Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.
– “A Man For All Seasons”, Robert Bolt (Act I)
You can append any outrageous charge with “if” and the sentence that results would be true. If I ate babies, I would be a cannibal. If I did, I would be. But I do not. So I am not.
Currently, we have a set of accusations made against the President by anonymous witnesses offered behind closed doors. Those judging the evidence are not impartial. They exclude all except those who agree with them. The conclusions and public pronouncements made by the investigating committee are frequently contradicted by both facts and the statements of those testifying after they leave. If Trump had done the things he is accused of he should be removed. But an accusation alone is not enough to condemn a man. There must be proof. And the proof must be credible, and it must be presented openly and subject to investigation.
We have established norms of evidence in this country. They are not being followed in the investigation of the President. We have established procedures for investigating accusations of misconduct. No cross-examination of witnesses is allowed. The Intelligence Committee is investigating the accusations, not the committee that should be investigating the accusations (Judiciary). The
main inquisitor committee chair with the responsibility of impartiality is behaving in an egregiously biased manner.
I understand why the press is playing this as gospel. It sells papers and views and they have no obligation to respect the facts or tell the truth. What I do not understand is how any rational person – especially those educated in the law – can take this process seriously, at least as far as a legal proceeding. What should be taken seriously should be the assault on the bedrock principle of this country: due process of law. Anyone, especially lawyers, should be ashamed of themselves if they put the result of a trial ahead of the process.