The Double Standards Are Obvious

Four times in recent decades, Congress has at least started down the presidential-impeachment path.

For some, each episode has been at least substantially, if not primarily, about politics – sometimes partisan politics – not law.

For example, after President Trump’s 2021 acquittal, U.S. Rep. and lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said, “We successfully prosecuted him in the court of public opinion and in the court of history.”

Is this going to stop, or is this going to keep escalating?

Enough already.

This must not continue.

The American people deserve better.

Readers of this column these past two weeks will recall reasons for the unconstitutionality of the 2021 impeachment itself and of having an impeachment trial after a person impeached leaves office.

Any such flaw renders the merits of an accusation unnecessary to consider, regardless of who the accused is, which office the person held, or what the person is accused of doing.

Only those denying such flaws need to reach the merits.

Quoting the sole impeachment article against President Trump, many Trump opponents in government or in the national press use “insurrection” for what they allege he incited at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Yet how often have they used “insurrection” for others’ actions since mid-2020 in more places, with more people hurt or worse, with greater fear spread through the public, and with greater destruction of property, both public and private?

For such actions, their term is usually not “insurrection” or even “riots” but “protests” or “peaceful protests.” One CNN reporter used “peaceful protests” while fires raged in the background.

The double standard is obvious.

As is Trump opponents’ zeal in pursuing impeachment and conviction.

“We’re gonna impeach the mother (expletive deleted),” said U.S. Rep. Rashida Talib, D-Minn.

As for the merits, the sole impeachment article set two high hurdles for House impeachment managers, the prosecutors here. To prevail, they had to prove President Trump (1) incited (2) an insurrection. Nothing less sufficed.

No newspaper column can fully cover such a trial.

Yet did you catch this? One difference between assertions by the Trump defense team and the House impeachment managers was the “incitement” definition each used.

The Trump defense team followed the law and used the tight “incitement” definition that the U.S. Supreme Court established in Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969. Under the law, any jury – on the facts presented – should have acquitted the accused, which the U.S. Senate did. The team’s response to the House impeachment managers’ case begins at https://www.c-span.org/video/?508916-1/impeachment-trial-day-4-part-1.

By contrast, the House impeachment managers didn’t prove incitement under Brandenburg. Instead, they redefined “incitement” loosely.

This loose definition could have been trouble for others.

For example, if President Trump’s words constituted incitement, then what about these?

¯ “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out, and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

That’s U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., regarding the Trump administration.

¯ “When they go low, we kick them.”

That’s Democrat and former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder, also regarding the Trump administration.

¯ “I wish we were in high school. I could take him behind the gym.”

That’s Democrat and then-Vice President Joe Biden speaking of then-presidential candidate Trump.

Removing ambiguity, the then-vice president later clarified, “I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the (expletive deleted) out of him.'”

¯ “They’re not gonna to stop. They’re not gonna stop. And that, there, this is a movement. I’m telling you they’re not gonna stop. And, and everyone beware, because they’re not gonna stop, it is gonna, they’re not gonna stop before Election Day in November, and they’re not gonna stop after Election Day. And that should be, everyone should take note of that, on both levels, that this isn’t, they’re not gonna let up, and they should not, and we should not.”

That’s then-U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., when asked about 2020 “protests” – not “riots,” much less “insurrection,” but “protests.”

Again, the double standard is obvious.

Dr. Randy Elf joins his fellow citizens who have had enough.



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