Impeachment was driven by political biases
By Rep. Dan Newhouse, U.S. Congressman
Impeachment is one of the most serious responsibilities afforded to Congress and that sobering responsibility has not been lost on me. The people of Central Washington sent me to our nation’s capital to represent them and I believe – when it comes to charging a President with the articles of impeachment – members must focus on the facts presented. House Democrats failed to present fact-based evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors committed by President Trump.
Our Founding Fathers cautioned against using impeachment as a political tool, and that is exactly what House Democrats have done.
In the Federalist Papers No. 65, Alexander Hamilton discussed the importance and potential perils facing Congress when considering impeachment. He wrote, “There will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or
guilt.” The impeachment proceedings against President Trump are what Alexander Hamilton warned us about.
The hearings in the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees demonstrated partisan, politically-motivated testimony by witnesses who did not have firsthand knowledge of the so-called “crimes” the president is being accused of. The partisanship of the impeachment proceedings denied equality to Republican Committee Members and due process to the president.
We absolutely should not set a dangerous precedent of bringing articles of impeachment against our duly elected public officials based on hearsay, inference, or political disagreement. – Accusing President Trump of “obstruction of Congress” because the Executive Branch exercised our constitution’s system of checks of balances does not rise to the high standards of impeachment.
Charging President Trump with “abuse of power” would require House Democrats to prove that he had corrupt motives. In respect to the phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, which the articles of impeachment are based off of, not one of the witnesses called before either of the House committees were able to substantiate wrongdoing and even denied there being “quid pro quo.”
For these reasons, I voted against both articles of impeachment.
Speaker Pelosi herself said that an impeachment inquiry must be compelling, overwhelming, and bipartisan. This inquiry was none of the above. These proceedings have, as speaker Pelosi predicted, divided the country and have taken time and energy away from the people’s House.
As the Senate conducts their trial, I hope they will move swiftly and competently, focus on the facts instead of politics, and provide fair, transparent proceedings.
All along, I have advocated that Congress should be working to advance the legislative priorities of the American people. With this vote behind us in the House, I hope we can move forward to work on behalf of those we represent – instead of focusing on reversing the results of the 2016 presidential election.
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., represents Washington’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. To send an email to Rep. Newhouse, go to https://newhouse.house.gov/contact.