On Episode 71 of War Room: Impeachment, former White House Counsel Jim Schultz thoroughly debunks Democrat’s two articles of impeachment: obstruction of congress and abuse of power.
Concerning obstruction of congress, “We heard during the testimony that the claim was the president, the president’s advisor, and the White House Counsel Office, and the executive branch generally didn’t cooperate with the investigation, didn’t produce witnesses, didn’t produce documents.”
Schultz disproves this: “There’s a system of checks and balances in this country. When a subpoena is issued by congress to the executive branch of government, the executive branch has an ability to object to that, seek to quash that subpoena. They stopped the testimony of a number of folks who didn’t want to testify, and they had valid, colorable legal claims to make an argument as to why they shouldn’t [testify]. Congress just ignored that.”
Instead of pursuing this dispute via the courts, “all Democrats in congress were interested in doing was demagoguing the issue rather than actually following the law, going to court over this, taking it through the appeals courts, taking it up to the Supreme Court if they would hear it and get a final judgement as to whether these materials were validly asked for, whether the testimony was validly asked for, whether the administration can object to that testimony and those materials. So you do don’t get an obstruction of congress claim if you’re exercising legal rights.”
Host Stephen K. Bannon asks him to explain the importance of executive privilege and how it factors into impeachment.
Schultz explains “The reason executive privilege is there is because there are certain things that go on in the executive branch like certain deliberations which are very important. When those deliberations take place, the president and his advisors need to be free to communicate with each other on the deliberate actions and needs they have to take in order to make good decisions for this country. That was constitutionally recognized and recognized by courts of law as something that is imperative to the executive branch in order for it to do its job.”
Executive privilege was extended to the Obama administration, best exemplified through the Fast & Furious scandal: “During the [Fast and Furious] Case, Obama only had conversations with the then Attorney General Eric Holder, and for those conversations, executive privilege was asserted. They didn’t turn over that information. They didn’t testify as to those conversations relating to the Attorney General and the president because they believed that was a deliberative discussion imperative to the executive branch doing its business.”
Bannon summarizes: “Are you saying the reason there is obstruction of congress is because Nancy Pelosi force marched this so quickly? What she should have done in a proper manner is to go through the courts, the other branch of government, and let the courts decide on what would be a fundamental or foundational decision on separation of powers?”
Schultz agrees and adds “whether portions of those discussion are discoverable by congress, what is discoverable by congress, all that is set up to be worked out through the court system and for the courts to make that judgement at the end of the day.”
Democrats were only “concerned about a time frame to impeach the president. This has nothing to do with following the law, everything to do with ramming this thing through as quickly as they could because remember, while this is happening the numbers are going down on impeachment.”
Democrat’s invitation for the White House to participate occurred so far into the process that they had no due process: “They start out with Nadler which was a train wreck. Then they move to the basement to take depositions and hold hearings in secret. They bake the cake in the basement, and then they come out and they’re going to hold some hearing over at Judiciary and say, hey White House participate in this in some way shape or form. At that point in time they’re just asking the White House to be around for putting icing on the cake. The White House needs the ability to go in there and cross examine witnesses early on.”
Guest Jenny Beth Martin also adds that President Trump released two phone call transcripts, effectively giving up executive privilege.
Schultz debunks the abuse of power charge as well: “They went to abuse of power because they certainly didn’t have treason and [since] you’re appealing to the American public here. They’re not going to a court of law with this. They’re not making charges that a judge is going to rule on. They’re making charges the Senate is going to rule on. This is entirely political.”
“They’re just trying to force through an agenda they’ve had since day one.”