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Impeachment Witness Professor Jonathan Turley: Congress Committing High Crime And Misdemeanor In Impeachment Without Going To Courts
George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley testifies during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump in Longworth Building on Wednesday Dec. 4, 2019.
Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley slammed Democrats on Wednesday during their impeachment hearing on the House Judiciary Committee, suggesting that Congressional Democrats would be committing the high crimes and misdemeanors — not President Donald Trump — with the way that they are conducting their impeachment efforts.

Fox News’ Sandra Smith weighed in on Turley’s testimony, saying, “On multiple occasions he reiterated points from his opening statement, ‘The record does not establish obstruction in this case,’ and he called into question the timing of Democrats in their push for this process asking, ‘Why are you trying to break the record with fastest impeachment? Fast is not good for impeachment,’ said Jonathan Turley.”

Fox News anchor Bret Baier responded to Smith’s comments, saying, “I think … Jonathan Turley was effective in his presentation, clear, concise. Also just in the one witness being questioned enabled him to expand as opposed to the three witnesses on the Democratic side back and forth.”

“I think when he said, ‘fast and narrow’ is not the way to do impeachment, he said at numerous times, numerous ways, and Bill mentioned it before when he said if you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of this, without going to the courts to get the to continue this investigation, to get the goods essentially to make this case, then you are committing the high crime and misdemeanor as in Congress and I thought that that was the most powerful moment of his testimony,” Baier added.

The portion of Turley’s testimony that Smith and Baier appear to have been referencing came from Turley’s opening statement.

“If this Committee elects to seek impeachment on the failure to yield to congressional demands in an oversight or impeachment investigation, it will have to distinguish a long line of cases where prior presidents sought the very same review while withholding witnesses and documents,” Turley said, according to his prepared remarks. “Basing impeachment on this obstruction theory would itself be an abuse of power … by Congress. It would be an extremely dangerous precedent to set for future presidents and Congresses in making an appeal to the Judiciary into ‘high crime and misdemeanor.'”

“In the current case, the record is facially insufficient. The problem is not simply that the record does not contain direct evidence of the President stating a quid pro quo, as Chairman Schiff has suggested,” Turley continued. “The problem is that the House has not bothered to subpoena the key witnesses who would have such direct knowledge. This alone sets a dangerous precedent. A House in the future could avoid countervailing evidence by simply relying on tailored records with testimony from people who offer damning presumptions or speculation.”

“It is not enough to simply shrug and say this is ‘close enough for jazz’ in an impeachment,” Turley added. “The expectation, as shown by dozens of failed English impeachments, was that the lower house must offer a complete and compelling record. That is not to say that the final record must have a confession or incriminating statement from the accused. Rather, it was meant to be a complete record of the key witnesses that establishes the full range of material evidence. Only then could the body reach a conclusion on the true weight of the evidence—a conclusion that carries sufficient legitimacy with the public to justify the remedy of removal.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Impeachment Witness Professor Jonathan Turley: Congress Committing High Crime And Misdemeanor In Impeachment Without Going To Courts