In a lengthy House Judiciary Commitee hearing Wednesday, constitutional law experts debated whether controversial, divisive President Trump has committed impeachable offenses.
Often invoking the difference between a monarchy and a democracy, three experts testified that they believed Trump’s conduct deserved impeachment, while one disagreed, telling the committee he was worried the proceedings against Trump would lower the bar for impeachment in the future.
Here are some key quotes from Wednesday’s hearing.
Harvard professor Noah Feldman: “The Framers provided for the impeachment of the president because they feared that the president might abuse the power of his office for personal benefit to corrupt the electoral process and ensure his reelection, or to subvert the national security of the United States. ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’ are abuses of power and of public trust connected to the office of the presidency.
“The abuse of power occurs when the president uses his office for personal advantage or gain. That matters fundamentally to the American people because if we cannot impeach a president who abuses his office for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy, we live in a monarchy or we live under a dictatorship.”
Stanford professor Pamela Karlan: “Mr. Collins [ranking Republican member Doug Collins], I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts. So I’m insulted by the suggestion that, as a law professor, I don’t care about those facts.”
University of North Carolina professor Michael Gerhardt: “The people who had overthrown a king were not going to turn around just after securing their independence from corrupt monarchical tyranny and caeate an office that, like the king, was above the law and could do no wrong.”
George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley: “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’m concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. I believe this impeachment not only fails to satisfy the standard of past impeachments but would create a dangerous precedent for future impeachments.”