Talk show host and former top Reagan Justice Department official Mark Levin called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to declare the House impeachment of President Donald Trump “null and void” because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed to transmit the articles to the Senate.
Similarly, Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz argued in a Thursday Op-Ed that a failure to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate would rob Trump of his constitutional rights.
Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution provides that “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments … And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”
In a series of tweets, Levin, who served as chief of staff to Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, wrote, “Nancy Pelosi was apparently advised by leftwing Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe to delay sending the impeachment to the Senate. So she’s unilaterally sitting on the impeachment. This is another brazen unconstitutional act.”
“Here’s what Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans must do in response: The Senate has the sole power under the Constitution to adjudicate an impeachment. Therefore, Pelosi is attempting to obstruct the Senate’s power to act on its constitutional authority,” the Fox News host continued.
2. Here’s what Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans must do in response: The Senate has the sole power under the Constitution to adjudicate an impeachment. Therefore, Pelosi is attempting to obstruct the Senate’s power to act on its constitutional authority.
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) December 19, 2019
“McConnell should immediately put an end to this and declare the impeachment null and void as the speaker has failed to complete the impeachment process by timely sending it to the Senate for adjudication,” Levin tweeted.
He then argued that that McConnell has “no less authority to [act] unilaterally” than Pelosi.
“Her effort to cripple the presidency & blackmail the Senate must be defeated,” Levin concluded.
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Dershowitz specifically took on Tribe’s notion that the articles of impeachment could be withheld indefinitely.
“[Tribe] would withhold the trial until the Senate agreed to change its rules, or presumably until a new election put many more Democrats in the Senate. Under his proposal, there might never be a Senate trial, but the impeachment would stand as a final and permanent condemnation of President Trump,” wrote Dershowitz, who reportedly is being considered to be part of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial legal team.
“It is difficult to imagine anything more unconstitutional, more violative of the intention of the Framers, more of a denial of basic due process and civil liberties, more unfair to the president and more likely to increase the current divisiveness among the American people,” the top defense lawyer continued. “Put bluntly, it is hard to imagine a worse idea put forward by good people.”
“President Trump would stand accused of two articles of impeachment without having an opportunity to be acquitted by the institution selected by the Framers to try all cases of impeachment. It would be as if a prosecutor deliberately decided to indict a criminal defendant but not to put him on trial.”
Among the constitutional violations Dershowitz identified would result from a failure to transmit the articles of impeachment is denying Trump the right to confront his accusers and be acquitted of the charges leveled against him.
Speaking from the Senate floor on Thursday morning, McConnell addressed the possible non-transmission of the articles, saying, “Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country and second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial.”
“They said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even wait for due process but now they’re content to sit on their hands. This is really comical.”
On Tuesday, McConnell responded to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s demand for four new witnesses to appear at a Senate trial, saying the Senate will not do the House’s “homework” for them.
“He wants to volunteer the Senate’s time and energy on a fishing expedition to see whether his own ideas could make Chairman Schiff’s sloppy work more persuasive than Chairman Schiff himself bothered to make it,” McConnell said.
The majority leader further pointed out, “If House Democrats’ case is this deficient, this thin, the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it over here in the Senate, the answer is the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place.”
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