House Judiciary Democrats have opted to use an anti-Trump resistance lawyer to question witnesses during their first impeachment hearing Wednesday.
Democrats reportedly selected Norm Eisen on Tuesday to lead the questioning of witnesses, not Barry Berke as was expected. Eisen is a co-founder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and served in the Obama administration before joining the Brookings Institution. He is also a frequent CNN commentator.
Just in: Norm Eisen, not Barry Berke, will be questioning the witnesses at tomorrow’s Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, per an official.
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) December 3, 2019
Eisen is a frequent Trump critic and member of the so-called “#Resistance,” and floated impeachment on his Twitter account before Trump ever took office.
Love it! purchasing an inauguration package entitles you to a discounted stay in event if future impeachment proceedings ;-). https://t.co/V2uz7S43rn
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) December 11, 2016
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) November 30, 2016
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) January 20, 2017
The Democrats’ witness list also raises questions about potential bias against the president, as two out of the three witnesses they called are, in addition to being constitutional lawyers, Democratic donors. Pamela Karlan has donated over $10,000 to numerous Democratic candidates, such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Doug Jones, while Michael Gerhardt donated $1000 to Barack Obama in 2007.
Witness list for Wednesday’s impeachment hearing is out. All law professors. Of the Dem majority’s three witnesses, two are Democratic political donors. I see more than $10,000 from Karlan (to Hillary C., Barack O., Al Gore, John Kerry et al). Gerhardt, too, is an Obama donor. pic.twitter.com/zA6K7mXkYE
— David Martosko (@dmartosko) December 2, 2019
The New York Times describes Karlan as a “legal leader to progressive causes,” pointing out that she is on the board of the “left-leaning” American Constitution Society and that she signed a letter in 2016 from constitutional law scholars expressing “concerns” about Trump’s rhetoric. Gerhardt, meanwhile, worked on Al Gore’s Senate campaign and helped with Bill Clinton’s transition team.(RELATED: White House Declines House Judiciary Impeachment Hearing Invitation)
The third Democratic witness, Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law professor, has called for a special counsel to investigate Rudy Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine and warned that Attorney General Bill Barr could become a “target”of the probe.
Republicans, meanwhile, chose George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley as their lone witness during Wednesday’s proceedings. Turley is a frequent legal commentator on cable news and has been open to impeachment if warranted but skeptical of the Democrats’ arguments for removing Trump.