Newt Gingrich: Democrats Are Running a Rigged Game, Not a Legitimate Impeachment Inquiry | Opinion

If you want proof that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats are creating a rigged game that sets up a coup to destroy the president, simply look at the last two legitimate impeachment efforts—in 1973 and 1998.

Both Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino in 1973 and Republican House Judicial Committee Chairman Henry Hyde in 1998 set a standard for fairness and operated with a judicial temperament of seeking the truth rather than maximizing partisan advantage.

In 1973, Rodino set the gold standard for fairness. The rights of the minority party were protected. The American people's right to know what was going on was protected. Chairman Rodino himself set a standard for fairness and seriousness as a congressman exercising constitutional oversight.

In fact, the "Rodino rules" for bipartisanship were widely considered so fair and legitimate that when we were faced with a special counsel report charging that President Bill Clinton had committed 11 potentially impeachable offenses, our initial response was bipartisan. Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt and I held a joint press conference announcing that we had agreed the entire report should be published so the American people could make up their own minds.

Compare their behavior with the wild lies Chairman Adam Schiff has been telling for two years—first about the Russian collusion hoax and now about the Ukrainian absurdity. If you read the opening statements of Rodino and Hyde, and then look at the profoundly dishonest opening statement of Schiff, you can see the difference between people who are trying to uphold the rule of law and people who seek to destroy a president at any cost.

The result of these two very different approaches can be seen in the voting pattern in the House. In November 1973, the House voted to fund the investigation into President Richard Nixon on a bipartisan 367-51 vote. By February 1974, everyone was so convinced that Rodino was being fair and nonpartisan that the resolution to conduct a formal investigation passed 410-4.

Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi answers questions with House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff at the U.S. Capitol on October 2 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Dr Alistair McInnes, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University,

When we were faced with the Starr report, we were in a more polarized environment. The Clinton team had concluded that they had to run a very partisan defense. Despite the intense efforts of James Carville and others to polarize the Democrats, we continued to push with Chairman Hyde in an open way.

The result of our openness was that a substantial number of Democrats continued to vote with us on the procedures despite intense pressure from the White House and outside groups. In September 1998, the House voted to release the Starr report by 363-63 (nine failed to vote). Among Democrats, 138 voted to proceed in a fair way, and only 63 voted against investigating President Clinton.

Think about that. In 1998, we carried House Democrats by better than 2:1 to investigate President Clinton.

In the current atmosphere—with the dishonest, one-sided rigged game, and indeed, an obvious liar as chair of the investigation—can you imagine two-thirds of the House Republicans voting with Pelosi and Schiff for a witch hunt conducted under totally partisan rules?

Everyone who is interested in better understanding how fair people used judicial standards and basic fairness in 1973 and 1998 should read former Congressman and current Judge Jim Rogan's personal history of the process in an important book: Catching Our Flag: Behind the Scenes of a Presidential Impeachment.

It will make crystal clear that the current partisan actions are a complete sham.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich is the chairman of Gingrich 360, the host of the Newt's World podcast and author of the New York Times best-sellers Understanding Trump and Trump's America.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.