In the aftermath of a 57-43 Senate vote that failed to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial with a mandatory supermajority, President Joe Biden made a statement pouring salt on the open wound of the national divisiveness his Inaugural Address supposedly sought to heal. Biden said of the acquittal, "This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile." A more healing tone was mandated, one suggesting the acquittal be respected and the trial put behind us.
Unsurprisingly, every Democratic senator voted to convict; surprisingly, they were joined by seven Republican senators, apparently drunk on anti-Trump kool-aid. But, the entire impeachment exercise was, and always has been, overshadowed by an issue yet to receive its due in the form of a congressional investigation: Did massive voter fraud occur during the 2020 presidential election?
When allegations swirled after Trump's 2016 election victory that he had colluded with Russia, Democrats believed the claim true and were ready to impeach him, ultimately insisting on an investigation. Years and millions of dollars later, despite a line-up of pro-Hillary Clinton investigators, the investigation proved the claim false. More recently, Democrats clamor for an investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol building riot as they believe Trump was responsible for inciting the attack. In light of Trump's acquittal, they probably will get one.
Yet, despite nearly half of all voters believing massive voter fraud occurred in the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, no effort has been undertaken to investigate the matter. Instead, we are falsely told by a liberal media no basis exists to support such a claim. But evidence offered by independent experts refutes this media narrative. If voter trust in the election process is to be restored, a fair and independent investigation is needed.
As the article of impeachment had accused Trump of making "false claims" of voter fraud, one had hoped the issue might be raised during the Senate impeachment trial. That hope came close to reality after the Senate voted to call witnesses. However, once Democrats learned Trump's defense counsel intended to call Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a witness, Democrats reversed their decision so she would not be put on the hot seat about security related matters for which she was responsible. Thus, no witnesses were called, leaving the fraud issue unresolved.
The disinterest in an investigation leaves American voters wondering whether Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) has so affected Congress that it has opted to take an ostrich-like approach to the voter fraud issue, burying its collective head in the sand.
While numerous lawsuits raising this issue have been dismissed on procedural grounds, others have been working their way up the judicial ladder. On Feb. 19, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hold a conference to consider whether to accept some of these cases. They include lawsuits filed by attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell as well as others. The lawsuits allege that unlawful conduct occurred in several battleground states, such as state election officials instituting mail-in voting changes in violation of the U.S. Constitution requiring this only be done by state legislatures, failing to enforce mail-in ballot security measures, denying Republican poll watchers meaningful access, etc. Hopefully, one or more of these cases, if accepted by SCOTUS, will necessitate review of voter fraud evidence.
For those who thought losing the second impeachment effort would at long last leave Democrats to focus on the business of running the country, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer dispelled the thought. He intends to use the 14th Amendment in an effort to ban the former president from holding public office again. This, obviously, reveals the real intention of the two failed efforts Democrats launched to impeach and convict Trump. Meanwhile, Pelosi, seriously overdosed on TDS, keeps chiseling away at Trump's legacy, announcing plans now to have an outside and independent commission, modeled after the 9/11 commission, investigate the Capitol attack.
Interestingly, Trump could have spared himself a lot of his current legal misery had he issued himself and his family members preemptive pardons. To his credit, he chose not to do so as it would give the appearance of guilt. But, rather than taking this as a positive, Democrats use it as a weakness to be exploited.
Setting aside the issue of the constitutionality of impeaching a former president, it is still shocking 57 senators voted to convict Trump based on incitement. No senator should have so voted after it was proven House impeachment managers had doctored evidence – changing dates, inserting non-existent evidence, intentionally eliminating exculpatory evidence such as Trump's call for a peaceful march, etc.
Because the definition of incitement is so vague, SOCTUS has placed strict constitutional limits on lawsuits and prosecutions to punish such behavior. A 1996 lawsuit for incitement triggered by an horrific 1995 murder case lends some clarity to this issue.
Three male members of a rock band, aged 14-16, lured 15-year-old Elyse Pahle to a California grove where they brutally murdered and raped her, returning later to perform necrophilia. Caught three months later, they revealed their motivation. Incited by the songs of the heavy metal group "Slayer" promoting such brutal actions, they claimed they were offering the devil a human sacrifice in exchange for fame. Pahler's parents sued Slayer for inciting such conduct, but the lawsuit was dismissed. The judge's ruling stated, "There's not a legal position that could be taken that would make Slayer responsible for the girl's death. Where do you draw the line? …"
The same question should be asked in weighing whether Trump is guilty of incitement. How many congresspersons, by their comments, are guilty of inciting riots that burned down numerous businesses in various cities last summer? Where do you draw the line?
Clearly, Trump's impeachment trial was heavy on emotion and political play but light on legal reflection. It is a sad commentary about a legislative body in which, at last count, more than half of its members hold law degrees.
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