McCaul, GOP Need to Stop Blaming “Process” & Start Standing Up for America

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7 mins read
Photo by Glenn Fawcett, from Flickr: 170503-H-NI589-023

A growing majority of Americans support impeachment. The facts showing the President’s abuse of authority are so clear and indisputable that even Trump’s allies can’t contest them. Instead, Republicans are complaining about “process” while ignoring substance.

But the substance is clear.

A White House transcript, a whistleblower complaint, and multiple witnesses show that Trump pressured Ukraine to intervene in our 2020 Presidential Election, withholding foreign aid to incite an attack on Joe Biden.

By doing this, Trump abused the power of his office and committed an impeachable offense.

A small group of Republicans have criticized the President. But too many are simply defending Trump, regardless of his crimes and failures.

Exhibit A: Congressman Michael McCaul.

Over the last several weeks, McCaul has made numerous public statements criticizing the impeachment inquiry, providing air cover while his GOP allies pull stunts like physically disrupting a secure Congressional meeting.

Before the inquiry begins: claiming a “manufactured crisis” and “no quid pro quo.”

On September 25, McCaul wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “Impeachment is What Vladimir Putin Wants.” Before the whistleblower report became public, and before any witness testimony, McCaul wrote that “unequivocally there was no quid pro quo.” He claimed the Ukraine matter is a “Democrat-manufactured crisis.”

It turns out that McCaul’s “no quid pro quo” language was straight out of White House talking points.

After McCaul’s editorial, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, testified under oath that Trump threatened to withdraw military aid unless Ukraine took action against Biden.

We also learned that the whistleblower complaint was submitted by a CIA official, supported by additional governmental witnesses. None of these witnesses has been identified as a “Democrat” “manufacturing” a “crisis.”

Demands for multiple impeachment votes and public depositions.

On Fox News on October 19, McCaul complained the House had not voted to begin an impeachment inquiry. On Fox News and later in The Hill, McCaul also complained that the secrecy of the inquiry “defies democracy.”

The first complaint has no basis in the U.S. Constitution or federal law. Article I, Section 2, Clause 5 of the Constitution states, “The House of Representatives … shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” Nothing required the House to vote twice, as McCaul desired; the House may open an inquiry at the discretion of its leadership. McCaul may not like it, but Speaker Pelosi is the only person who decides how the impeachment process develops.

There will be a House vote before articles of impeachment go to the Senate. But the GOP demand for a second vote, before evidence is gathered, was simply a delay tactic. The proof for this? Once Speaker Pelosi announced on October 29 that she would hold an initial vote on the impeachment inquiry, McCaul shifted his complaint to a different process objection, complaining that an open inquiry would somehow be less democratic.

McCaul’s concern about secrecy is also a bad faith argument. Especially given the context: President Trump called the whistleblower a “spy,” suggested that anyone supporting impeachment is committing “treason,” and calls his enemies “scum.” Given that the inquiry touches matters of national security, in terms of U.S. relations with Ukraine, and given the hostile environment towards any participating witnesses, closed-door hearings are essential at this stage – to preserving the integrity of the inquiry as well as the safety of its participants.

Complaints about “jurisdiction.”

On October 22, McCaul wrote a letter complaining that the House Foreign Affairs committee is not part of the impeachment inquiry. McCaul’s core complaint is that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Adam Schiff, does not have “jurisdiction.” According to McCaul, the Foreign Affairs committee, of which he is the ranking Republican member, should be running the investigation.

McCaul’s argument is entirely baseless. Even if the President’s crimes occurred in the foreign affairs context, impeachment is a matter governed by the Constitution. Nothing prevents Speaker Pelosi from designating a committee of her choice to conduct the investigation.

Complaints about “due process.”

On October 24, McCaul wrote another op-ed, this time in The Hill, claiming the impeachment process is a “star chamber” that denies President Trump “due process.”

This critique might be the most disingenuous for McCaul, who served as a federal prosecutor. As any first year law student understands, a criminal inquiry is not conducted in public. Just as a criminal grand jury can gather evidence in confidential proceedings, the House may gather evidence in private before making its case in public.

Putting party before country.

For all of McCaul’s spilled ink and spoken words, I have not seen a single comment on the substance of this controversy.

Does McCaul think it is appropriate that the President of the United States used the power of his office, as well as taxpayer resources, to pressure a foreign government to intervene in U.S. elections?

Even if McCaul would answer “no” to this question, his actions tell a different story.

The smoke he is blowing, to complain about the process of the impeachment inquiry, is simply a cover for Trump. His actions are designed to delay the inquiry and otherwise frustrate the administration of justice.

At this moment when our political system is under attack, you either are a defender of democracy, or you are enabling its destruction.

Rep. McCaul, unfortunately, has chosen his side. The house is on fire, and he’s blocking the firefighters from doing their job.


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Mike Siegel is a civil rights lawyer and former public school teacher. In 2018, he was the Democratic nominee for Congress against Republican Mike McCaul. Follow him on Twitter @SiegelForTexas.

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