Impeachment Day 3: Understanding Legal Arguments From Both Sides Of The Aisle
The third day of President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. Law experts share their take on the president’s case – and what’s at stake for the Constitution and the country.
Laurence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard University Law School. Co-author of “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment and the Constitution.” (@tribelaw)
From The Reading List
The Washington Post: “Impeachment trial live updates: Senate hears opening arguments making the case against Trump” — “House managers, led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), began presenting three days of opening arguments Wednesday in the historic Senate impeachment trial of President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“Earlier in the day, Trump said at a news conference in Switzerland that he ‘can live either way’ with the Senate’s decision on whether to call witnesses in a trial focused on his administration’s conduct toward Ukraine.
“The crux of the House case is the allegation that Trump withheld military aid and a White House meeting to pressure Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a political rival, as well as his son Hunter Biden.”
The New York Times: “Impeachment Schedule Explained: Why the Trial Could Last Weeks” — “With the adoption early Wednesday morning of the ground rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial, the Senate prepared to plunge forward over the next week with oral arguments, questions from senators and consequential votes on whether to admit new evidence.
“The trial could be over in two weeks, or it could stretch on much longer, depending on how much time is used by each side and how much additional evidence — if any — senators vote to review.
“After a bruising 12-hour debate that underscored the deep acrimony between Republicans and Democrats at the outset of the trial, Republicans pushed through a set of rules that would postpone until next week at the earliest a final decision on whether to call witnesses or subpoena documents for the trial.”
The Washington Post: “Trump’s lawyers shouldn’t be allowed to use bogus legal arguments on impeachment” — “The president’s lawyers have made the sweeping assertion that the articles of impeachment against President Trump must be dismissed because they fail to allege that he committed a crime — and are, therefore, as they said in a filing with the Senate, ‘constitutionally invalid on their face.’
“Another of his lawyers, my former Harvard Law School colleague Alan Dershowitz, claiming to represent the Constitution rather than the president as such, makes the backup argument that the articles must be dismissed because neither abuse of power nor obstruction of Congress can count as impeachable offenses.
“Both of these arguments are baseless. Senators weighing the articles of impeachment shouldn’t think that they offer an excuse for not performing their constitutional duty.”
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.