Jonathan Turley Versus the Impeachment Steamroller
Following up on his previous call for caution in the effort in the United States House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley on Wednesday presented to the House Judiciary Committee oral testimony and an extensive written statement regarding the case as it now stands for impeaching the president. Unlike other witnesses at the hearing, Turley did not give the deed his blessing.
There was quite a backlash against Turley for presenting his contrary opinion at the committee hearing. In a Thursday The Hill editorial, Turley writes:
Before I finished my testimony, my home and office were inundated with threatening messages and demands that I be fired from George Washington University for arguing that, while a case for impeachment can be made, it has not been made on this record.
Further, notes Turley: “Some of the most heated attacks came from Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee.” He proceeds in his editorial to discuss comments from committee member Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) as examples. Turley notes that these and other “attacks” at the hearing were “demonstrably false.” Yet, because Turley was not allowed to respond, the attacks were “then picked up eagerly by others.”
Read Turley’s editorial here.
Read here Turley’s extensive written statement for the House Judiciary Committee hearing. In his statement, Turley expresses a clear warning, backed by legal and historical arguments, that the House impeachment process is moving forward in a manner that portends trouble for America. In his statement introduction, for example, Turley writes:
To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your 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. 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.
What are the chances that the House leadership will heed Turley’s warning and either drop the move toward impeachment or shift to proceeding with a more responsible impeachment investigation? Just about zero. But at least Turley tried.