Executive Intelligence Review


Wall Street Journal: You Can’t Impeach the President for Doing What the Constitution Allows

March 6, 2018 (EIRNS)—In its lead editorial today, the Wall Street Journal points to Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) “subpoena swarm,” and his claims that President Trump obstructed justice. This won’t be easy to do, the editorial warns, because “based on the public evidence so far, Mr. Trump hasn’t obstructed justice in any of the examples Mr. Nadler cited. Mr. Nadler wants to turn the President’s exercise of his normal constitutional powers into impeachable offenses.”

The Journal goes on to cite Attorney General William Barr and other legal experts, who point out that a President can only obstruct justice in office “if he is committing a per se illegal offense ... if he suborns perjury or destroys evidence, or commits any act deliberately impairing the integrity or availability of evidence.” But, he can’t obstruct justice “when he takes actions that are consistent with his Article II powers under the Constitution. That includes in particular firing inferior executive-branch officers such as Mr. Comey,” the former FBI director.

And, the Journal warns, if the President commits a legal act,

“but can be accused of a crime because of his motive, then any Presidential action can be called into question based on an accusation of motive. This would open a Pandora’s box that would leave any political officer vulnerable to charges of obstruction. That would include an Attorney General who declined to prosecute someone whom Members of Congress wanted him to indict. Congress could essentially rule the executive branch.”

As for Nadler’s attempt to criminalize Mr. Trump’s charges of a witch hunt, “try selling that to the public,” the Journal challenges. Further, the editorial writes, the statements by Nadler and other Democrats saying they will expand the scope of their investigations, even beyond Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ambit, suggest they expect to be disappointed by Mueller’s final report.

“Democrats seem hell-bent on impeaching Mr. Trump, and most of the media will be cheering them on. We’ll wait to see all of the facts they assemble. But the legal bar should be high, the crimes real, and the Constitution protected if they want to steal, er, reverse, an election.”

The word “steal” refers to Nadler’s Freudian slip on Sunday, when he admitted it will be tough to convince Trump’s base of his guilt, as his voters might think the Democrats are trying to “reverse the results of the 2016 elections.” Nadler first said the word “steal” then quickly corrected himself to say “reverse.”