In 2018, after failing to secure the Republican nomination for Congress, I endorsed Democrat Jeff Van Drew. I found Van Drew’s desire to work “across the aisle” encouraging. Van Drew’s opposition to a Congressional Impeachment inquiry, however, leads me to believe his rationale is based more on political pragmatism, rather than on a desire to faithfully carry out his Congressional duties.
The US Constitution does not expressly give Congress the power to investigate the Executive Branch; this power is derived from their legislative authority and has been affirmed by the Supreme Court. The Constitution does, however, expressly state “The President shall faithfully execute the laws of the United States”. Congressmen, therefore, have the constitutional duty to ensure the President is faithfully executing US laws.
If Congress has a reasonable suspicion (RS) that the President is acting in contravention of the Constitution, they must act. RS is the lesser of two legal standards of proof utilized by law enforcement in initiating investigations and detaining persons. RS is a suspicion on an individual(s) based on specific facts, and inferences drawn from those facts. The Mueller report, which Van Drew acknowledged reading, provided ample RS that the President violated the Obstruction of Justice statute. Congress properly predicated some of their investigations on Mueller’s report.
Recently, Congress initiated an Impeachment Inquiry on the President. The Inquiry was predicated on whistleblower information that the President telephonically requested the President of a foreign country to initiate an investigation on the President’s political opponent. A released transcript of the call corroborated much of this information. More concerning is the allegation, largely unproven at this point, that the President withheld foreign aid to this country unless that country ceded to his demands. In either case, the lower RS threshold has been met.
Corroborative evidence of the above allegations is necessary to satisfy the more stringent legal proof standard, Probable Cause, upon which any Impeachment finding should be based. If the Inquiry results in an Impeachment vote, Van Drew’s vote must be based solely on a careful evaluation of evidence obtained, free of influence from either political party.
Retired FBI special agent and Republican Robert Turkavage ran unsucccessfully for Congress in the 2nd District in 2018.
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