We are witnessing a slow-motion descension into legal hell, with politicians so bent on power and rage they are willfully dismantling one of the most precious concepts in American democracy: the right to a fair trial. The attitude is so smug, and the assault so brazen, it should stir every defender of justice to march on Washington.
Inside the bubble of the Capitol, Reps. Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and others have organized a partisan lynch mob to pitchfork pitches to the media that getting rid of a President they don’t like, whose offense is he won one election and is headed to winning another, justifies ditching any pretense to fairness or justice.
Forget the quaint and clearly outdated notions that every individual is innocent until proven guilty, that every accused is afforded the right to a defense, or that insinuations should never be allowed to rise to the level of truth without the challenge of cross-examination.
Instead, Schiff and his minions opted to drive venom to the surface and justice to the sidelines, with the media egging them on and liberal donors cheering them on. Forget the damage they’re causing, or the precedent for endless impeachments they are creating.
The dictionary definition of a fair trial is one that “is conducted fairly, justly, and with procedural regularity by an impartial judge, and in which the defendant is afforded his or her rights under the U.S. Constitution or other law.”
The “street definition” is simpler: you can’t get screwed if a trial is so screwed up, or cooked up, that you’re presumed to be guilty with no right to a day in court.
That’s vigilante justice, and today in Washington, DC the vigilantes are on the loose and hell-bent on driving a duly elected President back to what the elites dub Rubes-ville – the supposed sanctuary of dummies so clueless they’ve chosen to support the most consequential president since Ronald Reagan.
There’s a word for all of this, hypocrisy, the claim to moral standards to which one’s own behavior does not conform.
Now, Schiff and his self-righteous gang of co-conspirators have delayed the Senate from voting for acquittal to embarrass the President as he delivers his annual State of the Union speech and allow the New York Times and others time to release even more “bombshells” to shock the process into overtime.
This is precisely why Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers warned that when procrastination is used to punish, it injures the innocent and that it lets a charge just hang out there until someone heralds it as a criminal contagion.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, echoing the rest of his fellow impeachers, said “the American people deserve a fair trial,” with Schiff adding “without a fair trial government is arbitrary”.
This “trial” has never been fair, not when the accusers play judge and jury, or due process is laughed off like a distraction, or there was never a search for truth but a mission to maim.
Donald Trump is already the most investigated, interrogated, and insulted president in history. The Democrats will now go down in history for abusing the very power for which they accused the president, while instigating further division in a nation already reeling from it.
They lost the trial, and already these political arsonists are screaming that – like the election of 2016 – they refuse to accept the verdict.
A fair trial is essential to maintaining public confidence in the judicial system. Washington needs to be reminded that fairness is also essential to confidence in government and all who serve.
Adam Goodman is an award-winning national Republican media strategist who has advised Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Jeb Bush. He is the first Edward R. Murrow Senior Fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. Follow him on Twitter@adamgoodman3