One of the nation's top constitutional experts unloaded on Trump in Wednesday's impeachment hearing, saying he committed 'impeachable high crimes' and abused power

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  • A top constitutional expert unloaded on President Trump in Wednesday’s impeachment hearing.
  • Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, said Trump has “committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanours.”
  • Feldman said Trump abused the powers of his office in his efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations into his political rivals.
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Noah Feldman, one of the top constitutional experts in the US and a Harvard law professor, did not hold back while serving as the first witness in Wednesday’s impeachment hearing.

Speaking before the House Judiciary Committee, Feldman was unequivocal: “President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanours.”

He said Trump abused the power of his office in his efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations that would benefit his campaign for reelection.

“Specifically, President Trump abused his office by corruptly soliciting President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election,” Feldman said.

Feldman said that Trump’s actions “encapsulate the framers’ worry that the President of the United States would take any means whatever to ensure his reelection.”

He underscored that the Constitution’s framers were adamant about including impeachment so that no president would be above the law, unlike the monarch of England.

In a July 25 phone call, Trump urged Zelensky to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in relation to the latter’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings. He also pressured Zelensky to launch an inquiry into a debunked conspiracy theory on the 2016 election.

At the time, roughly $US400 million in congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine had been placed on hold by Trump, leading to allegations that the president sought to condition the security assistance on the launch of the investigations he requested.

The July 25 phone call prompted a whistleblower complaint from a US intelligence official, which set off a series of events that led to the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and congressional Republicans have stood by the president throughout the inquiry.

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