Four academics, specializing in legal matters, will be the first witnesses to appear before the House Judiciary Committee in the impeachment hearing against President Donald Trump. Members of the Republican Party criticized the lack of transparency of the process and the lack of witnesses who can provide real evidence.
The committee is chaired by Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who was in charge of the announcement.
Three scholars were elected by the Democrats and one by the Republicans.
On the opposition side, witnesses include Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School, Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law School and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina Law School.
The only person summoned by the Republicans is professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School.
Who the witnesses are and what to expect
As Breitbart describes, Feldman is respected for the nuances of his constitutional ideas. However, he fell into the sham of the Russian false collusion, claiming in September 2017, “More and more evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia has come to light.”
He also erroneously argued that the president could be prosecuted for “defamation,” among other crimes, after accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping in the Trump Tower. Indeed, it later became clear that the Obama administration had been monitoring members of Trump’s campaign, including Carter Page.
Karlan said that in 2017 President Trump had “behaved extraordinarily badly” in firing FBI Director James Comey, but at the same time acknowledged that the president had the authority to do so.
Gerhardt testified during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton in 1998. At the time, he wrote, “Members of Congress are unlikely to pursue similar charges against a president ever again. Future members of Congress almost certainly will grant presidents a much wider zone of immunity for any personal misconduct than did the Republican Congress in 1998-99.”
He also argued, “Congress should agree, at the very least, to have bipartisan support before authorizing congressional subpoenas or investigations,” adding, “At the very least, members of Congress should require committee chairs and ranking minority members of committees to agree before initiating investigations or issuing legislative subpoenas.”
However, in the impeachment against President Trump, the Democrats are conducting a partisan investigation without the consent of the Republicans and with unilateral rules that give the Democratic majority unprecedented power.
Breitbart journalist Joel B. Pollak describes Turley as a liberal who, however, has frequently criticized the Democratic Party’s constitutional approach.
During CBS coverage of last month’s hearings, Turley stated that while he can point to deficiencies in President Trump’s behavior, Democrats are “proceeding on the narrowest basis for impeachment in the history of this country.” He also expressed skepticism as to whether the Democrats “gained much ground” with respect to impeachment.
“We have never reached an impeachment solely for abuse of power related to a single controversy such as this. It’s a very thin base. (…) The question is, is it really a contestable crime, and how do you distinguish what the president did here from what presidents do in conversations with heads of state?”
Lack of information and absence of fact witnesses
On Monday, Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, criticized Nadler in a letter stating that the witnesses were not disclosed until less than 48 hours before the hearing begins Wednesday morning.
Shortly thereafter, Nadler posted on the committee’s Web site the list of the four academics who were called to testify.
“At Wednesday’s hearing in the #JudiciaryCommittee, we will hear from ZERO fact witnesses. In fact, there’s no indication our committee will EVER hear from fact witnesses,” Collins said on Twitter.
“This is an incredible disservice to the millions of Americans who elected @realDonaldTrump,” he added.
President Trump’s impeachment is on the Judiciary Committee after starting on the Intelligence Committee, chaired by controversial California representative Adam Schiff.
“If the #JudiciaryCommittee votes on articles of impeachment after only a hearing with constitutional scholars, a presentation of Adam Schiff’s report on Schiff’s terms, and a quick markup, that will be a massive failure,” Collins said.