Looking Back at the Democrats' Failed Partisan Impeachment | Opinion

It has been six months since the Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump on House Democrats' partisan impeachment allegations. Already, Democrats and their allies are trying to rewrite history to serve their political agenda in advance of November's election. Look no further than the forthcoming book by Norm Eisen, the Democratic consultant briefly hired by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to pursue President Trump's impeachment.

This book, as excerpted and adapted in a recent Washington Post article, suggests that House Democrats failed to remove President Trump from office because the president's legal defense team was "corrupt." In the excerpted passage, the former Nadler consultant specifically accuses Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin of lying during the Senate trial about the lack of procedural protections afforded to the president during the Judiciary Committee's proceedings. Mr. Philbin, a widely respected attorney, does not deserve to be slandered in this self-promotional quest to sell books.

The truth is that House Democrats did not give President Trump basic procedural protections—let alone the same rights afforded to presidents in prior impeachment proceedings. For over two months, during Chairman Adam Schiff's fact-finding in the House Intelligence Committee, the president and his lawyers were shut out of the process. The president could not call witnesses, examine the Democrats' witnesses, object to evidence or even appear in Chairman Schiff's basement bunker.

Although Democrats belatedly adopted a rule that allowed the president minimal procedural protections in the Judiciary Committee, the rule also authorized Chairman Nadler to unilaterally deny those rights if the president sought to assert privileges or challenge subpoenas. Chairman Nadler later signaled his intent to do just that in a letter to the president's lawyers.

House Democrats never had any intention of giving President Trump a fair process. Democrats repeatedly rejected Republican requests for witnesses. Democrats directed witnesses not to answer questions posed by Republicans. Democrats denied Republicans co-equal subpoena power, a feature of previous presidential impeachment inquiries designed to ensure procedural fairness.

President Trump celebrating acquittal
President Trump celebrating acquittal NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

And when the impeachment proceedings reached the Judiciary Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed Chairman Nadler to begin drafting articles of impeachment before the Committee even heard from a single fact witness. As it so happened, the Judiciary Committee never heard live testimony from any fact witnesses during the impeachment inquiry. The brief Judiciary Committee portion of the hearings—only two days—was merely pro forma, and consisted of hearing from law professors on the first day and Intelligence Committee staff lawyers on the next.

It is no surprise that House Democrats are whitewashing their failed attempt to remove President Trump in the first partisan impeachment in the nation's history. What is curious is that the former Nadler consultant portends to have anything novel or interesting to say about the matter. During a majority of the relevant period, after Speaker Pelosi sidelined the Judiciary Committee in favor of Chairman Schiff's Intelligence Committee, he had no role in the events. In the Senate trial, Speaker Pelosi again deferred to Chairman Schiff and his staff over Chairman Nadler. Democrats' attempts now to recast these events in a glowing light—and to slander a dedicated public servant in the process—are nothing but revisionist history.

The Senate ultimately rejected the House Democrats' partisan articles of impeachment because the facts were on President Trump's side. The lasting memory of the Senate trial is not what the former Nadler consultant recounts about Mr. Philbin and the president's legal team. It is instead the image of Chairman Nadler racing to the Senate lectern, over the protests of a genuinely surprised Chairman Schiff—"Jerry, Jerry, Jerry"—for one last diatribe against the president. This spectacle of Democratic infighting was the death rattle of the their partisan impeachment. No amount of revisionist history can change that.

Jim Jordan is a Republican congressman representing Ohio's fourth congressional district. Doug Collins is a Republican congressman representing Georgia's ninth congressional district. They both serve on the House Judiciary Committee.

The views expressed in this article are the writers' own.