George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley said Tuesday that Democrats had set themselves up for failure in former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
Turley told “America’s Newsroom” anchors Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino that House Democrats had rushed to deliver a “snap impeachment,” and in doing so, had accused Trump of intentionally inciting a violent insurrection when the evidence would likely only show him doing something that a number of Democrats were guilty of as well: being reckless with his rhetoric. (RELATED: Jonathan Turley Calls For Civility In Impeachment Hearing — Gets Threats Instead)
“The House is going to present the statements of the president in a very menacing way,” Turley began, adding that he didn’t fault anyone for accusing Trump of being reckless with his language.
“Indeed many of us condemned his speech as being reckless, but he wasn’t impeached for reckless language. He was impeached for intentionally trying to incite an insurrection, an actual rebellion in the United States,” Turley continued. “The House may be the victim of its own excess in how it drafted that article of impeachment.”
Turley went on to say that the Democrats could have taken the time to draft an article of impeachment that was more bipartisan in nature, saying that an attempt to convict Trump for “reckless rhetoric” was not a winning argument for Democrats even if it was an accurate portrayal.
“This may become a trial over reckless rhetoric and if it is, it may be difficult for some voters to see a meaningful difference between the rhetoric used by some Democrats in the past and the rhetoric used by the president,” he said.
Perino asked whether the Democrats might have had more support if they had focused the impeachment article on Trump’s calls for former Vice President Mike Pence to reject the Electoral College vote.
Turley agreed that there were certainly a number of options the Democrats could have tried, adding, “There is reason to condemn the president’s comments but the House Democrats didn’t want to do that. They didn’t even want to hold a hearing looking at the implications of this language. They ordered up what I call the snap impeachment. Impeachment that has no record of the hearing, no investigation, not even a formal opportunity of the president to respond. And they just sent that to the Senate. They dug the deepest possible hole to fill in a Senate trial.”