I want to start by thanking Congressman Ben Cline for holding a town hall in Harrisonburg. He clearly takes constituent services seriously. With some important exceptions, I believe Mr. Cline when he says he wants to work across the aisle. The first exception involves Mr. Cline’s commitment to defending the Constitution, so it is pretty serious.

In response to my question, Mr. Cline said that Congress can only impeach a president if he committed an actual crime — i.e., he did something that violated a specific statute. Mr. Cline argues that that the Democrats focused on the wrong things in their impeachment process, which he takes as proof that their concerns are entirely political and not substantive. Therefore, he finds no reason to follow the lead of Watergate-era 6th District representative, Caldwell Butler, in concluding that he is compelled to vote to impeach a president of his own party.

Mr. Cline wants us to see him as a frustrated bipartisan leader trying to work across the aisle for the common good in spite of the Democrats’ politically motivated attacks on the president. He wants us to see him as a defender of the rule of law in preventing congressional (Democratic Party) overreach. And, he wants us to know that he takes the rule of law seriously.

All of this falls apart when we consider the substantial evidence that this president has been violating multiple statutes. The Trump children lack security clearances but they insert themselves into high-level diplomatic meetings while still running the family businesses that can benefit from those conversations. Visiting officials are encouraged to stay at the Trump hotel. The president’s campaign routinely fails to pay bills from cities where he has held rallies. The president holds meetings with foreign leaders, including one known to have interfered in the 2016 elections, off-book without a note taker and then silences the only witness, the translator. He regularly mixes comments about his personal business interests into diplomatic conversations with foreign leaders. The list of likely criminal behavior is very long.

If Mr. Cline truly cares about his oath to protect and defend the Constitution and he genuinely believes in bipartisanship, he should be working with Democrats who share his perspective on what constitutes an impeachable offense to investigate what is going on. At a minimum, he should be calmly explaining his concerns as he did at the town hall. Instead, he is on TV delivering partisan talking points defending the president and excoriating the Democrats at every turn. Mr. Cline cannot credibly claim to be a champion of bipartisanship while simultaneously promoting hyperpartisan talking points. Nor can he position himself as a rule of law champion while ignoring his oath to protect and defend the Constitution because the president happens to be a Republican.

Jayne Docherty lives in Harrisonburg.

(20) comments

Donald

Ms. Docherty, I think Mr. Cline demonstrated his willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion when he joined with Democrats in putting the interests of Indian citizens, recent Indian graduates from American universities, and Indian outsourcing companies above the interests of his constituents and other American working families when he supported the recent HR.1044 bill.

That was a concrete example that outweighs any cheap political rhetoric he may engage in.

prodigalson

Jayne, you and the other local Demokkkrats really do need to give up the idea that this impeachment witch hunt of yours is going to result in anything other than President Trump's re-election. He has made complete fools out of you all at every turn, and you keep coming back for more. It's laughable, really.

newshound

Ignorance is bliss....the new slogan for Democrats.

sbsheridan

I'm not so sure. To my mind, the ones who look foolish are those people who hear about what Trump has done, then vote for him anyway.

newshound

I only care about the terrific things Trump has done for the country since being elected president plus the recent elimination of terrorist filth that the " Demoncrats" seem to mourn and provide alibis for for his years of slaughter and maiming. And the sicko liberal media fawning all over him as some sort of principled "leader." Vile & Disgusting!

prodigalson

I agree Newshound. Good post.

sbsheridan

"Terrific things Trump has done" -- such as? "Elimination of terrorist filth?" -- you mean Suleimani? "Sicko liberal media fawning all over him" -- who? when? what did they say? was this a legal attack? So much emotion. So few facts.

bknjholl

Racist BS is not much of an argument. Every time you use that moniker to refer to one of the two major political parties in America, it's racist.

Your hero, Mr. Trump is no President. You may like what he is, but right now our country is leaderless and losing its place as the "shining city on the hill." Mr. Trump has drained the swamp with a pipeline that has funneled all the poison directly into the White House. With lies and crimes coming too fast to even count 'em, he is the epitome of White Rich Privilege in America. Vote for him if you wish, but don't count on a win in November... Laugh now, while you can.

prodigalson

Mr. Holl, the Demokkkrat party is the party of slavery, segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, and racial divisiveness. That is not my opinion. That is historical fact. You need to deal with the racism and hatred in your party before you criticize others.

newshound

Don't waste your time ... these irrational liberal schmoozers are in another universe due to insanity factors! A "real" strong-willed president who refuses to sugar-coat topics and kiss petulant politicians' hinnys. This country's entire congrssional government operation needs a massive overhaul. The public is being fleeched by childish Democrats.

bknjholl

Prod, you are using a racist moniker to describe one of America's major political parties. The Democratic Party embraced Civil Rights, Medicare, and Voting Rights in the 60's and 70's sending all the racists over to the Republicans. That is not my opinion. That is historical fact. I am not a member of the Democratic Party. You need to stop lying about history and deal with your own racial blindness before you criticize others.

bknjholl

newsy.... projection is strong in you...

prodigalson

Thank you Mr. Holl, for your kind words. I'm curious, when all of these racist Demokkkrats "switched parties" and became Republicans, why didn't current Klansman Governor Ralph Coonman Northam get the memo? Or Senator Robert KKK Byrd? Or Attorney General Mark Herring? Face it, Mr. Holl, you can't get away with projecting your party's racism onto others anymore. People have become wise to it. To attend a Demokkkrat party fundraiser is literally no different than attending a Klan rally. The Demokkkrat party is sick, evil, and twisted.

bknjholl

Prod. I’m not a member of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, racism transcends politics and there’s enough to go around. For mental exercise, look up racism in politics. You’ll find many examples in both parties. Why, just yesterday, the President’s speech writer, Stephen Miller, retweeted material from a white nationalist website. This was after a recent trove of emails with Breitbart identified his close affiliation and affection for White Nationalism. And heck, just yesterday, the governor of Texas decided to ban all immigrants to Texas. Of course, there is Mr. Trump. Good people on both sides?

Using a racist moniker to describe one of the major political parties is just trolling. Your objection to racism in the Democratic Party is only half of the battle. There’s some major housecleaning to do on the Republican side. Evidently, unless I’m misreading your comments, that’s your party. Get busy.

prodigalson

Mr. Holl, your hypocrisy is showing. First, you post that all of the Demokkkrat racists "switched parties" and became Republicans, and then when I point out several current, obvious examples of Demokkkrat racism, you move the goal posts, and claim that racism "transcends politics", and is prevalent everywhere. You can't keep your story straight because you realize that the facts aren't on your side. The truth of the matter is that the Demokkkrat party has traded on, and exploited race since its founding. The difference is that people are wise to it now, and paying attention, and so it's become much more difficult for the Demokkkrats to get away with their lies.

bknjholl

Prod. Study your history. Include all the facts. Spend your efforts to curb racism. Remove the log from your eye.

prodigalson

I have studied history Mr. Holl; a history that you and your fellow Demokkkrats would love to erase; a history of Demokkkrats supporting slavery, segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, eugenics, planned parenthood, murdering little babies (disproportionately minority babies) both inside and outside of their mothers' wombs, class envy, and hatred. I have pointed out specific, current examples of these things, and you have completely avoided facing them head on and try to change the subject because I am presenting facts that you don't like to hear and have no logical answer for. Your posts are completely nonsensical.

bknjholl

Prod. I accept history with all of its warts and foibles, and in some cases its ugliness. That would be all of history including both its tragedy and triumph, not just the parts that fit my world view. Your continual use of racist and now misogynist tropes make your arguments completely unpersuasive. It might help to read with understanding my posts without also bending them to your world view.

Peace.

newshound

More liberal doublespeak. Sorry but Ben Cline is correct and will find trying to work with the brainless democrats will be a total migraine because they lie, distort and act like deranged juveniles.

LVW

The Trump administration is evenly covered by a layer of sleazy impropriety, but unfortunately for the impeachment process, no one part is covered with a thick-enough layer.

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