The U.S. House of Representatives’ history and archive reads, “... the founders, fearing the potential for abuse of the executive power, considered impeachment so important that they made it part of the Constitution even before they defined the contours of the presidency.”
It is sadly a process the U.S. now seems positioned to face after events that have transpired in the last week surrounding communications President Donald Trump had with the Ukrainian president and a subsequent whistleblower complaint filed on the matter.
Despite all but one being a Republican, Utah’s federal delegation has reacted in surprisingly different ways to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Tuesday announcement of formally pursuing an impeachment inquiry for Trump.
On Wednesday, 3rd Congressional District Rep. John Curtis introduced a resolution in the House, after it was introduced and passed in the Senate, seeking to make the whistleblower complaints more clear and learn the facts in “an apolitical manner.”
“The next step is to ensure the House and Senate committees have access to the whistleblower report. It is imperative that all of the facts come forward and I am hopeful these matters can proceed without the influence of partisan politics,” Curtis said in a statement. The complaint was declassified late Wednesday.
Sen. Mitt Romney, both prior to the release of the transcript of the president’s conversation with Ukraine’s president and the whistleblower complaint, and after, stated that “I remain deeply troubled by the situation. The Senate Intelligence Committee and the House of Representatives are investigating these allegations, and I will withhold any final judgment until all of the facts are known.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Ben McAdams, representing the 4th Congressional District and part of Utah County, is reported as among six House Democrats throughout the U.S. who are either not supportive or undecided on the inquiry announced by Pelosi. He too, like Romney, has said this past week that he seeks more information before deciding on whether or not to support impeachment proceedings.
Rep. Chris Stewart might be uncomfortable but, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was reported as saying he has no additional concerns following the reading of the complaint. It’s too bad former Rep. Jason Chaffetz parted with his mantle as a member of the House Intelligence committee just months into Trump’s presidency; the firebrand representative surely would have had plenty of fodder in the last week to label as a “power grab.”
Then, last but most definitely not least (if he has anything to do about it), Sen. Mike Lee stayed completely mum on social media this week regarding the whistleblower account, but in a streamed town hall Wednesday said he didn’t think the transcript of the phone call between the presidents was a problem, despite not having read the complaint when he made those comments. Apparently Lee has access to investigations the rest do not, to so confidently weigh in on what transpired.
There are many serious assumptions being flung by Democratic leaders that speak to the party’s overall disdain for Trump, which weakens their position in seeking his impeachment. Likewise, Republicans have frankly given the president many a “hall pass” despite questionable behavior and their admittance in the past two years that he says (or tweets) controversial things they wish he would not, with little to no consequence.
Whether or not the process can be carried out in a nonpartisan way, we, the American public, will see. We hope that it can, however naive that may be. Because impeachment is a grave matter and requires respect and pure facts — not jockeying from both parties looking for another political edge at future election polls. While the transcript and complaint thus far have the appearance of some misdeed, a full-fledged investigation will only confirm the president’s innocence if that remains the case ... or a greater problem that goes beyond the scope of any single political party leader or candidate.
As one of America’s earliest vice presidents Elbridge Gerry said, “A good magistrate will not fear (impeachments). A bad one ought to be kept in fear of them.”