By Congressman Andy Barr
In March, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” I voted no on both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump because the case is neither compelling nor overwhelming, and the only thing bipartisan about this impeachment is the bipartisan opposition to it.
Democrat law professor Jonathan Turley, who openly admits he opposed the election of President Trump, said this impeachment is based on the “thinnest” record ever to go forward in American history. That’s because in all three previous cases of impeachment—those involving Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Clinton—there was at least an allegation of a crime or a violation of a statute. In this case, none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having any direct evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor. The articles themselves don’t even allege the commission of an actual crime.
And yet, less than one year before the next election, and after three years of careening from one baseless impeachment theory to another, Democrats in Congress remain obsessed with undoing the will of the American people.
Most disturbing of all is that House Democrats impeached the President for following laws that they themselves voted for. No less than five times in the last six years, Congress has passed legislation imposing on the Executive Branch an affirmative duty to seek and obtain assurances from the government of Ukraine that it is bolstering the institutions of democracy and countering corruption. Most House Democrats, including the man leading the impeachment effort against President Trump, Adam Schiff, voted for all five measures. Democrats supported these bills for good reason. Ernst & Young reports that Ukraine – a vulnerable state in frozen conflict with Russia – is among the three most corrupt nations in the world.
Keep in mind that the central argument offered by Democrats in support of impeachment is that by withholding security assistance to an ally, President Trump compromised U.S. national security in order to advance his own personal political interest. Putting aside the fact that Zelensky publicly and repeatedly said he felt no pressure to investigate the Bidens, that Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified President Trump said he wanted “nothing” other than “Zelensky to do the right thing,” and that the security assistance ultimately flowed to the Ukrainian government without any specific investigation into the Bidens, the Democrats’ false narrative of an “abuse of power” ignores both the law and the actual factual record.
As several of the Democrats’ witnesses testified, the Trump Administration’s policies have shown greater commitment and support to Ukraine than those of the previous administration. Ambassador Kurt Volker explained that President Trump’s policy of providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine has been “extremely helpful” in deterring Russian aggression. Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs Fiona Hill testified that President Trump’s decision to support Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missiles was a “stronger” policy than the Obama Administration’s policy of withholding such weapons. Ambassador William Taylor characterized President Trump’s policy as a “substantial improvement.” And even Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, whose testimony has been characterized as hostile to the President, agreed that “our policy actually got stronger over the last three years.”
Congress rightly intended the President to urge foreign leaders to investigate corruption within their countries, especially when that corruption might implicate the reliability of a country as an ally deserving of U.S. taxpayer assistance. In the case of Ukraine, the argument for requiring anti-corruption efforts is particularly strong, where hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were at stake in a nation with a troubling history of corruption and a newly elected and untested government.
And, the new government in Ukraine actually implemented several sweeping and historic anti-corruption reform measures. Following the seating of Ukraine’s new parliament, the Rada, on August 29, the Zelensky government appointed a new prosecutor general and opened Ukraine’s Supreme Anti-Corruption Court. On September 3, the Rada passed a bill that removed parliamentary immunity. The Rada then approved a bill streamlining corruption prosecutions and increased focus on high-level corruption cases. Far from compromising our national security, President Trump’s actions advanced our interests by encouraging Ukraine to undertake reforms that strengthened our ally to better counter Russian aggression.
Through this flawed, sham process, Democrats have voted to fulfill their hyper-partisan, three-year plan to impeach President Trump.Even before Inauguration Day, Democrats in Congress embraced the “Resistance” and touted their plan to reverse the results of the 2016 election. House Democrats did not impeach the President because of the facts or any crime. They impeached the President because they don’t like him.