By Will Hall, Message Executive Editor
WASHINGTON, D.C. (LBM)—Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA 04), a member of the First Baptist Church in Bossier City, served as a member of President Trump’s defense team that represented him in House proceedings and Senate trial; and, ultimately won the president’s acquittal on the two charges brought forward.
The votes were 48 to convict and 52 to acquit on the charge of “abuse of power”; and, 47-53 on the charge of “obstruction of justice.”
It takes a two-thirds vote to convict a president on impeachment charges.
During the Senate hearing, Johnson told NPR that the impeachment effort was a display of “hyper-partisanship.”
“There’s no better way to describe it,” he said. “This is the first single-part impeachment in the history of our republic in 243 years. It’s something that the founders warned against because they were afraid, they were concerned, that if it ever came down to this, it would divide the country bitterly, perhaps irrevocably.”
Johnson also said Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had “manufactured” the idea that the president of the United States asking a foreign country to interfere in a U.S. election.
“What the president was after was rooting out corruption in the third-ranked most corrupt country in the world, Ukraine,” Johnson said. “Federal law required him to be a good steward of the use of taxpayer dollars. And it is a theme that he has advanced since before he got into politics.”
In a separate interview with NPR after the Senate voted to acquit the president, Johnson said the result was from lawmakers seeing the charges “as what they were.”
“They were weak on their face. There was no real evidence or facts to back it up,” he added. “And we have to remember that the House Democrats advanced this impeachment inquiry – this investigation – 30 times faster than the Clinton impeachment proceedings because they were in a hurry. And they did a shoddy job with it, and this was the ultimate result. And I think the record speaks for itself.”
Johnson also cautioned about the “Pandora’s Box” that had been opened.
“My background is in constitutional law,” he said. “I litigated these cases in courts for 20 years before I got to Congress, and I put great weight in what the founders, the framers of our Constitution said. And they warned us very specifically against single-party impeachments like this. They did not want the impeachment provision of the Constitution to be weaponized.”
Should Republicans win the House in the next election, Johnson said he and others in the party would “try to be the voices of reason and history and tradition.”
“I think there are people on both sides who will now look to impeach every president going forward the first time they make a phone call that’s unpopular or a policy decision that people disagree with. That’s not what the impeachment clause was designed to do. And now the bar has been placed so low that I really do fear for the future.”