Constitutional Experts Debate Impeachment at House Judiciary Committee Hearing

HeadlineDec 05, 2019

The House Judiciary Committee held an eight-and-a-half-hour televised impeachment hearing Wednesday featuring four law experts speaking about the constitutional nature of impeachment. The hearing opened a second phase of the impeachment inquiry into how President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rivals, the Bidens. On Wednesday, legal experts debated whether this conduct met the constitutional definition of impeachment. Three constitutional scholars invited to testify by the Democrats said this conduct was a textbook example of an impeachable offense. This is University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt.

Michael Gerhardt: “If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable. This is precisely the misconduct that the Framers created a Constitution, including impeachment, to protect against.”

One constitutional scholar invited by the Republicans, however, disputed that Trump’s actions were sufficient grounds for impeachment. This is George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.

Jonathan Turley: “I’m concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. I believe this impeachment not only fails to satisfy the standard of past impeachments, but would create a dangerous precedent for future impeachments.”

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