Liberal Law Professor Noted Something Odd About Schumer's Trump Impeachment Speech

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Posted: Jan 03, 2020 3:21 PM
Liberal Law Professor Noted Something Odd About Schumer's Trump Impeachment Speech

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Democrats want a fair trial. It’s the second phase of this Trump impeachment circus that’s engulfed Capitol Hill. Outside of the swamp, folks couldn’t care less, but here we are. The Democrats pushing to remove a duly elected president simply because they hate him. It all stems from shoddy quid pro quo allegations regarding President Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainians, where he reportedly threatened to withhold aid unless a corruption probe was opened into Hunter Biden’s position at Burisma, an energy company where he was paid $50,000/month for sitting on their board despite having zero experience in this field. He got the job when his father former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 candidate, was in office and spearheading anti-corruption efforts. The allegation in this piece of the story is that Hunter was there to sell access to top Obama officials. It’s a story that the Biden camp has yet to neutralize. 

It’s weak sauce, but the Russian collusion narrative was kaput, bullet-riddled by the facts. The 2020 election is here, so this was their best case. The House passed the articles of impeachment which were grounded in abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, two charges that reek of partisanship. It’s a witch hunt. It’s a joke. And the Senate awaits the transmission of those articles, which are being held hostage by Speaker Nancy Pelosi because they know it faces certain death with the Republican majority in the upper chamber. That’s not her call and her withholding of the articles creates a possible constitutional crisis of its own. Senate Democrats say they want witnesses and new documents included. They know Senate Republicans won’t budge, so this Mexican standoff continues all while Democrats and the liberal media can keep the Trump impeachment echo chamber loaded with sound. They still think they can put a dent in Trump’s approval numbers. They’ve only gone up and swing-state voters have never found this push popular. Still, the goal, as Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel noted, is “rolling impeachment.” Just keep this story around in the news cycle. A trial would further embarrass the shoddy case the Left has against Trump. It’s about keeping the appearance alive. Schumer now says that there has never been an impeachment trial where the Senate was denied testimony from witnesses.

Law professor Jonathan Turley, who may lean Left but isn’t an ideologue and will call out his side for their antics, noted that this was odd coming from a politician who didn’t want witnesses when Bill Clinton was impeached.  

“Schumer's statement today is curious since he not only opposed any witnesses in the Clinton trial but also supported a summary vote without a trial,” tweeted Turley.  “He is insisting on ‘following precedent’ that he opposed creating. He also ran on the pledge to vote to acquit before any trial.”

From the beginning, Turley wasn’t supportive of this impeachment nonsense the Democratic Party was peddling, noting that it was all bereft of anything concrete that would even be remotely impeachable. 

“Passion over proof” is how he summed up this whole circus act. He testified before Congress before the House Intelligence Committee when chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) got the ball rolling on this (via The Hill):

In my testimony …I stated repeatedly, as I did 21 years ago, that a president can be impeached for noncriminal acts, including abuse of power. I made that point no fewer that a dozen times in analyzing the case against Trump and, from the first day of the Ukraine scandal, I have made that argument both on air and in print. Yet various news publications still excitedly reported that, in an opinion piece I wrote for the Washington Post five years ago, I said, “While there is a high bar for what constitutes grounds for impeachment, an offense does not have to be indictable,” and it could include “serious misconduct or a violation of public trust.”

That is precisely what I have said regarding Trump. You just need to prove abuse of power. My objection is not that you cannot impeach Trump for abuse of power but that this record is comparably thin compared to past impeachments and contains conflicts, contradictions, and gaps including various witnesses not subpoenaed. I suggested that Democrats drop the arbitrary schedule of a vote by the end of December and complete their case and this record before voting on any articles of impeachment. In my view, they have not proven abuse of power in this incomplete record.

However, rather than address the specific concerns I raised over this incomplete record and process, critics have substituted a false attack to suggest that I had contradicted my earlier testimony during the Clinton impeachment. They reported breathlessly that I said in that hearing, “If you decide that certain acts do not rise to impeachable offenses, you will expand the space for executive conduct.” What they left out is that, in my testimony then and again this week, I stressed that the certain act in question was perjury. The issue in the Clinton case was whether perjury was an impeachable offense. Most Democratic members of Congress, including Nadler, maintained back then that perjury did not meet the level of an impeachable offense if the subject was an affair with an intern.

I maintained in the Clinton testimony, and still maintain in my Trump testimony, that perjury on any subject by a sitting president is clearly impeachable.

[…]

…a president can still be impeached for abuse of power without a crime, and that includes Trump. But that makes it more important to complete and strengthen the record of such an offense, as well as other possible offenses. I remain concerned that we are lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. Trump will not be our last president. What we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. These “agitated passions” will not be a substitute for proof in an impeachment. We currently have too much of the former and too little of the latter.

For all the talk about institutional integrity and protection, and the protection of the rule of law, Democrats seems totally fine with plunging the nation into a constitutional crisis with this impeachment push, which in turn is degrading our institutions. They’re taking the ‘destroying the village to save it’ route. Unsurprising for an arrogant party whose members think they can live by a separate set of rules, secure in their smug self-righteousness.