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Sen. Cruz at The Heritage Foundation: If This Becomes the Standard for Impeachment, Every President Going Forward Will Be Impeached Whenever the House Is in the Opposing Party

December 20, 2019

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on The Constitution, this week participated in a conversation with the Heritage Foundation's John Malcolm on the ramifications of House Democrats' biased and baseless impeachment of President Donald Trump. During their conversation, Sen. Cruz, who has litigated nine cases before the Supreme Court and served as a law clerk for the last Chief Justice to oversee an impeachment in the Senate, discussed the dangerous precedent House Democrats have set by moving forward-for the first time the history of our country-with Articles of Impeachment that do not allege a single crime was committed or law was violated.

As Sen. Cruz said:

"I think it is an admission of almost complete defeat. So the two Articles of Impeachment, they don't include a single crime. There was an incredible ‘tell' from the Democrats, because they put out--I think its two weeks ago now--what they called a ‘scholarly report.' Fifty-five pages laying out their legal arguments why they did not need to prove a crime. That for impeachment you had to demonstrate no criminal offense. You did not have to demonstrate any criminal law was violated. You didn't have to demonstrate that any federal law was violated. You could literally impeach a president, even if they didn't have a speeding ticket. They could impeach him."

Describing the first Article of Impeachment, abuse of power, as "lawless," Sen. Cruz:

"Now that standard was on its face lawless. [...] Donald Trump, [is now] the first president in history [to be] impeached without an article claiming a criminal violation. Ultimately they called it an ‘abuse-of-power.' There's no federal statute that makes abuse-of-power--what they've called it--a criminal offense. They've just made this up."

Sen. Cruz went on to describe the second Article of Impeachment, Obstruction of Congress, "jaw-droppingly weak":

"As weak as the first article, the second article is orders of magnitude weaker. It is a jaw-droppingly weak article. Now, why is that? First of all, it's worth noting what the second article is. So its obstruction. Media folks report, ‘Oh! Obstruction! Okay, that's bad.' Well hold on a second. It's not obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice is a crime. That's not what they alleged. Why? Because they can't prove an obstruction of justice. [...] They simply said the mere fact that you assert a privilege is itself impeachable, without their bothering to issue a subpoena or litigate any of these matters. By the way, if that is impeachable conduct, all 45 presidents we've had the United States have committed impeachable conduct. It is an absurd standard to say asserting a privilege is a high crime and misdemeanor. And that's what the second article in the House [says]."

Looking ahead, Sen. Cruz went on to describe the historical significance of House Democrats' baseless impeachment narrative, noting:

"One of the scary things about this standard, what the House Democrats are doing is they're just treating impeachment as a political weapon. Impeachment was meant to be an extraordinary remedy. It was not simply meant to be a tool for one party to attack the other party. If this becomes the standard, every president going forward will be impeached whenever the House is in the opposing party."

He also discussed how House Democrats are using the impeachment process as a political tool:

"They don't like the job Donald Trump is doing as president. They disagree with his policies. They disagree with just about everything about him. [...] Look, there is a remedy. If you disagree with someone politically, if you disagree with someone's policies, the remedy that the Constitution sets up are called ‘elections.' We have them every four years, and you go to the American people and you make your case. The Democrats are entirely entitled to make the case to the American people that they disagree with his policies or his politics or anything else. But they're not entitled to abuse the Constitution's impeachment proceeding by impeaching him with no allegation of a crime and no facts or evidence that support that he's committed an impeachable offense."

Sen. Cruz concluded and shared his hopes for the Senate trial:

"I do think the end result of this, we're going to have a trial, [it's] going to be a fair trial, both sides are going to be allowed to present their case, and then the verdict will be not guilty. How can I say that? Because [House Democrats - the prosecutors] have not proven their case. They haven't alleged a high crime or misdemeanor. The constitutional standard matters. By the way if they had alleged bribery, if they had proven bribery, bribery is a high crime or misdemeanor. If they had facts and could prove bribery that would be a very different outcome, but they don't have the evidence for that. Given the articles they are voting on, the chances that this is thrown out after a fair trial are 100 percent, because they haven't met their case."

Watch full video of Sen. Cruz and John Malcolm's discussion at The Heritage Foundation here.
Watch Sen. Cruz discuss the history of the Constitution's Impeachment Clause here.

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