Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy says there is abundant legal evidence to impeach and remove President Obama, but he warns it’s an exercise in futility and may actually embolden Obama if Republicans move in that direction without the political will of the nation behind them.
McCarthy is best known as the lead prosecutor in the cases against the “blind sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, and 11 co-conspirators behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and plots against other New York City landmarks. McCarthy is now with the National Review Institute. His new book is “Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.”
In it, he lays out seven separate articles of impeachment against Obama on issues ranging from changing laws and failing to execute them faithfully to dereliction of duty as commander in chief to fraud on issues ranging from Obamacare to Benghazi. However, he also argues that now is the wrong time to pursue impeachment.
According to McCarthy, the founders included impeachment and removal from office in the Constitution as a protection for the people and the Constitution itself. However, he said the founders also didn’t want impeachment to be too easy to accomplish.
“They also wanted to make sure, knowing that removing a president is very socially disruptive, that we had a standard for removal that would not allow impeachment to become an exercise in partisan hackery,” McCarthy said.
He said that’s why the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate for a president to be convicted and removed.
“That ensures that unless you have a broad consensus among the public, one that cuts across ideological and partisan lines, an attempt to remove the president is probably a non-starter,” he said. “It’s a political remedy. You can have a thousand provable impeachable offenses, but if the public is not of a mind to remove the president from power, then the president won’t be impeached in the sense of being removed from power.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Andrew C. McCarthy:
McCarthy said even though House impeachment of Obama could be plausible, he believes it's pointless if the Senate votes are not there to remove him. He said the impeachment of Bill Clinton serves as a valuable lesson, not because the case wasn't strong enough, but because the public didn't want him removed.
"There wasn't a public will to remove the president from power," he said. "Unless you have, it cannot only be a mistake to go forward in the sense of not being able to achieve impeachment, you can actually end up encouraging presidential lawlessness."
McCarthy explained, "Spin it out with what would happen with Obama at this point. If you filed articles of impeachment, you'd have a trial in the Senate. At this point, you'd probably lose that by something like 70-30. That would be spun by the media and the administration as approval of President Obama's methods over the last few years. You'd be setting out trying to correct presidential lawlessness, and you'd end up actually encouraging it."
"I think if you asked people if the president's committed impeachable offenses, they'd probably overwhelmingly say yes. If you asked them if they wanted the president removed from power, I think a lot fewer people would say yes. But politics is dynamics and things change," he said. "In 1972, (Richard) Nixon won re-election with the largest then-landslide in American electoral history. In 20 months, he was gone because he couldn't survive politically once the country became riveted to presidential lawlessness."
Republicans in Congress have other avenues to check the advance of the executive branch, and McCarthy said they simply refuse to stop much of what he considers Obama's illegal activities.
"The main tool (the founders) gave Congress to that purpose is the power of the purse. The president's opposition has been supine," McCarthy said. "They haven't been willing to do anything along those lines. The way you really stop presidential lawlessness, short of impeachment, is you cut off the money the president needs to carry it out. They haven't been willing to do anything like that."
He said the budget showdown last September and October proved most in the GOP aren't willing to fight.
"The one time that some of the Republican conservatives in Congress tried to cut off the money from Obamacare – which is an immensely unpopular program – they were castigated, not only by the press but by members of their own party. I think it's become very hard structurally to use the other tools the framers gave us," McCarthy said.
He said the GOP suffers from two major problems in budget fights, which makes members of the party reluctant to demand their way.
"When Republicans oppose the president, they get demagogued as racists and the like, which is really an unfortunate thing that has happened to our politics," he said. "The other thing is that the government has become so big that when you start cutting off money, you're always talking about somebody's transfer payments. Republicans never want to be in a position of being portrayed as mean ogres who are taking food from babies' mouths and money out of people's pockets."