As we try to tell you damned near everyday here on The BradCast, everything is ultimately about elections. All of it. Today's impeachment hearings, I'm happy to say, drove that point home yet again, particularly regarding concerns from our nation's founders about the corrupting nature of foreign influence on U.S. elections. [Audio link to show follows below.]
The House Judiciary Committee held its first official impeachment hearing on Wednesday, regarding the Ukraine scandal and, yes, obstruction of justice in the Robert Mueller Special Counsel's probe. Four academics testified on both the history and meaning intended by the founders of the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" in the U.S. Constitution's impeachment clause, and on what at least three of the four scholars smartly described as clearly impeachable offenses committed by President Donald J. Trump.
"President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency," said Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School. We share some extended excerpts from his opening statement as well as his fellow esteemed Constitutional law professors Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law School and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina School of Law. All three testified that the record is now clear that Trump committed impeachable offenses in his strong-arm bribery campaign to force Ukraine to announce an investigation against his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden in exchange for nearly $400 million in military assistance allocated by Congress but frozen by the White House in what Trump's own EU Ambassador described in a previous hearing as a "quid pro quo" scheme.
Today's hearing was surprising enlightening with the unusually lively and passionate academics answering sharp questions from both Democratic and Republican counsel and members of the Committee, as chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Not all of those who testified, however, agreed that Trump should be impeached --- at least not yet. George Washington University School of Law professor Jonathan Turley --- the Republicans' witness, who testified in support of impeachment against Bill Clinton in 1998 because "he ha[d] deprived himself of the perceived legitimacy to govern" --- argued the record was still too "wafer thin" to move forward with Articles of Impeachment against Trump.
We discuss that point and many others, including the Democrats' reasons --- some good, some not --- for moving quickly on impeachment before voting begins in the 2020 primaries less than two months from today, with our ace Impeachment Hearing Correspondent HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Democrats appeared to be homing in on at least three, and maybe four, Articles of Impeachment, as both Digby and I read today's hearing, including Abuse of Power, Bribery, Obstruction of Congress (in the Ukraine affair), and Obstruction of Justice (in the Mueller investigation). But there was far more from today's eight hours of hearings and our coverage of it than I can possibly summarize here, so I'll just strongly suggest you tune in.
Also covered on today's program (as both stories also concern the importance of elections to the very heart of our republic): Georgia's illegitimate Republican Governor Brian Kemp names a new, wholly inexperienced "Ivanka Trump"-like U.S. Senator for the Peach State, and NATO world leaders are caught on video tape laughing (and laughing) at, not with, the President of the United States. Happy travels back from the NATO Summit, Mr. Trump!...
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