This message is intended primarily for Adam Schiff. If any reader can get it in front of him or anyone on his staff, please do!
Even for law school graduates the language and meaning of the Constitution about impeachment can be confusing and abstract.
The language seems simple and straightforward: “if such officers have engaged in treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Between the Mueller report and the current congressional public hearings there has been a massive amount of facts, theories and charges. Depending on where people start on the subject – as Trumpers or non-Trumpers — their ability and willingness to absorb all this materiel differs widely.
Accordingly, the Congress must consider the methods of presenting its case to the people in such a way that most people can relate what they are hearing to their own life experience.
So far, they have largely failed in achieving that goal because they have been excessively legalistic and abstract – the long emphasis on “quid pro quo,” now largely abandoned in favor of “bribery,” being one prominent example.
Good, solid cases can be made and argued that the facts currently before us constitute bribery – or even treason. Unfortunately, few people can see themselves in such situations and therefore have little grasp of those stories.
But the Constitution does not stop with treason or bribery. It’s famously vague “other high crimes and misdemeanors” is intended to give Congress ample leeway to remove an unfit leader. High crimes could be a lot of things: abuse of power, disregard for the independence and position of Congress, threatening witnesses, etc. Finally, to sweep up any messes left behind, the Constitution provides for misdemeanors, less felonious violations of law or non-criminal acts which might justify removal from office.
Hopefully, the Intelligence Committee’s wrap up report will go through all the facts and possible impeachment charges with simple to understand connections between the Constitutional language and the evidence of the case.
In addition, plain language examples from everyday life, such as a patrol officer demanding cash to ignore a speeding violation will illuminate what is really meant and intended by the Constitution.
Most of all, it must be KEPT SIMPLE! Save the legalese for the Articles themselves, and use the Committee’s report to lay out, for all to see, Trump’s grotesque abuse of the levers of government for personal gain.
Following my own advice, I will refrain from saying anymore!