Right church, wrong pew, as we Catholic types are wont to say.

As I have explained, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is wrong to insist that the Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause demands that the so-called White House whistleblower be unmasked and publicly questioned. That does not mean, though, that Paul’s general idea (that the “whistleblower” should testify) is wrong; nor does it mean that the Constitution’s guarantee of trial rights is irrelevant.

The right to present a defense, also vouchsafed by the Sixth Amendment, is the guarantee on which Paul and the rest of the president’s supporters should focus.

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This comes with caveats I have previously articulated. The Constitution vests the House and Senate with plenary authority over their respective impeachment proceedings (the House to decide whether to file articles of impeachment, the Senate to try the case). No court has the power to make either legislative chamber afford a particular quantum of due process.

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That said, impeachment is inherently political. Here, it has been launched when we are less than a year out from an election in which the American people are supposed to determine for themselves whether the president should keep his job. By the time impeachment has run its course, we could be just a few months from Election Day. Apparently, though, the political class is intent on end-running the sovereign, attempting to remove President Trump on its own. To pull that off, it will need to convince the country that (a) it has grounds so extraordinarily serious that Trump must be ousted forthwith and (b) the procedures under which it impeached were fundamentally fair.

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