THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY AND THE STAR CHAMBER REDUX: CONTEXT COUNTS

by James A. Wilson

The beat goes on in the impeachment circus but little attention is paid to context as one side screams of new and ever more damning revelations while the other hollers about due process; voters – if we believe polls – are increasingly comfortable with the spectre of removing a sitting president – one who has resurrected many dimensions of the nation – from office in the face of Democratic leaders despairing openly about fielding a candidate who can beat this president in an election. Context?

The grand jury model will supply. Grand juries function much as does the House of Representatives in an impeachment process. Their task is not to determine guilt or innocence, but only whether there is enough evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors to warrant a trial. They do not necessarily feature all of the due process rights of the accused in an actual trial, although they are expected to operate in terms of fair play and Bill of Rights propriety.

For example, prosecutors are just as obligated to offer up evidence that would favor the accused as in an actual trial. A majority of the whole jury must vote for an indictment. In case of congressional impeachment the Constitution clearly states the power to indict or impeach rests with the whole House of Representatives, not the speaker or selected committees, or even a caucus of the majority; yet the speaker has so far resolutely refused even to display evidence to the whole body. Instead leaders leak whatever furthers the leaders’ narrative.

It is absolutely essential that grand jury proceedings be conducted in secret; this is to benefit the accused, not the prosecution. If no formal indictment or impeachment is voted – because evidence of wrongdoing is inadequate and the presumption of innocence must prevail – it would be a gross miscarriage of justice to release material destructive of the innocent party’s reputation. Yet in the case of the President we get leaks virtually every day of testimony damaging to the President without any opportunity to refute or counter it. Case in point, former Ambassador William Taylor recently testified he knew – although he later admits he has only hearsay because he has not talked with Donald Trump; he claims this one told him this and that one told him that and the committee calls this back fence gossip evidence. House leaders trumpet his testimony as convicting evidence of a quid pro quo demand on Ukraine to assist Trump in the 2020 campaign because Taylor got parts of it from sitting Ambassador Gordon Sondland. What the leaders hope we ignore is that Sondland himself contradicted Taylor when he testified. The bottom line is whenever a grand jury inquiry is leaked – especially when the leaks are selective – it has become a trial and without a full court press of due process it becomes a mistrial.

House leaders know perfectly well there is no way the Senate would convict and without a vote of the full house there is no way to get the case into the Senate for trial. What they hope the voters don’t get – and here is my prediction – is they have no intention now or ever of bringing this matter to a vote of the full House.

The way a trial by gossip – or an election by gossip – works is by presenting a narrative that cannot be refuted because the accused is never given an opportunity to refute it. If a legal process will inevitably proceed to the point where the accused gets his day before the jury – the voters – then you short circuit the process before it gets there. In this case – if you are Nancy Pelosi – you leak one damaging but unproven allegation after another until you finally “confess” you don’t have the votes and cancel the investigation. Presidential credibility and character have theoretically been so hopelessly through the trash compactor even AOC could beat Trump in a general election (were she old enough to run) by possessing the one essential virtue of not being the disgraced Donald Trump who never got his day in court.

What should we do?

We should demand a fair process; the sole counterweight to leaking selective bits of information and insidious dishonesty as to mandate full disclosure now. Pious claims of need-for-secrecy from a chair already caught in multiple lies so outrageous even the New York Times calls him out should be mocked. For Americans of faith there should be serious and sustained prayer before and after demands for full revelation.

We should demand a legislated code of conduct – changeable only by new legislation – that precludes such a travesty ever again no matter who runs the House. (If it passes the House first it should survive court challenge.) We should vote in lawmakers who will enact such changes in 2020 because it is in everyone’s interest to bring justice back to Congress, lest a new majority commit a new but identical tyranny with different victims. And again for those of faith, commit prayer before and after demanding.

The biblical Sons of Issachar – descendants of the patriarch of the same name – are depicted in 1 Chronicles 12:32 as people who “understood the signs of the times and knew what Israel should do.” This is to say they were gifted with comprehending the context of their times and its challenges. We are going to need a lot of Sons of Issachar – and be prepared to hear them – if our nation is to weather this typhoon. Therefore…

Last and most important – let each of us repent of the times we have convicted anyone by gossip. Acorns are what grow into oak trees. Repentance releases clarity within the lens of context. And context is important.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books. or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

DANGEROUSLY SELF-DESTRUCTIVE

By James A. Wilson

A democratic republic depends on a robust two – or more – party system to flourish. The healthy rough and tumble of debate, competition, and victory for one alongside defeat for the other at the polls every election cycle is what creates and maintains a healthy body politic. Yet the unhinged rhetoric – and behavior – of one party threatens to create such a voter backlash against it we may find ourselves effectively a one-party culture following the 2020 general election.

The Democratic Party was the creation of Andrew Jackson and John Calhoun in the first third of the nineteenth century. Its twin purposes were to perpetuate slavery and suppress the power of banks; the latter became moot after Jackson left the White House but the party bent every effort toward preserving slavery through the Civil War and minimizing the impact of its destruction for a century thereafter. The Ku Klux Klan was created and populated by Democrats.

This is relevant history in light of Democratic claims to be the party of help for minorities. Since the sixties they have talked a good game but have never delivered on their promises. Although civil rights legislation required both parties – within their adversarial relationship – to bring it about, it took Donald Trump to bring prosperity to minority communities and move beyond token appointments of a judge here and a cabinet secretary there to make America the society we envisioned when we confessed all men created equal.

This party that spawned the KKK is now led by people like (black) presidential contender Cory Booker, who recently announced he wanted to punch President Trump in the face; he relents only because he does not – in his words – want to sink to Trump’s level. Yet Trump has threatened no one; his level is a good deal higher than Booker’s. Frontrunner (white) Joe Biden actually challenged the president to a fistfight; his challenge was ignored. These antics bring ridicule on leaders and trash the credibility of their party.

It is current standard operating procedure for Democratic candidates and congressional leaders to resort to absurd slanders – racist in chief, white nationalist and white supremacist in chief – instead of addressing issues. They threaten impeachment for enforcing immigration law on the one hand and refusing to cave to pressure from the now thoroughly discredited Russia conspiracy investigation on the other. On top of this is the evident chaos as rookie members of Congress announce harebrained plans to offer free healthcare to illegals while citizens struggle to pay for health insurance for their families. At the same time the neophytes spew anti-Semitic poison their leaders are powerless – or unwilling – to address. The party looks pathetic and voters are awakening to the pathos.

Other factors make the party look sinister. In the aftermath of the Mueller investigation the exposure of fraud and perjury against the FISA court by FBI officials – including James Comey – gains breadth and clarity daily. All the personalities under investigation are Democrat activists and operatives. The emerging level of corruption amounting to an attempted coup is unprecedented.

The most chilling revelation – recently – is found in the testimony of Dr. Robert Epstein, Senior Research Psychologist of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology before the Senate Judiciary Sub Committee on the Constitution. According to Epstein party supporters outside of government diverted two-point-six million votes to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election by manipulating social media; ironically this is roughly the same number Clinton claimed to exceed Trump’s total. Epstein went on to testify the actual number of diverted votes was likely larger – and would be much larger in 2020 as social media moguls become more intentional.

I said at the beginning the health of a democratic republic depends on a robust balance, debate, and ongoing contest between at least two parties commanding allegiance in a broad swath of the American public. The contest is an un-mandated but thoroughly necessary check-and-balance in a free society. In this season the Democratic Party is so compulsively binding itself in knots of incompetence, corruption, and lunacy it risks total disintegration of credibility beyond its shrinking base.

This is not a good thing for Republicans or the country. I hold as much disdain and mistrust for Republicans who do not live up to their vision of freedom for all – the vision on which they were founded in the 1850s to eliminate slavery and the corruption of rule by privilege – as I do for Democratic elites who are unfortunately living down to theirs in this season. Politics inherently appeals to those who love power more than progress, despite the presence of good men and women in both parties. If either party becomes simply irrelevant it gives free rein to the worst elements in the other.

My prayer is that the Democrats will recognize redemption when they see it and spend a season of rebuilding instead of seeking a season of revenge. My prayer is likewise that Republicans will see this not as a time of plunder but as a time to say, “There but for fortune…and the love of God for our nation…”

As of now one party is dangerously self-destructive and the other can be easily infected with the same disease if it takes coming success as a reward rather than an object lesson.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com