The House Judiciary Committee's fundamental choice

The House Judiciary Committee's fundamental choice

The House Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe five dumbest things said about impeachment so far Pelosi accepts Collins's apology for saying Democrats are 'in love with terrorists' Trump's legal team gets set for impeachment trial MORE (D-Ga.), did a great job at Wednesday’s hearing of pointing out how ridiculous the new phase of this impeachment charade really is. But there was one thing he said in his opening remarks that I didn’t really think was the case.

“There’s no fact witnesses planned for this committee,” Collins noted. “Frankly, there’s no plan at all — except next week, an ambiguous hearing on the presentation from the other committee that sent us the report and Judiciary Committee, which I’m not still sure what they want us to present on, and nothing else. No plan.”

Don’t let looks fool you — there’s a plan.

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The lack of White House inclusion, the refusal to bring in fact-finding witnesses, the preference for biased professors no one has ever heard of nor ever will again — this isn’t some mistake. The insistence to craft seemingly irrelevant hearings is far from accidental, it’s intentional. 

Boring hearings, Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trial Pelosi: Trump's impeachment 'cannot be erased' House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-N.Y.) assumed, were safe. Fact-finding witnesses, cross-examinations — things like these are dangerous.

It’s true that Judiciary is a deeply powerful House committee, designated with the responsibility to recommend articles of impeachment in such a time. But that doesn’t mean they’re always well-equipped for the job.

They tried bringing in a fact-finding witness when special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE mania was all the rage. I happen to know the guy pretty well. Although everyone in the room that day voiced their commitment to finding truth, no one actually cared to even try. I was on the receiving end of rants whenever I tried to answer the members’ questions, and at different times was called both a “bagman” and a “fish.”

It was a profoundly useless couple of hours. But as the sun set on what was, for Congress, a highly productive day, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Chairman Nadler wasn’t a fan of how the hearing went — and planned on avoiding another one.

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So here we are today, where the newest witnesses that Judiciary has presented to the world are people who teach lawyers. One of them donated to Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Climate 'religion' is fueling Australia's wildfires Biden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him MORE — four times. Another argued that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE should be impeached over a tweet. A third one gave $1,000 to Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (D-Mass.). And the last witness, who was seen as a “defender” of President Trump just because he emphasized that constitutional standards for impeachment exist and shouldn’t be made up, said he voted for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSupreme Court agrees to hear 'faithless elector' cases Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Climate 'religion' is fueling Australia's wildfires MORE in 2016. 

It’d be comical if this wasn’t how the most powerful committee in the elected legislature of the most powerful nation in the world chose to spend an afternoon. I’m not a lawyer, nor would I ever want to be, but it seems that Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzTrump chooses high-profile but controversial legal team Fox's Chris Wallace asks if Trump legal team filled with people who have their own axe to grind The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump beefs up impeachment defense with Dershowitz, Starr MORE in his live-tweeting of the hearing best summed up the impression given by the trifling trio’s emotions and the single honest witness’s fact-based responses: “The Democratic experts are seeking to ‘amend’ the impeachment provisions of the Constitution by adding criteria that were expressly rejected by the framers.”

And that, from the intellectual perspective that Judiciary hoped to present, was all the American people got out of last Wednesday’s hearing. Headlines played it up as “historic,” House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment Trump chooses high-profile but controversial legal team Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders MORE (D-Calif.) rallied her caucus and, at the end of the day, the people who could tolerate listening to congressmen and law professors speak for eight hours were left asking one question: Could the Democrats really not find one unbiased “expert” who would recommend impeachment?

No, they couldn’t. 

Mueller. Obstruction. Cohen. Emoluments. Policy disagreements. Carrying out campaign promises. Now, a phone call with a world leader. It doesn’t matter what this president does or doesn’t do — the Democrats refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election and will use any reason they can find to justify the impeachment and removal of a president they don’t like. 

At one point in time, everyone understood the dangers of strictly partisan impeachments. That’s why the Founders delineated specific legal terms for which impeachment was appropriate and made strong bipartisan consensus necessary for a president’s removal.

But now, among House Democrats, that all seems lost. Even Chairman Nadler, who knows he has to perform in these hearings to satisfy his constituency back in New York to stave off primary challengers from the left, once knew this very well: “There are clearly some members of the Republican majority who have never accepted the results of the 1992 or 1996 elections, and who apparently have chosen to ignore the message of last month’s election, but in a democracy, it is the people who rule, not political elites.”

Well Mr. Chairman, what’ll it be? You, or 63 million Americans? The decisions that you and your committee make now will set a standard not only for the current president but for all future presidents who dare receive the mandate of the American people to hold elected office. 

Don’t regret those decisions.

Corey R. Lewandowski is President Trump’s former campaign manager and senior adviser to both the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign and Great America Committee, Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book Parnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' White House pushes back on Parnas allegations MORE's political action committee. He is co-author with David Bossie of the books “Trump’s Enemies” and “Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency.” Follow him on Twitter @CLewandowski_.