Note: this letter-to-the-editor by Checks & Balances member Charles Fried originally ran in the Washington Post
Regarding the Oct. 10 editorial “Unconstitutional. Unhinged.”:
White House counsel Pat Cipollone does not understand the constitutional system for the removal of a president. Impeachment proceedings in the House were intended by the framers to be analogous to grand jury proceedings, leading to articles of impeachment, which are the equivalent of an indictment. The Senate then sits to try that indictment and, on conviction, the president is removed from office. The target of a grand jury proceeding has no right to call witnesses, nor does the target get to cross-examine witnesses; witnesses before a grand jury have no right to counsel in the proceedings, though they may claim the privilege against self-incrimination. The House may, however, grant such accommodations if its members choose.
All the rights that Mr. Cipollone claims for the president are fully available in a trial before the Senate, just as they would be available in the trial of an indictment in a trial court.