Attorney General Bill Barr sat down for an interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum that was supposed to air on Wednesday — but it was overshadowed by the House’s partisan vote to pass articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Ironically, it was during that interview that Barr issued a warning that Democrats tragically need to hear: according to Barr, Dems should be careful about “trivializing” the impeachment process by using it as a “political tool.”
Trivializing the process
In their articles, Democrats alleged that President Trump abused his power by supposedly pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation that could prove politically advantageous to him, as well as for “obstruction of Congress” over his staunch refusal to cooperate with subpoenas issued by Democrat-led committees in the impeachment inquiry.
It is worth noting that neither of those articles specifies any actual crime, much less one of the few impeachable offenses that are laid out in the U.S. Constitution — a remarkable development that Barr pointed out on Wednesday.
He explained to MacCallum that the Constitution’s framers had set a “high standard” in terms of what constitutes an impeachable offense. The Democrats, in his view, failed to rise to that level with the articles they drafted.
“As a general matter, I think we have to be careful about trivializing the process, and they put in a hurdle of high crimes — of treason, bribery, and other high crimes,” Barr said, according to Fox.
He went on: “The articles of impeachment here do not allege a violation of law, and it looks as if it’s going to be along partisan lines — I think — you know, I’m concerned about it being trivialized and used as a political tool.”
Cheapening the blow
Barr’s concerns were echoed by a number of House Republicans during the lengthy floor debate on Wednesday ahead of voting on the impeachment articles.
It was pointed out by various members of the GOP that “abuse of power” is not actually a statutory crime, but rather, an ambiguous descriptor that could be equally applied to virtually every former and future president by an opposing party.
As for the “obstruction of Congress” charge, Republicans rightfully argued that Trump had lawfully asserted his executive privilege against congressional subpoenas — as has virtually every single one of his predecessors — and that the courts are the proper place for Democrats to settle that particular dispute with the president, not an impeachment trial.
For his part, AG Barr is right that all House Democrats have done with their highly partisan impeachment articles is trivialize the process and turn it into just another “political tool” to be used against the opposition.
Unfortunately, the precedent set by Democrats has cheapened the once-sacred procedure — and now, only time will tell who the next president to fall victim to the opposition’s wrath will be.