WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP/WJW) – The first witness to testify in from of the House Judiciary Committee in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump says based on the evidence in the testimony from previous impeachment hearings, show the president committed impeachable offenses.
Here is a portion of Noah Feldman’s statement.
“Rather, my job is to describe how the constitutional meaning of impeachable offenses applies to the facts described by the testimony and evidence before the House.
President Trump’s conduct described in the testimony and evidence clearly constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution. According to the testimony and to the publicly released memorandum of the July 25, 2019, telephone call between the two presidents, President Trump abused his office by soliciting the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals in order to gain personal political advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election. This act on its own qualifies as an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor. The solicitation constituted an abuse of the office of the presidency because Pres. Trump was using his office to seek a personal political and electoral advantage over his political rival, former vice president Joe Biden, and over the Democratic Party. The solicitation was made in the course of the president’s official duties. According to the testimony presented to the House, the solicitation sought to gain an advantage that was personal to the president. This constitutes a corrupt abuse of the power of the
presidency. It embodies the framers’ central worry that a sitting president would “spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected.”
Noah Feldman, of Harvard Law School is one of several academic witnesses who testified in the impeachment inquiry.
A witness list released by the Judiciary Committee Monday afternoon includes:
Noah Feldman Click here for his full opening statement
Harvard Law School
Pamela S. Karlan Click here for her full opening statement
Stanford Law School
Michael Gerhardt Click here for his full opening statement
The University of North Carolina School of Law
Jonathan Turley Click here for his full opening statement
The George Washington University Law School
Professor Gerhardt said President Trump had a pattern of misconduct.
“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election. The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president, including what previous presidents who faced impeachment have done or been accused of doing. Other presidents have done just the opposite in recognizing the legitimacy of congressional investigative and impeachment authorities. Even President Nixon agreed to share information with Congress, ordered his subordinates to comply with subpoenas to testify and produce documents (with some limited exceptions), and to send his lawyers to ask questions in the House’s impeachment hearings. The fact that we can easily transpose the articles of impeachment against Nixon onto the actions of this president speaks volumes – and that does not even include the most serious national security concerns and election interference concerns at the heart of this president’s misconduct.”
Professor Karlan spoke a lot about the history of why the impeachment laws were put into place when America was founded.
“The very idea that a President might seek the aid of a foreign government in his reelection campaign would have horrified them. But based on the evidentiary record, that is what President Trump has done. The list of impeachable offenses the Framers included in the Constitution shows that the essence of an impeachable offense is a president’s decision to sacrifice the national interest for his own private ends. “Treason” lay in an individual’s giving aid to foreign enemies—that is, putting a foreign adversary’s interests above the United States’. “Bribery” occurred when an official solicited, received, or offered a personal favor or benefit to influence official action—that is, putting his private welfare above the national interest.”
Professor Turley did not agree with the others and said he did not believe the evidence was there.
“I would like to start, perhaps incongruously, with a statement of three irrelevant facts. First, I am not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him in 2016 and I have previously voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama. Second, I have been highly
critical of President Trump, his policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns. Third, I have repeatedly criticized his raising of the investigation of the Hunter Biden matter with the Ukrainian president. These points are not meant to curry favor or approval. Rather they are meant to drive home a simple point: one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment
of an American president.”
The House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing quickly exploded into partisan infighting.
Democrats warned that President Donald Trump must be stopped from enlisting foreign interference in U.S. elections and Republicans said there are no grounds for removing him from office.
At the same time Vice President Mike Pence was huddling with House Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Senate Republicans are to meet privately with the White House counsel.
The Judiciary Committee is responsible for drafting articles of impeachment.
Democrats say the Republican president misused the power of his office and obstructed Congress’ investigation.
Trump has denied doing anything wrong.
In a press conference in London Wednesday, the president said the impeachment inquiry report is “a joke.”