Restraining an out-of-control House
On October 24, fifty of the fifty-three Republicans in the United States Senate sponsored a resolution calling on the House of Representatives to initiate a formal impeachment proceeding that provided "due process" to the president and, among other things, provided equal subpoena power to the House minority. The resolution adopted by the House one week later, however, continues the Star Chamber-like hearings before its Intelligence Committee and treats House Republicans as supplicants with respect to the subpoena power.
Should the Senate respond, and, if so, how?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should hold a press conference, ASAP, to explain to the American people that the impeachment inquiry resolution adopted by the House majority amounts to a rebuff of the Senate's call for due process and equality of treatment for the House minority. McConnell should explain that if the president accepted the unfair procedures adopted by the House Democrats, he would be approving an assault on the Constitution's provision of separation of powers for the three branches of government, thus reducing the presidency to an arm of the House majority. Senator McConnell should tell the American people that the Senate cannot stand by and accept a sham impeachment that undermines the Constitution and replaces the will of a House majority for the will of the people in choosing a president.
McConnell should go further. He should emphasize that the House resolution, in Section 4, "IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY PROCEDURES IN THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY, "allow[s] for the participation of the President and his counsel." He should point out, however, that this comes only after the House Intelligence Committee has completed its secret work, including issuing selective leaks to a biased media. Senator McConnell should recommend that the president not participate in an exercise that would undermine the Constitution, transforming the presidency into an executive servant of the House majority. He might close by citing Federalist No. 48 --" It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it." -- and add his regret that by its invidious impeachment inquiry resolution, the House has clearly passed the limits assigned to it by the Constitution.
And what will the imperious Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi do if the president declines to participate in a sham proceeding -- order Capitol police to arrest him?