Turley: ‘The Current Legal Case for Impeachment Is Not Just Woefully Inadequate, But … Dangerous’

By Melanie Arter | December 4, 2019 | 10:33am EST
(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – In his opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing, George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley said Wednesday that he was not a supporter of President Donald Trump and had in fact voted for the past two Democratic presidents, yet, he believes “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.”

“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,” he said in his written testimony.





“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. To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump,” Turley stated.

The professor said his personal and political views of Trump are “irrelevant” to his testimony as should Congress’ impeachment vote.

“Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment. President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” he wrote.

Turley said the House’s impeachment based only on the Ukraine allegations would go down in history as “the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.”

“If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president. That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply and, at times, bitterly divided,” he wrote.

Turley added that “a quid pro quo to force the investigation of a political rival in exchange for military aid can be impeachable, if proven.”

“Yet moving forward primarily or exclusively with the Ukraine controversy on this record would be as precarious as it would premature,” he wrote.

The professor compared the House’s grounds for impeachment to architecture.

“The physics are simple. The higher the building, the wider the foundation. There is no higher constitutional structure than the impeachment of a sitting president and, for that reason, an impeachment must have a wide foundation in order to be successful. The Ukraine controversy has not offered such a foundation and would easily collapse in a Senate trial,” he predicted.



 

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