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Wed Jan 22, 2020, 02:50 PM

Commentary: The danger Trump's defense poses to Constitution

By Jonathan Turley / Special To The Washington Post

The trial of President Trump has started, and there is no mistaking who is the architect of the defense: Trump himself. The White House declared that Trump’s calls and actions on the Ukrainian aid were “constitutional, perfectly legal, completely appropriate, and taken in furtherance of our national interest.” In other words, perfect. The call was perfect. The hold on aid was perfect. The eventual release of the aid after the whistleblower complaint was perfect.

In my December testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, I raised objections to the House rushing the impeachment forward on an incomplete and inferential case. There are ample defenses to be raised on both articles without claiming, implausibly, that this was handled perfectly.

This is probably why presidents and professors run in different circles. Where professors see this trial as a teachable moment, Trump sees it as a television moment. Trump knows television and may know his audience. He is staging a trial that portrays the impeachment as the equivalent of a drive-by shooting and himself as the victim. He knows that nuance can destroy such a narrative.

This defense is anything but nuanced. It appears premised on two highly contested points.

First, there is the position that there was nothing even remotely inappropriate in the president asking a foreign country to investigate a political rival. This position can be accepted or not accepted by senators.

However, the second point presents a far more difficult problem for senators concerned about the interpretation of the Constitution. The White House is arguing that you cannot impeach a president without a crime.


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Reply Commentary: The danger Trump's defense poses to Constitution (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Jan 22 OP
Karadeniz Jan 22 #1

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 07:48 PM

1. Turley had to represent the prez in the House investigation.

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