The House Intelligence Committee released its impeachment inquiry report on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee conducted its own impeachment hearing. On Thursday morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi authorized the formation of articles of impeachment using the events of both committees as a foundation. Tuesday’s Judiciary hearing especially, however, underscores the dangers of attempting to wield impeachment as a political weapon.

Three law professors — Noah Feldman, Pamela Karlan, and Michael Gerhart — were called as experts on the Constitution by Democrats for that hearing. Republicans were allowed just one witness — Professor Jonathan Turley — for the same purpose.


The Left’s three professors argued they were not there to judge the credibility of the witnesses, but merely to argue a case based on the testimony. But they undermined their own arguments when they said so, because by default, the professors automatically assumed the witnesses were credible since the three “relied” on those testimonies in their arguments.

The idea that an academic would not question the credibility of a source is also nonsense, since academic writing of the kind expected of professors is so heavily reliant on sources — and academic writing often involves discussion and critique of sources themselves. It’s truth that is supposed to count.

But the Left’s three professors nevertheless asserted, based on Judiciary witness testimony, that President Donald Trump was “drawing foreign powers into our elections” to “benefit him personally.” This was to the contention that Trump was seeking political leverage for 2020 in having Joe Biden and Hunter Biden investigated by Ukraine in exchange for military aid (based on Hunter’s employment with Burisma at a time his father halted an investigation into Burisma, and subsequently boasted about).

I also made an argument in my last column that candidacy for office does not put one above scrutiny. That includes the law, and justice. The professors all agreed that “no one is king” and “no one, not even the president, is above the law.” That includes Joe Biden, running for president or not.

But the narrative to fulfill the guilty verdict for the sake of impeachment continued. The three professors, and Democratic representatives, argued that American military aid to Ukraine was delayed in favor of a quid pro quo — one which never happened, and one which Trump explicitly said he did not want in conversation with the only witness who had direct personal contact with Trump regarding the possibility. The three professors asserted that even the solicitation or the attempt are “misuse of office” are impeachable — but there is no clear evidence that this is what occurred.

The “misuse of office for personal gain” is also based on the assumption, without clear proof, that this is what Trump intended or was actually doing. Through the course of their testimony, the three, at times, had to walk back their initial insistence that these kinds of impeachable offenses had been committed, turning to use phrases like “the evidence suggests” and “if you [Congress] determines” such offenses have been committed, “then” the answer is “yes.” But most of the time, they argued that the president’s abuse of power was self-evident fact.

Professor Karlan, in particular, allowed her political bias to shine through by attempting to discolor Trump’s July call with the president of Ukraine by playing psychologist. She claimed that Trump’s use of the word “us” was akin to the “royal we,” with the implication being Trump believed himself to be both king and state combined in the way of pre-Enlightenment absolute monarchies. If this wasn’t enough, she ruthlessly mocked the name of the president’s youngest son as having royalist roots in Trump’s mind.

By contrast, only Professor Jonathon Turley, who is not a supporter of Trump, took both an objective and commonsense perspective. He explained that there is a “paucity of evidence” of the commission of a crime on the part of Trump; and such a lack of compelling evidence does not satisfy the impeachment process.

And while all four professors rightly spoke about the importance of law, fairness, and justice, only Turley explained the impeachment process at present is wrong because it is incomplete and rushed.

Turley argued that more witnesses should be called, evidence needed to be gathered, and actual proof (rather than presumption) had to be provided. Rep. Martha Roby made the incisive and related point that the Judiciary Committee should have been handling fact witnesses and evidence from the start, not the Intelligence Committee.

Turley was absolutely deafening when he explained that if the Judiciary ignored process and separation of powers, that they would be doing the very thing they were accusing the president of doing — abusing power.

He warned that a dangerous precedent could be set by all of this — and he was right. A dangerous precedent has already been set. If you don’t like the president, search for every conceivable reason to impeach him. Pelosi’s move is a penultimate effort in a multiyear campaign to find something for which to impeach President Trump.

Of final note, we should remember that the Left, philosophically, does not believe the Constitution — referenced repeatedly on Wednesday — is an ageless, relevant document which says what it means. The Left is activist, considering the Constitution to be “living” and “breathing” and therefore formless and malleable to the will at any given moment. Likewise, the Framers — whom Democrats referenced repeatedly on Wednesday — are only revered when convenient. (Consider how most liberals view the Electoral College.)

The move to impeach Trump is not about timeless American principle and process cherished by the Framers and enshrined in the Constitution, but politics.


Otherwise, Democrats would give principle and process their due.

Joe Vigliotti, a contributor to The Flip Side and a Taneytown city councilman, writes from Taneytown. His column appears every other Friday. Email him through his website at www.jvigliotti.com.