Adam Graham suggests that Franklin Graham owes an apology to the ten Republicans that voted for impeachment because Franklin Graham suggested, “And these ten, from his own party, joined in the feeding frenzy. It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that Speaker Pelosi promised for this betrayal.”
When impeachment is based on an irrational lie, one can be excused for speculating that improper motives are in play. Perhaps Rev. Franklin Graham should have stated he wondered whether the votes were based on political advantage instead of principle and should not have speculated that Pelosi offered the representatives something in exchange for their vote.
But, if anybody owes an apology, it is the ten Republicans and all others who voted for impeachment. They owe an apology to the American people. In their rush to judgment, they did not ascertain the facts and did threaten constitutional rights.
Let’s look at Adam Graham’s summary of U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler’s tweets giving her reasons for impeachment:
1. “The President’s lying to the American public about the elections.”
Millions do not believe the President was “lying.” There is a mountain of evidence showing massive election fraud and illegality. We are heading down a perilous path if we impeach a President who sincerely believes he was cheated out of an election because he states that belief. Those voting for impeachment on this basis are saying, in effect, that if you complain about election fraud, your speech is not protected by the First Amendment; that you are thereby fomenting violence; and that you must be punished for that. This concept is massively destructive to the right to free speech under the First Amendment and the right to lawful and accurate elections.
The same illogic that declares that speech on a controversial topic is per se a call for violence is now being applied to all Trump supporters. Congressional representatives supporting Trump on the election fraud issue are now vilified by Hillary Clinton as having “conspired with the domestic terrorists.” Twitter and Facebook accounts that address election fraud are being terminated because the forbidden subject “might” lead to violence. YouTube election fraud videos are being banned.
The impeachment of the President for the exercise of his First Amendment rights, expressly calling for a peaceful protest of election fraud, is now followed by calls for spying on, “deprogramming” and imprisonment of Trump supporters, seizure of their children, “de-Baathification” of the Republican Party, and actual terminations of employment contracts with people who attended the rally but had nothing to do with the invasion of the Capitol. Franklin Graham himself is a victim of a petition calling for his termination because he dared to support President Trump.
2. “The President’s lying about . . .Vice President Mike Pence’s ability to overturn the results.”
The President never asked Mike Pence to overturn the election results. The President asked Mike Pence for a delay, with respect to certain states, so their legislatures could then decide whether to decertify the electors and certify new ones. There is an argument from legal scholars that, “if ‘counting’ the electors’ votes is the Vice President’s responsibility, then the inextricably intertwined responsibility for judging the validity of those votes must also be his.” If that is true, then it is reasonable to suggest the Vice President could impose a delay for the purpose of ensuring the validity of the electors’ votes. Mike Pence and his legal advisers did not agree. A difference in legal opinion is not “lying.”
3. “He organized a rally to attract them, worked them to a frenzy, and set them onto the U.S. Capitol building leading to the mob invading the Capitol, Congress fleeing, and five deaths.”
As I pointed out in a previous article, those who attacked the Capitol at 12:40 p.m. probably never heard President Trump’s speech. Due to the hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, there was reportedly a 45-minute walking time from the Ellipse to the Capitol. Those who attacked the Capitol police at 12:40 p.m. had to leave the Ellipse, if they were ever there, at 11:55 a.m. or earlier. This is before the President began his speech at 12:00 p.m. Assuming that it only took 32 minutes to reach the Capitol, as it would under normal conditions, they would have had to leave at 12:08, only eight minutes into the President’s speech. The President’s speech ended at 1:11 p.m., 31 minutes after the attack on the Capitol police began.
Anyone listening to or reading the speech would realize it could not work anyone into a frenzy. The mentions of “fighting” in elections, in the courts, in primaries, in congress, and with the media were not a reference to physical fighting. The President never incited violence but asked only for a peaceful and patriotic march to cheer on his Republican defenders. Interviews at the time indicated rally attendees never thought Trump called for violence, indicated the speech did not fire people up, and even described his speech as “defeatist.”
4. “Herrera-Bueller also said that the President neglected his duty to protect U.S. citizens and that while this was all going on, ‘the only action we know the president took was calling GOP Senators, seeking their support to delay the Electoral College certification.'”
More nonsense. First, this supposed neglect of duty is not even charged in the articles of impeachment.
Second, within approximately a half-hour of the mob breaching the steps on the east side of the Capitol, the President tweeted out “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
About a half-hour later he tweets, “asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order… .”
Thirteen minutes later, the President’s press secretary tweets that the National Guard is on the way at the President’s direction. On two subsequent occasions, the President tweets for those in the Capitol to go home in peace. The mob rejected the President’s requests that they go home.
Third, one would think that those with immediate responsibility for the security of the Capitol would have prepared for such potential attacks years, if not decades, ago. The President should be able to rely on that. No President is expected to micromanage details of security at the Capitol. The account of the chief of the Capitol police makes it clear that those at higher levels in the command structure and the military repeatedly failed to provide aid that he requested before and during the riot. They, not the President, should be held responsible for their failures.
So, maybe Franklin Graham should have modified his criticism of the Republicans who voted for impeachment. But, this issue is small potatoes compared to the conduct of those voting for impeachment. They failed to ascertain the facts and impeached a President because he exercised his First Amendment rights. They transformed protected free speech into the high crime of inciting an insurrection. By doing so, they endanger the rights of us all. They owe the American people an apology.