A Utah law professor is calling for the prompt impeachment of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the event that Trump wins the 2016 election.
The professor, Christopher Peterson, is the John J. Flynn endowed professor of law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City.
According to Peterson, enough evidence of Trump’s serious misconduct exists for Congress to impeach Trump without delay.
Trump has previously engaged in fraud and racketeering, Peterson says, and these crimes meet the standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” imposed under Article II of the United States Constitution.
The professor lays out his case in a scholarly article entitled “Trump University and Presidential Impeachment.”
The 23-page paper — published on Tuesday — focuses on Trump’s leadership of the now-defunct Trump University. Before going under, the unaccredited, for-profit real estate investment training program charged participants up to $30,000 each in fees.
Peterson describes Trump University as an “unlicensed series of get-rich-quick seminars provided by traveling salesmen.”
Trump is currently fending off civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University by a host of former Trump University students. The lawsuits allege consumers were scammed into spending thousands of dollars on the classes with deceptive promises of wealth. (RELATED: Trump University Students Say They Were Pressured To Give Rave Reviews)
“In the United States, it is illegal for businesses to use false statements to convince consumers to purchase their services,” he adds. “The evidence indicates that Trump University used a systemic pattern of fraudulent representations to trick thousands of families into investing in a program that can be argued was a sham.”
Peterson notes that fraud and racketeering are federal — and state — felonies, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Congress can impeach a president for crimes committed before a president is sworn in, Peterson also observes, and members of Congress can consider civil case findings when determining the propriety of impeachment.
One of Trump’s tactics in response to the multimillion-dollar lawsuits has been to suggest that a judge in one of the lawsuits is “hostile” toward Trump because the judge, Gonzalo Curiel, is Hispanic and Trump wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
Curiel was born in East Chicago, Indiana in 1953.
Peterson specializes in consumer finance. From 2012 to 2016, he served as a special adviser for the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has received a Department of Defense commendation for helping to craft legislation protecting military service members from predatory lenders. After graduating law school at the University of Utah, he clerked for Wade Brorby, an appellate judge appointed by Ronald Reagan.