December 5, 2019

THE DEFENSE'S CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION:

Turley's Weak Critique: The legal scholar's case against impeaching Trump doesn't hold water. (BENJAMIN PARKER  DECEMBER 4, 2019, The Bulwark)

1) In making the case that the factual record is incomplete, Turley suggested that the Democrats should issue more subpoenas. That would be a more helpful suggestion if the White House weren't currently blocking key figures in the Ukraine scandal--including former National Security Advisor John Bolton, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and others--from complying with congressional subpoenas. Turley also never made clear what kind or amount of additional information would bridge the gap between what he considers unsubstantiated assertions and what he conceded would be an impeachable offense.

2) Regarding the offenses President Trump is accused of: Back when President Clinton was facing impeachment, Turley argued that an act didn't have to meet the definition of a crime to be impeachable, as Paul Rosenzweig pointed out to The Bulwark today. Rosenzweig, a former lawyer on Ken Starr's Whitewater investigation staff, noted by email: "Twenty years ago, Professor Turley wrote that a crime did not have to be committed for an action of the President to be an impeachable offense." Today, though, Turley insists that for an action to count as bribery under the impeachment clause, it must satisfy the legal definition of the criminal offense of bribery--"an opinion," Rosenzweig says, "that is manifestly wrong, if only because the impeachment clause was written before we created federal criminal law." So, Rosenzweig asks of Turley, "What changed? One suspects that the only relevant change was the party affiliation of the President. Situational ethics are . . . situational."

3) Even if Turley were correct in his contention that the impeachment hearings have so far not allowed the president's supporters to make their case, the president's lawyers could have defended him in the hearings today, if only President Trump hadn't declined the opportunity to let them do so.

The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee were able to point out each of the flaws in Turley's testimony. The other three panelists, too, were happy to explain why Turley's interpretation was wrong.



Posted by at December 5, 2019 12:00 AM

  

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