On Wednesday, Professor Michael Gerhardt argued during the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing that if Donald Trump’s actions aren’t impeachable, then “nothing is impeachable.”
Gerhardt, who is a law professor at the University of North Carolina, focused his testimony on whether Trump abused the power of the presidency by pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Gerhardt stated that Trump committed impeachable offenses and added that there’s “more than enough” evidence that he also obstructed justice.
“If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” he said. “This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created a Constitution, including impeachment, to protect against.”
Gerhardt would go on to testify if Congress gives Trump a “pass,” then “every other president will say, ‘okay, then I can do the same thing, and the boundaries will just evaporate … and that is a danger to all of us.”
Gerhardt was not the only professor to testify on Wednesday. Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor and also gave testimony.
“On the basis of the testimony and the evidence before the House, President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency,” Feldman testified.
“One of the key reasons for including an impeachment power was the risk that unscrupulous officials might try to rig the election process,” Karlan explained.
“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on his behalf in the next election, and of course, his obstruction of Congress,” Gerhardt warned.
GERHARDT: "I just want to stress — if what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable." pic.twitter.com/ue9ynt4ovy
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 4, 2019
During the opening statements for the hearings Jerry Nadler stated “The president welcomed that interference,” Nadler said during his opening statement. “When his own Department of Justice tried to uncover the extent to which a foreign government had broken our laws, President Trump took extraordinary and unprecedented steps to obstruct the investigation, including ignoring subpoenas, ordering the creation of false records, and publicly attacking and intimidating witnesses.”
Robert Mueller’s report, which was made public in April showed that Trump and his campaign had colluded with Russia and that Trump had obstructed justice. Nadler has been very vocal that Trump should be impeached for obstruction.
Both Gerhardt and Karlan backed Nadler’s point on obstruction. Karlan implied that Trump’s behavior verges on treason. He argued that the founders defined treason as “putting a foreign adversary’s interests above the United States.”
All three of the professors made it abundantly clear that impeachment was put in the constitution by the founders “so that presidents, who are not kings, cannot be above the law.”