by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Unlike a criminal defendant, the president does not have an array of constitutionally mandated due-process protections. Our law vests the House with the whole of impeachment power. No court may tell the House how to conduct impeachment, and the House need only afford the president whatever minimal protections lawmakers think the public wants him to have if the proceedings are to be accepted as legitimate.
Moral of the story: Better get about the business of figuring out the best substantive defense to the charges that House Democrats are preparing to lodge. The president and his allies are not going to win this on process grounds.
On Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would finally hold a vote to endorse the impeachment inquiry that Democrat-controlled committees have been conducting by fiat for the past month. The speaker indicated that the measure will go to the floor this week, probably Thursday. It will outline the impeachment procedures going forward. Presumably, this will include granting the president and the Republican minority rights to cross-examine witnesses and present their own evidence, in hearings that will go public by mid November. …
… [T]he attack on the process mounted by the president’s allies is already losing traction; soon it will become irrelevant. The public will not be moved by process arguments as long as the Democrats afford the president and the minority a decent opportunity to refute allegations and oppose articles of impeachment.
The president is not going to win this by ranting that he has been subjected to Star Chamber tactics. He is going to have to win it on the merits.