Pleading the Fifth and the Constitution
The Russian investigation is an ongoing federal exploration that has been underway since before the November 2016 presidential election. Each time a new name is revealed or leaked, that person is dragged into the spotlight of the House intelligence committee investigating President Trump’s ties to Russia. Many of these people, most recently Fusion GPS (the firm that created the dossier of memos on the alleged Russian aid) and Carter Page (Former Trump policy advisor) plead their Fifth Amendment right.
The fundamental underpinning behind this action is the Bill of Rights’ Fifth Amendment to our Constitution and its promise that “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
The Bill of Rights assures us that the oppression and suppression that caused America to fight its revolution for freedom will never be repeated. When anyone invokes these protections, it is not for us to be critical or judgmental. Indeed, it is reason to celebrate and remember that such inalienable rights do not exist elsewhere in the world and are a blessing we must never forget.
I applaud their right to assert the Fifth Amendment. Properly exercising constitutional rights is not for me—or Congress—to judge. It may make the job of Congress harder. It may delay the investigation and make it more difficult to find some of the facts.
But in a contest between efficiency and the Constitution, the Constitution must win.