Impassioned Law Experts Testify: If the Ukraine Scandal Isn’t Impeachable, “Nothing Is”

“This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created a Constitution including impeachment to protect against.”

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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Constitutional law expert Michael Gerhardt warned Congress Wednesday that failure to impeach President Donald Trump could set a dangerous precedent for future commanders in chief.

“If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, nothing is impeachable,” the professor at University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill said during the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing. “This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created a Constitution including impeachment to protect against.”

“If Congress concludes they’re gonna give a pass to the president,” he continued, “every other president will say, ‘OK, then I can do the same thing,’ and the boundaries will just evaporate.”

An erosion of those boundaries, he concluded, would be “a danger to all of us.”

Gerhardt’s remarks came during the first day of a new phase of the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings, in which Gerhardt—along with Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan, and George Washington Law professor Jonathan Turley—provided the legal and historical basis by which the president may be found guilty of impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Watch Gerhardt’s remarks below:

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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