Hans von Spakovsky: Trump Impeachment Is Like Stalin’s Show Trials

The Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky (center) (Image from CBN online video)

The Christian Broadcasting Network on Tuesday morning promoted an appearance by the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky on CBN’s Faith Nation, where he claimed that the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is unconstitutional and compared it to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s show trials of political opponents. The House of Representatives impeached Trump in January for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“I think this unfortunately resembles the kind of show trials that Joseph Stalin staged in the 1930s against political opponents and people he thought would interfere with his power,” von Spakovsky said.

He claimed that the trial would set a terrible precedent that a future Republican-controlled Senate could use to try to impeach former presidents like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. And he charged that Democrats are “making up the rules to favor them any way they want.”

Von Spakovsky served on Trump’s short-lived sham “Election Integrity Commission” that seemed to be designed to manufacture evidence of Trump’s baseless claims that he would have won the popular vote in 2016 if not for voter fraud. Von Spakovsky had urged the Trump administration not to appoint Democrats or moderate Republicans to the commission.

In 2018, a federal judge reviewing a Kansas law requiring people to prove their citizenship when registering to vote delivered a harsh assessment of von Spakovsky’s credibility as an expert witness. “He has never testified as an expert witness before and has published no peer-reviewed research on any subject,” the judge wrote. “Notably, Mr. von Spakovsky could not identify any expert on the subject of noncitizen voter registration.” The judge had more to say:

The Court gives little weight to Mr. von Spakovsky’s opinion and report because they are premised on several misleading and unsupported examples of noncitizen voter registration, mostly outside the State of Kansas. His myriad misleading statements, coupled with his publicly stated preordained opinions about this subject matter, convinces the Court that Mr. von Spakovsky testified as an advocate and not as an objective expert witness. … While his lack of academic background is not fatal to his credibility in this matter, the lack of academic rigor in his report, in conjunction with his clear agenda and misleading statements, render his opinions unpersuasive.