Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, attacked the Democrats’ “bribery” narrative during his testimony Wednesday, turning on the House Democrats and accusing them of abusing their power.
Turley appeared as the lone GOP-selected witness to address the Constitutional basis for the ongoing impeachment inquiry, and although he conceded his own personal concerns about President Donald Trump, he laid out the case against the proceedings as they have been conducted thus far. (RELATED: Jerry Nadler Claims The Facts On Trump Impeachment Are ‘Undisputed’)
The Supreme Court, Turley noted, had unanimously rejected a “boundless interpretation” of the crime of bribery. “They rejected the notion, for example, that bribery could be used in terms of setting up meetings and other types of things that occur in the course of a public service career,” he explained.
“And I really don’t have a dog in this fight,” Turley continued. “But you can’t accuse a president of bribery and then when some of us note that the Supreme Court has rejected your type of boundless interpretation, say, ‘Well, it’s just impeachment. We really don’t have to prove the elements.’ That’s a favorite mantra. ‘It’s close enough for jazz.’ Well, this isn’t improvisational jazz. Close enough isn’t good enough. If you’re going to accuse a president of bribery, you need to make it stick because you’re trying to remove a duly elected president of the United States.”
Turley then attacked claims of obstruction, arguing that impeachment articles for obstruction should be based on facts rather that assumptions.
“Obstruction is a crime also with meaning,” Turley explained. “It has elements, it has controlling case authority. The record does not establish obstruction in this case. What my esteemed colleague said is certainly true. If you accept all of their presumptions, it would be obstruction. But impeachments have to be based on proof, not presumptions.”
Turley also noted that the speed with which the impeachment inquiry had been conducted also presented a concern. “That’s the problem when you move towards impeachment on this abbreviated schedule that has not been explained to me why you want to set the record for the fastest impeachment. Fast is not good for impeachment. Narrow, fast impeachments have failed. Just ask Johnson.”
Turley concluded by turning the narrative back on House Democrats, asserting that the manner in which they had conducted the impeachment proceedings actually constituted an abuse of their power.
“I can’t emphasize this enough and I’ll say it one more time: If you impeach a president, if you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power,” Turley said. “It’s your abuse of power. You’re doing exactly what you’re criticizing the president of doing.”