- Three witnesses in Wednesday’s impeachment hearing made a forceful case for impeaching President Donald Trump.
- “On the basis of the testimony and evidence before the House, President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanours by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” the Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman said.
- Pamela Karlan, a professor at Stanford Law School, echoed that view, saying, “What has happened in the case before you is something that I do not think we have ever seen before.”
- Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, testified that Trump committed several impeachable offences, “including bribery, abuse of power in soliciting a personal favour from a foreign leader to benefit his political campaign, obstructing Congress, and obstructing justice.”
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Three out of four witnesses who testified to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday said President Donald Trump abused his power and should be impeached.
The witnesses who testified were:
- Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School.
- Pamela Karlan, a professor at Stanford Law School.
- Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
- Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School.
Feldman, Karlan, and Gerhardt were invited by Democrats, and Turley was invited by Republicans.
The first three witnesses forcefully said the president should be held accountable for soliciting Ukrainian interference in the upcoming election. Turley pushed back and said Trump did not commit any impeachable offences.
“On the basis of the testimony and evidence before the House, President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanours by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” Feldman said in his opening statement.
Karlan echoed that view.
“Based on the evidentiary record, what has happened in the case before you is something that I do not think we have ever seen before: a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to ‘faithfully execute’ the laws and to ‘protect and defend the Constitution,'” she said.
“The list of impeachable offences the framers included in the Constitution shows that the essence of an impeachable offence is a president’s decision to sacrifice the national interest for his own private ends,” Karlan added.
Gerhardt also testified that Trump should be impeached, saying, “The record compiled thus far shows that the president has committed several impeachable offences, including bribery, abuse of power in soliciting a personal favour from a foreign leader to benefit his political campaign, obstructing Congress, and obstructing justice.”
Wednesday’s hearing comes as Congress investigates whether Trump tried to strong-arm Ukraine’s president into publicly committing to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter over baseless allegations of corruption.
At the centre of the impeachment inquiry is a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens and a bogus conspiracy theory alleging Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
But a cascade of witness testimony over the past several weeks revealed that the phone call was just one data point in a monthslong pressure campaign by Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to force Ukraine to accede to his political demands while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting that Zelensky desperately sought.
“Imagine living in a part of Louisiana, or Texas, that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding,” Karlan said on Wednesday. “What would you think if you lived there, and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for. What would you think if that president said, ‘I would like you to do us a favour. I’ll meet with you, and I’ll send the disaster relief once you brand my opponent a criminal.'”
“Wouldn’t you know in your gut that such a president had abused his office, that he betrayed the national interest, and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process?” Karlan added. “I believe the evidentiary record shows wrongful acts on that scale here.”
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