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Democrats’ second Trump impeachment is unconstitutional, hypocritical and divisive

The Democrats are once again abusing their favorite constitutional clause — the article of impeachment — as a political weapon against President Donald Trump. Their second round is not only as divisive and hypocritical as the first, but it is also unconstitutional.

In their final attempt to disqualify and permanently silence their political opposition, Democrats are abusing the power of impeachment to prevent a private citizen from running for public office in the future. This unprecedented and dangerous action transforms the 150-year precedent of impeachment into just another partisan political tactic.

The constitutional provision, cited in the article of impeachment, claims the “President shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for …” The answer lies in the words themselves. President Trump no longer holds office; the Senate is presently unable to remove him.

Democrats claim this action is to punish former President Trump for alleged incitement of violence. But in a moment exposing the sheer weakness of their case, Democrats shamelessly edited the video of President Trump’s remarks on Jan. 6 by deleting “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

The American people remember that this is not the first time Democrats’ impeachment team has selectively edited evidence — it is an eerie reminder of Adam Schiff’s infamous fabricated transcript of President Trump’s call with President Zelensky.

President Trump, White House staff, administration officials and Republicans in both chambers, including myself, immediately and harshly condemned the criminals who committed violence and caused tragic loss of life at the U.S. Capitol, and we demanded they be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. (Editor’s note: President Trump’s comments about the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters cannot accurately be described as immediate or harsh condemnation. On the day of the violence he posted a video telling rioters to “go home” but adding, “We love you. You’re very special.” It was not until seven days later that he publicly condemned the riot, saying, “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country, and no place in our movement,” and, “No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence.”)

Meanwhile, Democrats refused to censure, punish or impeach members of their own party who are consistently on record encouraging violence by their own supporters, and have repeatedly failed to condemn the violence after it occurs.

This double standard is quite revealing.

When violent left-wing anarchists conducted a sustained assault on a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not call it an insurrection; she called the federal law enforcement officers protecting the building “stormtroopers.” And when violent mobs destroyed public property, she said, “People will do what they do.”

The Democratic attorney general of the state of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, stated last year, “Yes, America is burning, but that’s how forests grow.”

Rep. Ayanna Presley, D-Mass., declared, “There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives.”

While still a California senator, Vice President Kamala Harris urged supporters to donate to a fund that bailed violent rioters and arsonists out of jail. She then said of the violent demonstrations, “Everyone beware. They’re not gonna stop before Election Day in November, and they’re not gonna stop after Election Day. … They’re not gonna let up, and they should not.”

And let us not forget that Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., never faced pushback or repercussions from her Democratic Party colleagues for her blatant incitement of violence against Trump administration officials, when she yelled to her supporters through a megaphone, “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Waters later doubled down on her remarks on MSNBC, saying, “The people are going to turn on them. They’re going to protest. They’re going to absolutely harass them.”

America faces some of our most significant challenges in generations — an unprecedented pandemic, an economic crisis and deep social divisions.

The article of impeachment will do absolutely nothing to solve these problems and unite the American people. In fact, Democrats’ desperate impeachment will only further divide us.

The Senate should swiftly reject the article of impeachment as unconstitutional. This nation must not set a precedent where former public servants, including the president, can be politically persecuted after completing their term in office.

We must instead focus our time and energy on delivering real results to the American people.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik is a Republican who lives in Schuylerville and represents New York’s 21st Congressional District, which spans the North Country.

(Editor’s note: The Enterprise does not often publish opinion columns by elected officials, largely since their views are already given much attention in news articles, but in this case we felt it was important for North Country residents to see our congressional representative lay out her arguments in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. During election campaigns, the Enterprise does not publish opinion pieces by active candidates, incumbent or not; we ask them to advertise instead.)

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