At The American Spectator, E. Donald Elliot eviscerates Democrats’ impeachment arguments. Elliot explains that Democrats are targeting the President for supposed “thought crimes.” Elliot argues that the best thing the Senate could do would be to dismiss the charges as invalid. He suggests such a course “would have the added side benefit of being a way out of the current impasse over the Democrats’ demands for additional witnesses in a Senate trial.” He writes (abridged):
Both of the articles of impeachment passed by the Democrats in the House are unprecedented in that they charge “thought crimes” against a president.
They are based on the dubious legal theory that doing something that is legal in and of itself but with a supposedly improper mental attitude turns an otherwise legal act into an impeachable offense.
The second article of impeachment for so-called obstruction of Congress also involves a thought crime, but based on an even more far-fetched theory.
The idea there is that by invoking Executive privilege, the president was somehow “obstructing” a Congressional investigation. This is specious, as Professor Jonathan Turley rightly pointed out in his testimony.
In addition, if the Democrats’ newly minted legal theory that otherwise legal exercises of presidential power become impeachable offenses if they are done for what a majority of the House considers to be an inappropriate motive is accepted, we will fundamentally change the structure of American government; our president, like the British prime minister, would serve at the pleasure of a majority of the lower house.
These are all good reasons why the House should not have done what it did in impeaching President Trump.
By merely acquitting the President, the Senate could be seen by history as implying that the allegations, if proven, would have constituted valid ground for impeachment, which would do irreparable damage to our constitutional system.
Dismissing the charges as invalid would have the added side benefit of being a way out of the current impasse over the Democrats’ demands for additional witnesses in a Senate trial.
If a majority of the Senate rules that the factual allegations, even if they could be proved, would not add up to a valid basis for impeaching the President, there is nothing left to try.
Read more here.