Byrne: The consequences of impeachment
In the summer of 1973, as a student intern in Washington far from my home in Mobile, I got a firsthand view as the Senate held its Watergate hearings. For a young person, it was an amazing introduction to politics, and I was fascinated by what I saw.
I followed the subsequent impeachment proceedings in 1974 carefully. Unfortunately, as the facts came out, it was clear President Nixon couldn’t continue in office.
During the Clinton impeachment drama, I was a busy father, attorney and part-time state school board member. I could not pay as close attention, but I still watched everything unfold with great interest.
Clinton was, and is, a perjurer and abused his office by having sexual relations with a young intern – literally in his office in the White House.
Even so, I worried that the Republicans were overreaching with impeachment, and the voters told us we were.
After the House impeached Clinton and he was acquitted by the Senate, Republicans lost seats in the House and Newt Gingrich was forced to resign as speaker.
Fast forward to November 2016 and Donald Trump’s election as president.
Since Day 1 of his presidency, factions in our nation have called Donald Trump an illegitimate president. Many Democrats in elected office have publicly called for his impeachment for over two and a half years.
They’ve tried almost every trick in the book to manufacture something worthy of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” our Constitution requires for impeachment.
Look no further than Adam Schiff’s recent statement before the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff used his position as chairman of the committee to describe to a captive American audience a completely fabricated phone conversation between President Trump and the president of Ukraine.
This is the same Adam Schiff who spent months on cable news networks promising some vague bombshell in the Mueller Report. By now, all his credibility is in shambles.
I was proud to co-sponsor a resolution to condemn and censure Schiff for his blatant attempt to mislead the public through lies and deception. The American people deserve better.
The Ukrainian deal is just the latest impeachment flavor of the week after earlier attempts fell flat.
As with all the manufactured scandals from Russia to Justice Kavanaugh, Schiff and his allies in the national news media do not give the full truth in order to keep scandal in the headlines.
With regards to the President’s phone call to President Zelensky of Ukraine, the Department of Justice reviewed all the evidence in August, found no evidence of a federal crime, and closed their case. What do Democrats in the House think they will find that our nation’s criminal division could not?
The national news media won’t tell you that because it weakens the impeachment narrative. They are complicit with efforts to impeach at all costs.
We must stand up during tough times like these.
This process we are following now is unprecedented, bad for the country, and, ultimately for the Democrats, bad politics. The substantive basis for the present line of the impeachment “inquiry” is ludicrous.
Today, I have a much closer seat for impeachment than I did as a student in 1973. I have followed it as closely as anyone.
Next year, voters will have the opportunity to repudiate the Democrats for their baseless impeachment efforts. Speaker Pelosi, Schiff, the Squad and other Democrats would be wise to pay attention to history.
If not, and Democrats continue their impeachment crusade, Speaker Pelosi might be looking for another job as President Trump is sworn in for his second term.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. He is a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate.