Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak appeared on PolitiKING with Larry King on Ora.TV Tuesday evening with veteran broadcaster Larry King and former Barack Obama campaign spokesman Zach Friend to debate the looming House vote on impeachment and Senate trial of President Donald Trump.
Pollak took apart the two articles of impeachment, noting that the first article, “abuse of power,” was impossibly broad; and that the second article, “obstruction of Congress,” effectively punished the president for doing his constitutional duty. He also observed that the president had not actually been accused of violating any law.
“Abuse of power is not an impeachable offense in the Constitution,” said Pollak. “It’s not there. ‘Treason, Bribery, or High Crimes and Misdemeanors’; ‘abuse of power’ is not among those words.”
Neither of the two articles of impeachment identify statutes alleged to have been violated by the president, noted Pollak.
Friend criticized Senate Republicans for stating in advance that they would not vote to remove the president, saying they should be impartial. Pollak pointed out that most Senate Democrats, including nearly every one of them who is running for president, had already taken sides.
He also noted that Democrats were reversing centuries of precedent under the Magna Carta and the Constitution, in which the accused, not the prosecutor, enjoys the right to a “fair trial.”
King noted that the Framers of the Constitution were determined to avoid giving the president the power of a monarch. Pollak countered that Thomas Jefferson specifically warned James Madison about the “tyranny of the legislature.”
Friend argued that the President had obstructed Congress by not providing all of the witnesses Democrats had asked for, and that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was right to call for four new witnesses in the Senate. Pollak pointed out, and Friend conceded, that Democrats had not even called one of those witnesses, John Bolton.
Larry King asked Pollak whether he thought it was appropriate for President Trump to have asked the president of Ukraine to “do me a favor.” Pollak corrected King’s misquoting of Trump, “No, Larry. You have the quote wrong. [Donald Trump] said, ‘Do us a favor … because our country has been through a lot.”
The panel was later joined by Stephen Binhak, a former member of the team that investigated President Bill Clinton under independent counsel Ken Starr. He agreed with Pollak that the second article of impeachment was dubious, but said he thought the first article fell within more traditional bounds, though he did not expect the Senate to remove the president in any case.
Later, as Friend and Pollak resumed debating the question of whether Democrats had enough evidence to convict the president, Friend said that if the Trump had nothing to hide, he should have provided the House all the evidence it had demanded.
Pollak then asked Friend to hand over his smartphone for him to peruse, saying he would do so if he had nothing to hide. Friend did not provide the phone.
The Breitbart News editor likened the Trump impeachment to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1868. King interjected that Johnson was among the worst presidents in American history. “That’s not an impeachable offense,” Pollak noted.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.