Republican Witness Jonathan Turley: ‘This Is Not How You Impeach An American President’ | NBC News

Channel: NBC News
Published: 12/04/2019 04:53 PM

Republican witness Professor Jonathan Turley spoke out against the impeachment inquiry explaining that while he does not support President Donald Trump, he also does not feel that impeachment is warranted. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.

Thank you, chairman adler, ranking member collins, members of the judiciary committee. It'S an honor to appear before you today to discuss one of the most consequential functions you were given by the framers, and that is the impeachment of a president of the united states. Twenty-One years ago i sat before you, chairman adler and this committee to testify at the impeachment of president, william ...
efferson clinton. I never thought that i would have to appear a second time to address the same question with regard to another sitting president. Yet here we are, the elements are strikingly similar. The intense rancor and rage of the public debate is the same. The atmosphere that the framers anticipated the stiflingintolerance of opposing views is the same i'd like to start, therefore, perhaps incongruous lee by stating in a relevant fact. I'M not a supporter a president trump. I voted against him. My personal views of president trump are as a relevant to my impeachment testimony as they should be to your impeachment vote. 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. It would create a dangerous precedent for future impeachmentsmy. Testimony lays out the history of impeachment, from early english cases to colonial cases. To the present day, the early impeachments were raw political exercises using fluid definitions of criminal and non-criminal acts. When the framers met in philadelphia, they were quite familiar with impeachment and its abuses, including the hastings case, which was discussed. The convention a case that was still pending for trial in england, unlike the english impeachments, the american model was more limited, not only in its application to judicial and executive officials, but its grounds. The framers rejected a proposal to add mel administration, because madison objected that so vague a term would be equivalent to a tenure during the pleasure of the senatein. The end. Various standards that had been used in the past were rejected. Corruption obtaining office by improper means, betraying the trust of a foreign to a foreign power negligence, perfidy peculation and oppression perfidy or lying and peculation self-dealing are particularly relevant to our current controversy. My testimony explores the impeachment cases of nixon johnson and clinton. The closest of these three cases is to the 1868 impeachment of andrew johnson.

It is not a model or an association that this committee should relish. In that case, a group of opponents of the president's called the radical republicans created a trapdoor crime in order to impeach the president. They even defined it as a high misdemeanor. There wasanother shared aspect: besides the atmosphere of that impeachment, and also the unconventional style of the two presidents, and that shared element is speed. This impeachment would rival the johnson impeachment as the shortest in history, depending on how one counts the relevant days. Now there are three distinctions when you look at these are the three commonalities: when you look at these past cases, all involved established crimes. This would be the first impeachment in history where there would be considerable debate and, in my view, not compelling evidence of the commission of a crime. Second, is the abbreviated period of this investigation, which is problematic and puzzling. This is a facially, incomplete and inadequate record in order toimpeach president. Allow me to be candid in my closing remarks, because we have limited time we are living in the very period described by alexander hamilton, a period of agitated passions. I get it you're mad. The president's mad, my republican friends, are mad.

My democratic friends are mad, my wife is mad, my kids are mad, even my dog seems mad and loon is a golden doodle and, and they don't get mad, so we're all mad where's that taking us well and a slipshod impeachment make us less mad. Will it only invite an invitation for the madness to follow every future administration? That is why this is wrong. It'S not wrong because president trump is righthis call was anything but perfect. It'S not wrong, because the house has no legitimate reason to investigate the ukranian controversy. It'S not wrong because we're in an election year there is no good time for an impeachment. No it's wrong, because this is not how you impeach an american president. This case is not a case of the unknowable. It'S a case of the peripheral. We have a record of conflicts, defenses that have not been fully considered. Unzipping, add witness with material evidence to impeach a president on this record would expose every future president to the same type of inchoate. Impeachment principle often takes us to a place. We would prefer not to be that was theplace.

Seven republicans found themselves in the johnson trial when they saved the president from acquittal that they despised for generations. They even celebrated his profiles of courage, senator edmund ross said it was like looking down into his open grave. Then he jumped because he didn't have any alternative, it's easy to celebrate those people from the distance of time and circumstance in the age of rage. It'S appealing to listen to those saying forget the definitions of crimes. Just do it like this. Is some impulse buy nike snickers a sneaker? You could certainly do that. You can declare the definitions of crimes. Alleged, are immaterial and just an exercise of politics, not the law. However, those legaldefinitions and standards which i've addressed in my testimony or the very thing that divide rage from reason, this all brings up to me, and i will conclude with this of a scene from a man for all seasons by with sir thomas moore, when his son-in-law, William roper put the law suggested that moore was putting the law ahead of morality. He said moore would give the devil the benefit of the law when more asks roper. Would he instead cut a great road through the law to get after the devil? Roper proudly declares. Yes, i'd cut down every law of england to do that, moore, responds and when the last law is cut down and the devilturned around on you, where would you hide roper, all the laws being flat? He said this country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, man's laws, not god's, and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it.

Do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? And he finished by saying: yes, i'd give the devil the benefit of a law for my own sake, so i will conclude with this. Both sides of this controversy have demonized the other to justify any measure in their defense. Much like roper. Perhaps that's the saddest part of all of this. We have forgotten the common article offaith that binds each of us to each other in our constitution. However, before we cut down the trees so carefully planted by the framers, i hope you will consider what you will do when the wind blows again, perhaps for a democratic president. Where will you stand then, when all the laws being flat? Thank you again for the honor of testifying today and i'd be happy to answer any questions. Hey nbc news viewers, thanks for checking out our youtube channel subscribe by clicking on that button down here and click on any of the videos over here to watch. The latest interviews show highlights, and digital exclusives thanks for watching.

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