(Jan. 26) The unethical behavior of both Joe and Hunter Biden in dealing with Ukrainian matters is a legitimate matter of congressional interest. But it should not have any bearing on the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.

In the column below this one [at this QuinHillyer site], I will explain why separate Senate hearings on the Bidens, unrelated to the impeachment trial, might be merited, and what the relevant questions would be. The public deserves a thorough exposition of the recent history of U.S. policy vis-a-vis Ukraine since the subject has completely roiled American political waters.

But in the meantime, there was no good constitutional or legal reason for either Biden to testify during the Senate trial. What the Bidens did is immaterial to the case against Trump. Considerations of prudential politics might argue in favor of testimony by the Bidens, but nothing they say should matter in determining Trump’s guilt or innocence, or in deciding if his actions merit removal.

U.S. presidents do not possess any inherent power to police random “corruption” anywhere in the world. Trump’s job was to execute the laws of the United States faithfully, not to seek and punish perceived ethical transgressions by U.S. citizens abroad. His power against “corruption” extends only as far as American law is implicated.

In fact, mutual legal assistance treaties that are standard among allies, including specifically the one between the U.S. and Ukraine, set out extremely specific parameters about whether, when, and how one nation is to request another nation’s help. None of those conditions applied to the Biden affair.

If the Justice Department had identified a specific law the Bidens were suspected of violating or had an official investigation into the Bidens based on ordinary prosecutorial standards, then the Bidens’ behavior would be relevant to the impeachment trial. No such specific allegation or investigation existed then or now….

[The full column is at this link.]


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