Opinion / Politics

House Impeachment Vote Does Not Undo Secret Star Chamber

impeachment

The partisan House impeachment vote on October 31, formalizing the process and seeking to “normalize” unprecedented practices, does not undo the harm.  House leaders are badly off track – beginning with use of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) to conduct secret depositions. What we are witnessing is the Old English Star Chamber – and it endangers American democracy.  Here is why.

In 1975, the House Intelligence Committee was formed to investigate illegalities by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Secrecy was justified only by the need to review classified material. 

Throwing HPSCI’s cloak over impeachment has no justification.  Questions posed are not on classified material.  In fact, the seminal July 25, 2019 call transcript between President Trump and Ukraine’s President has been released – by the White House.

Of course, proper use of HPSCI would be investigating misdeeds by CIA and FBI during the 2016 election.  But that will not happen, as House leadership refuses to hold a Democrat Administration accountable. 

Instead, HPSCI has been diverted to impeachment, purview of Judiciary.  In effect, another non-partisan institution has been yoked to politics.  This time, it is serious.  This move has the potential for long-term damage.

So far, HPSCI has secretly interrogated 15 witnesses – including four Ambassador-rank former officials (Marie Yovanovitch, Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, and Bill Taylor), two Assistant Secretaries and two Deputy Assistant Secretaries (Kathleen Wheelbarger, Phillip Reeker, George Kent and Laura Cooper), three White House staff (Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, and Catherine Croft), an advisor to the Secretary of State (Michael McKinley), acting Director of National Intelligence (Joseph McGuire), inspector general (Michael Atkinson), and acting Director of OMB (Russell Vought).       

Their pattern is clockwork.  Witnesses are cherry-picked, and secretly pumped for dirt.  Depositions are conducted without an attorney for the accused president, without collateral subpoena power by an aggrieved minority, and without due process.  No uninterrupted cross-examination or power to object to questioning. 

Depositions are premised on hearsay (i.e. the anonymous “whistleblower complaint,” ironically coached by a HPSCI staffer), while objections to leading questions, witness speculation, false assumptions, or political remarks indicting or insulting the president are considered immaterial.

Each secret interrogation is followed – as if scripted – by the tick-tock of selected media releases.  Contravening rules on release, much as the Obama FBI did, tantalizing bits of adverse, anonymously sourced testimony turn into the next day’s headlines. 

Despite the exculpatory nature of some witnesses, their appearances are cast in the worst light by committee members, who seem to have cultivated an echo chamber of the media.

In short, this committee has become a Star Chamber, the exact thing our forefathers framed our Constitution to avoid.  While impeachment is political, the process was never meant to be secret, substitute for an election, or oust an unpopular president.  Most presidents have been unpopular.

Our Founders would not have imagined a secret committee tasked with bringing down the president – working their will behind closed doors, asserting facts they do not have, aiming to disenfranchise the public.  They trusted the public.

They could not have imagined Congress dropping due process – a principle for which they fought – to advance crass political ends.  They abhorred secret interrogations and would have spoken up against a House conjuring an impeachable offense to reverse an election.

Net-net, enormous damage is being done to our political system by turning the Intelligence Committee into a Star Chamber – a place for secretly vetting impeachments.  Unlike a grand jury, which protects witness identity and has unbiased jurors, the Democratic House is using secrecy as a political foil. 

Far from protecting witness identity, they have leaked testimony – a criminal act for grand jurors.  Rather than unbiased legal review, secrecy promotes their political bias.  The justifications that permit secrecy for a grand jury do not work here.

In short, by lashing intelligence to impeachment, this House has normalized secret proceedings.  That has implications for America, and the next Democratic president facing a Republican House.  Back comes the Star Chamber, which allowed secret proceedings for political oppression. 

Today’s impeachment vote aims to normalize the process.  It does not cure the wrong – any more than repaying a bribe or apologizing for assault.  The damage is done.  If this charade continues to impeachment, Katie bar the door.  The damage to our Republic will be serious.

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S. Bondarenko
2 years ago

I would like to know who Schiffs puppet master is. Shiff reminds me of the rabid dog on “To Kill A Mockingbird.” This group of people are not Democrats. Maybe there is some truth in the movie “Invasions of the Body Snatchers.” Someone needs to put a stop to this kangaroo court now as this is no longer a battle between the parties but rather an attack on the american people ,the country, and our constitution. What happen to “Life Liberty, and Justice For All. The swamp runs deep a d someone better have a lot of shovels cause we”ve only just begun to dig and Shiff is not the master mind not by a long shot. Wouldn’t be surprised if Epsteins demise is somehow tied into these unknown group of people. So many things that have proved that a coup is in place has been presented to the public yet this insanity continues. I feel we should be able to force these people to pay back all the money they have wasted in an attempt to get our president. I commend Trump for everything he has accomplished in 3 years that none have done in the past. He followed thru on all campaigne promises, took out a main terrorist, travel ban on terrorist, donated his salary to USDA, handled Chinas bullying, building the wall, helped vets get more benefits and established a 24 hour hotline,clean up Obama’s mess, uncover corruption, and how about the economy and unemployment, insure funding for black colleges in the works, and he managed to get in a football game all the while being attacked by mongrel dogs. The list goes on. NEED I SAY MORE!!

Don Richardson
2 years ago

It seems to me that the biggest problem here is that too many Republicans seem to agree, or at least go along with, the Democrats in their bid to destroy the freedoms on which our country was founded. Too many in power think of themselves as rulers and not as citizens working for their fellow citizens. The bureaucrats, who frequently have lifetime careers, think they run the country. They think they can wait till this president is gone and things will go back to how they were before him. The media have the same outlook. Unfortunately, way too many people believe the ‘news’ that they hear or read from the media when most of our media have become a left wing propaganda mill that supports the socialists (Democrats, progressives, or whatever they prefer today). Perhaps the worst part of this situation is that our education system not only supports it, but is driving much of it. Those folks in charge of our education system, the administrators and professors are about 90% leftist and they teach those who end up teaching our children. Most of them have never worked in private industry and actually buy into the Marxist socialist agenda. They are indoctrinating the youth from kindergarten through post-grad school that socialism is the ideal form of government and that capitalism is evil. And its not only what they teach but what they are silent about that affects the views of the students. They teach that Hitler was evil but they don’t teach that he was the leader of the German Socialist party. (NAZI is short for the German National Socialist Workers Party.) They don’t teach that the old Soviet Union had to build walls and fences around their country manned with armed guards to keep their citizens from escaping. They don’t teach that Stalin, Mao and Hitler slaughtered over a hundred million (100,000,000 or more) of their own citizens for political reasons and that those were the biggest socialist movements of the last century. The schools spend much of their time propagandizing the students on leftist ideology and little on what the older generation considered education. Thus our schools are rated something like 34th internationally and turn out a couple million new socialists annually. The biggest problem is those coming out of our schools will vote and will soon be taking jobs that put them in control of our country. If we don’t change this soon, America as founded will fall into the dustbin of history and that would be the biggest disaster ever to befall humanity.

ahem tonto
2 years ago

Call, email, text, tweet, or go to the office of your representative and demand they immediately halt this political coup d’Etat. Tell them you will see that each and every person involved in this charade will pay by not being re-elected and you will see that they are prosecuted for treasonous acts against the duly elected President of the U.S.A. We, the people can definitely and absolutely hold them accountable. Tyrants always pay the price for their egregious deeds and Draconian acts in the end. There is no way we are going to permit 230+ Democrat Party congressional representatives(joke) people to undo a legal election to suit their egregious desires. Revolutions have been started for far less. This affront to due process and the will of the people will be stopped.

Ian G Langan
2 years ago

My hope is that cool heads prevail but, if this goes to the end and President Donald Trump is removed from office where does this leave the United States of America ?

Josephine pooley
2 years ago

This needs to be stopped! Stand up America! Hold your representatives accountable!

Stephen Lykins
2 years ago

“The damage to our Republic will be serious”. They don’t care! They WANT to destroy our country – PERIOD!

George Sutton
2 years ago

LMAO is this meant as satire? They “cherry picked” the witnesses? They “interrogated the only ones that had the balls to ignore the White House and obey the lawful subpoenas issued by the House. The only one doing irreparable damage is Trump.

I am M.O.T.he.R.
2 years ago
Reply to  George Sutton

Ding, Ding, Ding! Here’s a real winner! Not! An America hating, socialism loving, useful idiot leftist chiming in with pure ignorance! Lawful subpoenas? Issued by criminal Democrats committing treason with a third coup attempt! Worthless clown!

Dead dump
2 years ago

Look all they have to do is for Republican Congress and Senate pass all those bills that the house pass, that Mitch McConnell has obstructed.
Really simple and then that even will give Trump his second term.
Don’t only blame Democrats, but Republicans as well, as the president for what his done, you all know that’s wrong, if his investigating Biden son , he should do the same for his sons and daughters dealings.
Let’s be fair.

I am M.O.T.he.R.
2 years ago
Reply to  Dead dump

Fair? Really? Instead of dealing with the known crimes that have and are occurring, let’s just investigate those who have not committed crimes. “Let’s be fair”. I have to ask the question, for the umpteen time, and no doubt without an actual factual response, what crime has the President, or his children, committed? This witch-hunt, in search of a mythical crime, is just the third coup attempt, and is treason against this Republic and to be fair, and just, those who participated in them must be tried and hanged accordingly.

dino
2 years ago

You dense oc RATS do what you think that you NEED to do not that it is done in the way real AMERICANS would do it,but do it anyway.I think that you sickos are passing gas upwind,but that’s only my opinion and I think along with many,many other AMERICANS.

Scott Morgan
2 years ago

Please ignore my ignorance but what is a star chamber?

I am M.O.T.he.R.
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott Morgan

A group, or committee, of self-appointed elitists who operate in secret, and acting as judge, jury, and executioner, pass judgement on a person, without their knowledge, with no due process, and without a crime. Found guilty, and punished, simply because the gang said so!

Blue S
2 years ago

Come.now. You know they’re following the procedural rules put in place by the Republican majority House.

Graywolf
2 years ago

We are a republic so don’t look to government to stop the impeachment “we the people” are the government and must stop it. Success is about timing. Let’s wait and see what is released by Durham and Horowitz in a few weeks. Bill Barr has a 3rd investigation underway that may be the clincher of all. Only fight the good fight so we’ll win.

I am M.O.T.he.R.
2 years ago
Reply to  Graywolf

I see a Militia Of The Republic, fighting for justice, being formed by Patriots. Common, ordinary citizens, armed and unarmed alike, removing the tyranny of Congress, and restoring it to it’s Constitutional purpose. All members forced to resign, removed, and barred from elected office for life. Let them experience what they have imposed! Replaced, temporarily by militia members, as selected by public voice vote of militia members from each district. Governors of Commonwealths and States, with the advice and consent, of their Legislatures, appointing two Senators (caveat that no politicians, lawyers, and academia, but honest ordinary citizens) to temporarily serve. The current Congress members are all guilty of malfeasance of office by their actions, or lack of action, at a minimum, and many should be investigated for more serious crimes (aiding and abetting treason, coup attempt, etc) by members of the militia and tried by tribunal with judgements being reviewed by the Supreme Court, and punishment administered swiftly as determined.

Kathy
2 years ago

the Dems are out of control – one sick country with the Dems like a cancer

JohnH
2 years ago

Just an example of how divided the two parties are today. Attack the other party while Rome burns. Use the voting booth to help this.

Susan Perry
2 years ago

Still waiting for Bill Barr to DO SOMETHING!! He is missing in action just like Sessions. I don’t see that he is any better. So disappointed. No one will ARREST any of the Dems. Just makes me sick!

I am M.O.T.he.R.
2 years ago
Reply to  Susan Perry

Please hold on, Barr and Durham are actually working, very methodically, to ensure those at the top, who ordered and controlled the participants of the treason, are brought to justice, not just their minions! Its coming!

Tom @ JJeanie Connor
2 years ago

We have not much to say…. Never vote for another Democrat !!!!!!!

David Campbell
2 years ago

If you hate The United States of America, vote for Democrats.

Pete from St Pete
2 years ago

Trying to remove our duly elected President through communist tactics in contravention to the Constitution is no less than a treasonous act. As individuals our only recourse is to let our congressperson know how we feel about it whether he/she is Democrat or Republican.

Della
2 years ago

Why can’t something be done to stop all this breaking of the law by the DEMS and their cronies. If the government is for the people why can’t we bombard congress with our complaints and stop all this nonsense. It seems the only power I have is to pray because I sure don’t have any money to fight with.

Dee
2 years ago

We need to stop these idiots before they really take down our legal system with their bungling. Law is law; they aren’t following the law. But then how many of Democratic officials do??? When will we get a thorough investigation of Biden and his son?? Hillary and her antics????? They have the FOI Act and the findings of all the things they did but when will they prosecute????? They have the transcripts of all the emails, phone calls during 2016 campaign. What will it take for them to follow up on all this information? I’d do it now while the dems are doing this.

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