The U.S. Constitution is arguably the most important, remarkable document ever written. Those assembled to write it were brilliant visionaries. Was it perfect? No. That’s why there are 27 amendments.

The words in the Constitution were carefully chosen during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, May through September, 1787, presided over by George Washington. But words, in and of themselves, cannot always convey precisely what the framers of the Constitution intended during their four months of deliberation.

For example, during the ensuing 230-plus years, the Supreme Court has frequently been called upon to render its interpretation of the framers’ intent.

Additionally, precedent has been a powerful factor in determining how the three branches of government operate. While performing a significant action, if generally accepted, the government thereby sets an example (precedent) for how similar actions should be performed in the future. This is also called establishing “norms.”

Adhering to the words in the Constitution, judiciously determining intent, and establishing precedent have served this nation well for over 200 years, and the U.S. Constitution remains the world’s greatest operational document.

Recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has spoken out about the impeachment of President Trump as follows: “When someone is impeached, they are always impeached. It cannot be erased.”

I agree 100 percent with those statements. I also agree with her pronouncement last spring: “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” Compelling? Overwhelming? Bipartisan?

If one studies the literature associated with the Constitutional Convention, there was great discussion and debate as to how to word the impeachment clause so as to avoid a purely partisan act to take down a president. The intent was clearly for the House of Representatives to identify “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Pelosi cannot fall back on the expressed words or intent or precedent associated with the Constitution to back up her reckless actions. She has changed the course of this country, perhaps forever.

How can I make that assertion? Impeachment has now been redefined as something more akin to a no-

confidence vote in the British Parliament and may well be used in the future by a House of Representative that is simply in disagreement with an opposing party president.

To illustrate, by the current standards of impeachment, once President Obama lost the House in 2011, he could have been impeached for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power for the “Fast and Furious” scandal, and for invoking “executive privilege” to justify administration officials’ refusal to testify to Congress.

Also, using a list compiled by the writer Victor Davis Hanson, the new impeachment standard would have included:

* Political corruption at the IRS toward conservative groups during the Obama re-election bid;

* Lies and obstruction about the Benghazi disaster;

* The hot-mic quid pro quo promise Obama made to Russian President Medvedev that resulted in the dismantlement of Eastern Europe missile defense in exchange for Putin’s good behavior to the benefit of Obama’s re-election campaign;

* The abuse of executive orders to nullify federal immigration law;

* The failure to consult Congress on the prisoner swap with the Taliban;

* The lying under oath to Congress by both the CIA director and the director of National Intelligence;

* Secret monitoring of the communications of Associated Press reporters and Fox’s James Rosen, along with former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson;

* The deliberate nullification of the constitutional treaty-making prerogative of the Senate during the Iran deal, whose secret accords were never disclosed to the American people; and

* The warping of the CIA, DOJ, FBI, and National Security Council, respectively, in their unethical and often illegal efforts to mislead the FISA courts, surveil the Trump campaign, unmask and leak the names of U.S. citizens whose communications were tapped, and disrupt a presidential transition.

Before the Pelosi-led impeachment of President Trump, none of these offenses would have been impeachable. Now they all are, and everything like them in the future will also be fair game.

The deep-seated and frenetic nature of the culture of hate that has consumed the Democrats since the 2016 election of Donald Trump has blinded them to the unimaginable ramifications of taking down a president simply because they detest him.

And to think that by closing her eyes to the words of the Constitution, the intent of the framers and 200 years of precedent, one person alone, Speaker Pelosi, was able to completely orchestrate the impeachment. And as she said, “It cannot be erased.”

Lt. Gen. Marvin L. Covault, U.S. Army (ret.) is the author of “Vision to Execution, A Book for Leaders.”

(6) comments

Kent Misegades

This is a very accurate op-Ed, thank you for writing it. I do not believe however that Conservative members of Congress will in the future demean themselves to follow the hissy-fit antics of the Democrat sore-losers. More importantly, American voters, who generally have the last word on such matters, saw through Democrat Tomfoolery during the 2016 campaign. This is why President Trump’s popularity has increased during the impeachment sideshow.

Jim Tomashoff

The General's analysis is totally one-sided, making it intellectually dishonest in the extreme. Trump's impeachment wasn't bipartisan because no Republicans had the courage to assess what Trump did honestly and with a look toward the future precedents that would be set if they didn't impeach him for his conduct and then find him guilty in the trial to follow. I'm glad true patriotic Republicans like Howard Baker, Barry Goldwater, and John Rhodes, all of whom told Nixon that he would be convicted in the Senate, did not live to see their future peers putting their election prospects ahead of reason and a act in accordance with what they know is fundamental difference between right and wrong. Moreover, the Republicans in Congress, both Houses, have acted to substantially weaken the checks and balances the Framers intended between the three branches of our Government, especially their own Branch. The precedent has now been set that Presidents can withhold aid to foreign governments that, by laws passed by Congress, he/she is obligated to provide and administer. Congressional laws in this regard in the future are now going to be carried out solely at a future President's pleasure. So much for "preserving and protecting the Constitution..." which gives Congress the sole right to pass laws which, until yesterday, Presidents were OBLIGATED to follow and administer. And so much for Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch, a key role, or power, in the minds of the Framers. Trump refused to provide any documents or allow any Executive Branch persons to testify before Congress. Presidents have claimed executive privilege in the past, but none have absolutely forbidden any and all documents and all Executive Branch personal from cooperating with a congressional investigation of possible wrongdoing. So from now on, unless the Supreme Court can find a case to clearly and conclusively reestablish the authority of Congress to investigate possible wrongdoing in the Executive Branch, the President simply refuse any cooperation with such future investigations. This is bigger than Donald Trump. Benjamin Franklin famously responded to a woman who asked what the Constitutional Convention had given the people, "a Republic, if you can keep it", he answered. Yesterday proved that keeping our Republic is now very much in doubt.

Dan Roman

The impeachment was and is well deserved, it can not be erased, and but for the craven cowardice of MCConnel and the rest of the GOP senators Trump would be out and the country and world better off!

Barbara Misiaszek

We also now know the president is not required to provide documents under his control and government employees ( our employees) with potentially incriminating information for consideration by Congress in their oversight capacity.

John Misiaszek

Conrad Meyer

Dan, you are triggered again. It is highly likely that Trump will be acquitted next week, as if it didn't happen. I'll wager you were glued to the TV for hours on end watching the Schiff, Nadler, and Pelosi one-sided kangaroo court. That kangaroo court is what the voters will remember.

Lastly Dan, what crime did Trump commit? Please be specific.

Jim Tomashoff

He violated a law passed by Congress, and signed into law by Trump himself, to provide military aid to Ukraine, and the GAO has found. We don't know what other laws he may have violated since he refused to provide Congress with documents and the testimony of Executive Branch personnel that dealt with the issues at hand.

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