King Donald?
October 9, 2019

Joseph diGenova, a lawyer aligned with President Trump and reportedly one of his "off the book" envoys to Ukraine, shared some interesting thoughts on the House impeachment effort on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show Tuesday night. In explaining why he believes the White House is right to stonewall House Democrats, diGenova called their impeachment effort "regicide" — the murder of a king — and compared the whistleblower whose complaint unveiled Trump's Ukraine scandal to "suicide bombers."

"Joe diGenova calls impeachment 'regicide' as if he's really proud of the word," tweeted conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg. "He should be ashamed. Defend Trump, denounce impeachment, but we don't have kings and impeachment isn't murder."

DiGenova's main argument — that the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate because House Democrats haven't held a formal impeachment vote, thus depriving House Republicans of subpoena power — is also flawed. The Constitution gives the House "the sole power of impeachment," and there are no instructions on how to carry it out.

In the impeachment investigations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, there was a House vote, and in each case "the minority party on the investigating committee was granted the power to subpoena," the Los Angeles Times explains. But "the subpoenas were still subject to a vote of the committee, giving the majority party a way to block them," and "even if she allows a vote, there is no guarantee that [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi would grant subpoena power to ranking members, allow the president's counsel to be present during depositions, or other items Republicans say they want in the resolution."

"The Founders very deliberately chose to put the impeachment power in a political branch rather the Supreme Court," Gregg Nunziata, former counsel to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), told The Associated Press. "They wanted this to be a political process and it is." Peter Weber

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