Long Island’s two Democratic members of Congress, Tom Suozzi and Kathleen Rice, have a big decision to make this week: How will they vote on impeaching President Donald Trump ?
A vote by the House to Impeach launches a US Senate trial - where a 2/3 vote to convict is seen as politically impossible. That means Trump will be acquitted - legally exonerated. So why go there ? The answer - sadly - is politics.
This impeachment was launched when a 31-year old former Obama White House aide - Eric Ciaramella - alleged that Trump had an “inappropriate telephone call” with President Zelensky of Ukraine. Ciaramella, a former aide to Joe Biden, was upset that Trump and Zelensky were discussing investigating Biden and his 49-year-old son Hunter, over a $3 million kick-back payoff by a Ukrainian oligarch to the younger Biden. Ciaramella then went to Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA), an enemy of Trump’s, and they choreographed a “whistleblower” complaint.
The resulting two-month “Rush to Impeach” contrasts unfavorably with the 16-month Nixon investigation, or the 10-month Clinton investigation. And the grounds are murky and flimsy. The telephone transcript shows that Ciaramella was wrong: It was Zelensky, not Trump, who initiated talk about Biden - and nothing of consequence resulted. The $3 million kick-back to Hunter, for a $1 billion US government grant controlled by Joe was clearly improper - and the US and Ukraine should investigate it. So where is the high crime or misdemeanor ?
Also disturbing has been the partisan tone and slant of the two-month impeachment hearings. Why was former NSC head John Bolton never interviewed? Why did Schiff secretly - and illegally - subpoena the private phone records of critical journalists, lawyers - and rival members of Congress? To menace and intimidate them? Why did Schiff lie and conceal his own role in ginning-up the whole matter ?
This is not how or why we are supposed to Impeach a President. Rather than playing to the hard radical wing of the Democratic Party, Suozzi and Rice - suburban Democrats in moderate swing districts - should do the right thing - and vote “No.”