Only one way for Trump to get fair impeachment trial

By ED FELSHER,

The U.S. House of Representatives has decided to impeach the President of the United States based upon an accusation of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Impeachment is not a matter to be taken lightly. 

Where this impeachment effort will lead is anybody’s guess at the moment but, conceivably, could lead to the removal of President Donald J. Trump from office.

“High Crimes and misdemeanors” may cover a broad range of crimes, treason being specifically mentioned in the constitution.

While our government concentrates upon impeachment, little is being accomplished to serve the interests of America.

Impeachment is a lose-lose contest. Regardless of the outcome, there are no winners 

Among the multitude of duties performed by congress, impeaching the President is second in importance only to declaring war.

Impeachment is a lengthy and expensive undertaking and represents a total and abysmal failure of America’s democratic process, specifically how we go about electing our leaders.

The damage inflicted upon our nation by presidential impeachment will be long-time healing. 

It will take time to recover and regain confidence in America’s ways and means of sustaining and promoting our democracy around the world.

The impeachment process against President Trump will be a rather one-sided affair. He’s not likely to get a fair trial owing to the Democrat majority in the House and the outright hatred for him displayed by a number of House Democrats. 

While it may be a rather far-out notion for administering the impeachment process, I have a suggestion for doing it that will take less time and far fewer taxpayer dollars.

His role as Commander in Chief of all U. S. Armed Forces causes the President to fall under the jurisdiction and protection of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). 

He is entitled to call upon the UCMJ for deciding and judging his guilt or innocence of high crimes and misdemeanors. 

This would be the first time in U.S. history that the UCMJ will have been used in such a way but it will the best, and maybe the only, way to guarantee the President a fair hearing.

Application of the UCMJ to the case of President Trump’s impeachment would place him before a military court martial consisting of seven members comprising the Board that would hear witnesses, consider evidence and rule upon his guilt or innocence and then impose punishment, if appropriate. 

The Board would be drawn from senior military and civilian Department of Defense officials experienced in the military justice system and cognizant of military principles and values.

The seven members of the Board would each have voting rights in matters relating to guilt or innocence and punishments. A team of lawyers representing all of the military services would be appointed to support both the Prosecution and Defense arguments.

Article 134 of the UCMJ will detail the specific charges against Donald Trump for the purpose of gathering evidence and deciding guilt or innocence.

Finding the President guilty under Article 134 requires proof of inappropriate behavior in three areas: conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, behavior that prejudices good order and discipline and behavior that brings discredit upon the armed forces. 

A finding by the Court Martial Board that Trump’s conduct did in fact, violate the provisions of Article 134 will result in a verdict of guilty with appropriate punishments.

Trial under the provisions and protections of the Uniform Code of Military Justice offers President Trump his best chance for a fair hearing and justice. 

In my opinion, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her followers in the House of Representatives seem hell-bent on seeking revenge against the President for defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. 

It’s nearly impossible for him to get a fair hearing before the House as long as Pelosi and Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, are running the show.

The President 0f the United States is – like every American citizen – entitled to equal protection under         the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

This includes the right to Due Process, the right to present and question witnesses, the right to examine evidence and the right to face his accuser.

Pelosi and Schiff must not be allowed to act as judge and jury in determining the fate of President Trump and the future of our Presidency.

Felsher, a longtime Hattiesburg resident, is a retired Army colonel.