Uri Pilichowski
Author, Educator and Father - Brother to All

Deutch’s Approach to Impeachment Is Commendable

I am a one issue voter. I vote on the US-Israel relationship. I think President Trump is the best president for the US-Israel relationship in America’s history. Even with my gratitude and appreciation of President Trump’s love of Israel, I found Congressman Ted Deutch’s op-ed on the Trump impeachment controversy praiseworthy.

I am by no means an expert on presidents, the constitution, and impeachment. While I am not an expert, I am far from a layman. I am obsessed with all three, and have read extensively on all three subjects. Most recently, I’ve read “To End a Presidency” by Lawrence Tribe and Joshua Matz. I feel comfortable that my comments on Congressman Deutch’s position are informed.

In a recent op-ed, Congressman Deutch wrote that, “The Judiciary Committee officially started its investigation into the abuse of power by President Trump on March 4, 2019. The stated purpose was to consider all constitutional remedies for presidential misconduct, including impeachment. In every meaningful way, our investigation is an impeachment inquiry.” Many people took his comments to mean that Congressman Deutch was calling for President Trump’s impeachment. I didn’t understand his comments that way.

Congressman Deutch was addressing the calls to hold impeachment hearings on President Trump. His argument was a legal one. There is no point in holding impeachment hearings because the results such a hearing would produce are the same ones that the current Judiciary Committee hearings will produce.

One theme of Tribe and Matz’s book is that impeachment is not a weapon to be used lightly. Many times in America’s history, Congress has passed on impeachment of a clearly guilty president because they didn’t think the country would benefit from impeachment hearings. I don’t think it benefits America to have divisive hearings in the House unless there is clear and demonstrable evidence that the president has committed a high crime or misdemeanor. Mere suspicion isn’t enough, and partisan politics are definitely not enough. In fact, I think the burden of proof is on the House to demonstrate that there is a necessity to hold impeachment hearings. As Tribe and Matz stress, necessity should be so clearly evident that the calls for impeachment are bipartisan.

Many friends attacked me this morning for Congressman Deutch’s op-ed (I’m considered a surrogate for Congressman Deutch to some in the pro-Israel community). Mistakenly understanding his op-ed to mean that he was calling for President Trump’s impeachment, many were incensed that a Pro-Israel Congressman would want to impeach the most pro-Israel president in American history. I didn’t share their anger because I didn’t think Congressman Deutch was calling for impeachment.

Although I am a one-issue voter, I believe that a pro-Israel president who committed impeachable offenses should not be allowed to remain in office. Congressman Deutch not only feels the same way, but after taking an oath to uphold the constitution, he is obligated to do so. For those who disagree, consider President Nixon. At the time of his resignation he was thought to be the most pro-Israel president, who saved Israel during The Yom Kippur War. Would you think that because of his pro-Israel stance he should’ve remained president? Yet, I haven’t seen any evidence that leads me to think that President Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors that would qualify him as impeachable. He hasn’t committed anything as dastardly that there is bipartisan consensus that he must be removed from office. The country would be better served by waiting for such clear evidence of wrong-doing. For this reason, I disagree with Congressman Deutch and all those pushing for Justice Committee hearings to continue. Yet, Congressman Deutch’s commitment to truth and ethics from the presidency shouldn’t cause anyone to doubt his commitment to the US-Israel relationship or his reputation as an honest representative. I might disagree with him, but I admire and respect him. I am grateful that he is my congressman.

About the Author
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski is an educator. As a teacher, author and speaker, he teaches Torah and Politics, where he specifically emphasizes rational thought and conceptual analysis.
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