As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on articles of impeachment this week, President Donald J. Trump should make a powerful appeal to the American people to terminate this charade. And he should do so with one of his most awe-inspiring tools: a prime-time Oval Office address to the Nation.
While President Trump speaks almost daily from the Cabinet Room, the Rose Garden, or the South Lawn of the White House, only once before has he used the majesty of his actual office to speak to the entire country: On January 8, he discussed the southern-border wall and the government shutdown
from the Resolute Desk.
This is an even more momentous occasion: the Democrat effort to dislodge him as the ultimate spiteful act from a party that hates his guts beyond measure. The American people discern this and have not been fooled by the Democrats’ feeble effort to transform his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into a latter-day Watergate break-in
. Rather than expand support for impeachment, weeks of hearings shrank it
, especially among independent voters. Real Clear Politics’ survey average found Americans favoring impeachment by a 9 percent margin on November 10. By December 13, that had collapsed to a 0.8 percent margin
. Moreover, President Trump’s job approval numbers have inched up. Recent polls find him leading his potential rivals in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Nice work, Democrats!
Democrat House members in 31 districts that candidate Trump won in 2016 know this and appear increasingly nervous. Indeed, New Jersey’s Jefferson Van Drew, DDS, just announced that he will abandon the Democrats and join the GOP. Impeachment is shriveling the House Democrat conference!
With momentum on his side, President Trump should communicate directly, in prime time, with his entire constituency, from the office that symbolizes the presidency.
He should say that there was nothing wrong with requesting that President Zelensky examine his country’s corruption, possible Ukrainian intervention in the 2016 U.S. election
, and any possible graft between the Bidens and Burisma, the dodgy Ukrainian natural-gas company. The American people will appreciate President Trump’s explanation that he wanted to keep $391 million in tax money from tumbling down a crooked rat hole. That was worth a 55-day pause in the delivery of lethal military aid. This was nothing compared to the 1,066-day fruitless wait for military assistance under Obama
. He sent pillows and blankets. Trump sent tank-busting Javelin missiles.
President Trump should remind Americans that there was no victim here. Democrats could not decide whether Trump blackmailed or bribed Zelensky. So they turned neither of these relentlessly repeated, contradictory accusations into an article of impeachment. Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials publicly stated at least 12 times that they never felt pressured or extorted by Trump
. So, where is the treason, bribery, high crime, or misdemeanor?
President Trump should stress that the Ukrainians got what they wanted: two phone calls with America’s commander in chief, a high-profile bilateral meeting at the United Nations, and the Russiacidal security assistance. They scored all of this, and never launched or even announced any investigations of anyone. So, again, where is the treason, bribery, high crime, or misdemeanor
President Trump should confirm what the Democrats’ darling, Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, told the House Intelligence Committee on November 19: “There was an opinion, legal opinion, rendered that the hold was legal
.” If, in fact, the president asked his National Security Council attorneys whether the pause in Ukrainian aid were legal, and they reassured him that it was, then, yet again, where is the treason, bribery, high crime, or misdemeanor?
None of this adds up to abuse of power, as the first article of impeachment asserts.
As for the second article, Democrats claim that President Trump’s refusal to produce requested documents and key advisers equals “obstruction of Congress.” Presidents of both parties have invoked executive privilege over internal records and the testimony of top personnel. Presumably with Obama’s permission or encouragement, former attorney general Eric Holder refused to hand over papers related to the deadly Fast and Furious gun-running catastrophe. In June 2012, the House voted on a bipartisan basis to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. Neither Holder nor Obama was impeached for this obstruction of Congress. Holder stayed at Justice in peace, until he departed for the private sector in April 2015. Obama finished his second term, and his wife is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate.
If President Trump disobeyed a court order to cooperate with a congressional probe, Democrats would be onto something. But if merely asserting executive privilege and awaiting the decision of a judge constitute obstruction, then so is fighting a speeding ticket in court.
President Trump should defend himself on TV and then encourage Americans to call their congressmen at 202-225-3121 and demand that they reject both articles of impeachment. With this thoroughly partisan outrage growing more unpopular by the day, who knows? A sufficiently strong public response could sink impeachment in the House, after which Democrats would devour each other like piranhas.
What a Christmas gift to America that would make!
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a contributing editor with National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.