Welp, mere days after being impeached, President Donald Trump is gearing up a defense that he wasn’t even impeached in the first place. He referenced an argument from Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman there was no impeachment because the articles weren’t even transmitted to the Senate.
“They had nothing,” Trump said at a Turning Point USA event on Saturday, according to Fox News. “There’s no crime. There’s no nothing. How do you impeach? You had no crime. Even their people said there was no crime. In fact, there’s no impeachment. Their own lawyer said there’s no impeachment. What are we doing here?”
Feldman, a constitutional law expert, was brought up by Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee‘s impeachment hearings earlier this month. He joined in arguing that Trump committed impeachable offenses. Now he’s suggesting that the president technically hasn’t been impeached because the actual articles haven’t been transmitted to the U.S. Senate.
“That’s because ‘impeachment’ under the Constitution means the House sending its approved articles of to the Senate, with House managers standing up in the Senate and saying the president is impeached,” he said in an op-ed for Bloomberg on Thursday.
Some of his peers took umbrage at the argument. Perhaps it’s no surprise that fellow Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, a prolific Trump critic, called Feldman’s position clever but wholly mistaken.” (Feldman defended his position in a reply to Tribe.)
Nonetheless, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley–who testified fro the GOP at the impeachment hearings, and said on December 4 that impeachment was moving forward on the “thinnest evidentiary record–is also arguing against Feldman’s position. He argued the Feldman was conflating the removal provisions of the constitution with that of impeachment.
“Frankly, I am mystified by the claim since I see no credible basis for maintaining this view under either the text or the history of the Constitution,” he wrote.
White House officials are reportedly thinking about picking up Feldman’s argument. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would wait to transmit the articles until the Senate established their process for the impeachment trial, so the House would be able to choose its managers. Two sources, however, said that the White House considered the delay a “Christmas gift,” according to CBS News on Saturday. The plan is that they’ll try to show that Dems are afraid to have a trial.
[Image via LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images]