Law professors and two organizations are gunning for President Donald Trump in a new petition. It’s called “Impeach Trump Now,” though that’s an overstatement. Signers demand that Congress pass a resolution asking the House Judiciary Committee investigate whether there are sufficient grounds to impeach POTUS. The petition website suggests how the probe could be focused. If you’ve kept up with this administration, the list of alleged wrongdoing will sound familiar. These include obstruction of justice; violations of the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution; illegally colluding with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election; supporting white supremacists; and abusing the pardon power (re: Joe Arpaio).
The petition has its fair share of supporters. Its webpage reports having over 1,280,000 million signers as of Tuesday evening. Two organizations joined to start the project: political advocacy group Roots Action, and legal group Free Speech for People, which has taken some unTrumpian legal positions. At their side, they’ve got a 13-person legal advisory board comprised of experts nationwide. They include Harvard Law Professors Laurence Tribe and Lawrence Lessig, Fordham’s Zephyr Teachout, George Washington University’s Catherine Ross, and Eva Paterson, president of the legal group Equal Justice Society.
Nonetheless, it’s not like legal academia stand united in this.
Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, told Law Newz that this petition is way too premature.
“There is no compelling basis for impeachment,” he said. “There is more rage than reason in this petition. If the various investigations reveal a high crime and misdemeanor, I will be the first to call for impeachment. There is currently no compelling basis for impeachment and the petition is transparently premature and political.”
A special counsel and several congressional committees are investigating whether the Trump campaign helped out in Russia’s interference. Another professor, Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, recently argued that collusion is not a crime.
High-profile calls to kick Trump out of office are a running theme in this administration. Achieving that will be difficult. The GOP commands a slight, if fractured, majority in Congress. It might be possible to get enough defectors in the House to vote for impeachment, but the Senate requires a two-thirds majority for removal. Republican politicians voice firm criticism of the president from time to time, but getting them to boot him is another thing. Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California 12th District) doesn’t push impeachment claims.
Trump and his team repeatedly deny wrongdoing in various issues, so expect them to fight if it ever comes to impeachment.
[Screengrab via MSNBC]