conrad, initially you started out with comments that were worth considering. But your comments on all things impeachment show that you are just another ignorant and foolish conservative, and not all conservatives are, there are many I have respected and some I still respect. Tell you what. You want to debate political developments, law, and legal process with me? Go to graduate school at an Ivy League quality school (UNC Chapel Hill or Duke will do nicely), get a Masters Degree in Government, take their law school's Constitutional Law class for credit even though you don't have to, read two or three dozen books on Constitutional Law, the American Revolution, American Government History and biographies of great Americans (I average three or four of the above a year), then we'll debate. In the meantime, as a great congresswoman said during the Judiciary Committee's consideration of impeaching Nixon, "You're entitled to you own opinion, but not your own facts." Consider that before you constantly remind us of your obvious lack of knowledge when it comes to actual facts.

Ed Pieczynski

Jim: A simple Google search: "Saturday on MSNBC, Rep. Al Green (D-TX) said he is concerned is the Democrats do not begin impeachment proceedings in the House President Donald Trump will win the election in 2020. Green said, “I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected. "

Judi Rhodes

Congressman Al Green of Texas made the statement.

Judi Rhodes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjnevmyeYDU

Peyton Cook

The President was found not guilty by the Senate, which followed “due process “ which the House did not. There were no further witnesses nor documents which was the case in the Clinton Impeachment. Both Schumer and Nadler were in Congress during the Clinton trial and both counseled against both. This was the opposite in the Trump Senate trial. The House Impeachment investigation also ignored “due process “ in never voting for a Resolution of Impeachment. Pelosi her self shut down the process in her haste to get the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. She then held on to the Articles while the Democrats tried to browbeat the Senate to continue the House’s job in the Senate. The House investigation also denied the President “due process” by refusing to allow the Republican members of both the Intelligence or Judicial Committees to call any witnesses. So much for “due process”. The Senate followed the correct procedure by debating the Articles given them and then correctly voted the President “not guilty”. He was not impeached as Pelosi alleges.

Jim Tomashoff

He was impeached. As usual you display your ignorance of both process and facts. Impeachment constitutes an "indictment." If one is indicted for a crime one if indicted forever. The next step is a trial. The Senate did not find Trump guilty in his trial, but he is, and will always be, indicted/impeached.

Ed Pieczynski

And following your logic he is and will always be not guilty.

Jim Tomashoff

It is true that he will always be not guilty. And he is and will always be impeached. This is not the result of my logic, it is simply a legal fact. Sorry if you have trouble with understanding that.

Peyton Cook

So say you. He is still President, and working hard to help all American citizens, even you “never Trumpers”. My question to you is, How has he hampered your lifestyle?

Mark Hayes

" I did not have sexual relations with that woman ". Well, that is good enough for us Bill, works for me.

Robert Zschoche

Joyce, I am glad you are a 'process' person. So am I. I did not see any of your thoughts about the 'process' in the House. Was it open? Was it done in accordance with the 'process' of prior impeachment proceedings? I await your answer. Bob Zschoche

Jim Tomashoff

The "process" worked exactly as the Framers intended. They could never have envisioned one "faction" acting as a blind cult. Instead, part of one Branch seriously weakened their own Branch of government, putting the balance of powers, designed to maintain a Republican type of government in a diverse country in jeopardy, for reasons having to do with political expediency, not justice. Don't be bothered by anything Kent or Conrad say, they are ignorant fools who owe their allegiance to their "tribe" alone and its authoritarian ignorant narcissist fuehrer. I'm 68, and as I've said before, I could never really understand at a gut level how an educated population could willingly turn blindly to a feuhrer at the expense of their own liberties. I do now. The Framers were very much aware of the role of elections to replace leaders, they created elections as a means to do so. But they also created a means to replace them in extremist situations, Impeachment. The latter is rendered entirely moot if elections are to be the sole means of replacing members of government, including Presidents. So much for Kent's and Conrad's supposed love of, and adherence to, the Constitution.

Richard Wright

Just explain why the Democrats did not use the procedures in the House that were used for Clinton - please. Explain why the House investigation was done by the Intelligence Committee and not the Judicial Committee. Tell me why the dmeopisitons were done in a SCIF and not in public. Tell me why exculpatory info was not released by the Intel Committee? Or why the testimony of one witness has still not been made public. Why, if the evidence was so overwhelming as stated on numerous occasions by the House Impeachment managers, did they see the need for additional witnesses who might support their case but not those who might paint a far different picture - the Bidens, Schiff's staff, the hoax blower as examples?

Mark Hayes

Expect convoluted reasoning as a reply, it may take a bit longer of a wait, but it will eventually show up.

Jim Tomashoff

As opposed to your comments Mark which show no reasoning whatsoever? Just paraphrase Fox News. So you really believe the degree of one's patriotism is based on the size of one's flag?

Jim Tomashoff

You make a lot of assertions of facts based on what? The investigation was initially done in the Intelligence Committee because it had jurisdiction. Once it concluded that evidence existed pointing to a possible impeachment offense the matter was turned over to the Judiciary Committee. The investigation took part in the SCIF because they were dealing with classified material. Later the investigation continued with non-classified material. I am not aware of any exculpatory info that was not released by the Intel Committee. Care to inform us what info you are referring to and the source of said info? Same for the testimony you allege that has not been made public. When a trial is underway both prosecutors and defenders want to have testimony from individuals directly involved who can add to the evidence. Note I said both prosecutors and defense. Since who claim that there was evidence that was either not provided or squelched by Democrats one would think that the Republicans would have been anxious to hear from other witnesses, such as those you specifically mentioned. All it would have taken would have been 51 votes.

Kent Misegades

In America citizens are still presumed innocent until proven guilty. This includes our President, who was acquitted by the Senate, aka found not guilty. Now, there needs to be true justice - consequences for the traitorous Democrats who pursued this attempted coup.

Conrad Meyer

Forgot to mention Joyce - the President was AQUITTED - get over it.

The impeachment has turned out to be a total waste of time. Think of all the good that Congress could have done if the dems weren't so preoccupied with nothing.

Conrad Meyer

Hey Joyce,

Why no mention at all about the kangaroo court that Pelosi, Schiff, and Nadler treated the country to in the House? Zero witnesses allowed from the Republicans, no opportunity for the President to defend himself among other things.

I watched several hours of that fiasco - it was too painful to waste any more time. But I am certain you LOVED it as it was nothing more than theater - about the only thing I believe you are qualified to write about. Stay out of politics.

And here I am trying to debate a liberal - I'd rather watch paint dry.

Barbara Misiaszek

There is an election in November, I'm sure the process will be enthusiastically joined by many. May the best person win.

John Misiaszek

Conrad Meyer

I agree John. That is what should have happened instead of the impeachment hoax.

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