(TNS) George Washington University Law School Prof. Jonathan Turley is among the last of old-school Democrats.
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If any expert has been consistent about how our constitutional system is supposed to work, regardless of which political party is in charge or who’s in the White House, it’s him.
When Obama was still wreaking havoc on our Constitution and weaponizing various government agencies, Turley often appeared before congressional committees to criticize what Obama was doing and what Congress was not doing: Reasserting its Legislative Branch authorities under our founding document to reign Obama in.
Turley has been commenting on the current impeachment show put on by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, both California Democrats.
In Turley’s view, Pelosi and Schiff don’t have the constitutionally required ‘goods’ on Trump to impeach him.
Writing in The Hill, he noted:
After weeks of hearings, Democrats are discovering a simple truth about impeachment. You do not need a crime, but you need clarity, to remove a sitting president. Faced with a country still divided right down the middle on impeaching President Trump, Democrats have reframed an alleged abuse of power as actual crimes of bribery, extortion, and obstruction. These allegations are based on the same spurious interpretations used during the Russia investigation to claim clear proven crimes. …
The fact is that Trump waived executive privilege to an unprecedented degree in the special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller, making both witnesses and evidence available. President Obama presented a far more extreme position in withholding both testimony and documents from legislative committees. Moreover, waivers have been made in the Ukraine investigation, including ordinarily privileged communications with heads of state. Witnesses have testified, including current White House staff like Alexander Vindman, without being punished.
Most importantly, Trump has gone to court to seek judicial review of these conflicts between the legislative and executive branches. He is entitled to do so, just as President Nixon and President Clinton did. Obama also sought such judicial review. What Trump cannot do is disobey a final judicial order. To impeach a president for seeking judicial review would itself be an abuse of our constitutional system.
Crimes may be revealed in upcoming testimony, but they need to be grounded in the criminal code rather than in the imagination of members of Congress. I have long criticized the poorly considered statement by President Ford that “an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be.” That often cited quote wrongly suggests impeachment is based on a purely political, not a legal, standard. Even if the House has broad license in impeachment, it does not have license to redefine crimes to fit impeachments.
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While Turley isn’t an Alexander Ocasio-Cortez Democratic socialist, he sure isn’t what anyone would consider a rock-ribbed conservative on social issues, either.
But is a pretty solid constitutionalist who understands how our system is supposed to function — and that it must function as designed or it’ll fail.
Translation: If constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley the Democrat is telling Democrats, ‘Hey, you don’t have a case,’ then they ought to drop this impeachment charade.
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