Even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to officially transmit two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, a noted constitutional law expert says that doesn’t chance the course of history.
George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley, a Democrat who was called by Republicans to testify during the House’s impeachment inquiry earlier this month, wrote Thursday that President Trump’s claim that he’s not really been impeached is false.
“Trump’s suggestion that he remains unimpeached appears based on a theory recently floated by Harvard Law School’s Noah Feldman, in a commentary for Bloomberg headlined ‘Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate,'” Turley wrote in The Washington Post.
“But while this theory may provide tweet-ready fodder for the president to defend himself and taunt his political adversaries, it’s difficult to sustain on the text or history or logic of the Constitution.”
Feldman, who appeared as an impeachment witness for Democrats, wrote that he believes impeachment isn’t just a step but a process, and that it’s not complete until the articles are transmitted to the Senate for a trial.
“If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say he wasn’t truly impeached at all,” Feldman wrote for Bloomberg.
Turley said he doesn’t believe that matters.
“Congressional Democrats’ current posture may be too cute by half, and is perhaps politically ill-advised, but any argument that they’ve entered a legal limbo by stalling the delivery of articles to the Senate falls flat,” he said.
Feldman isn’t the only constitutional expert who believes that impeachment falls short if there are no articles sent to the Senate.
Bradley A. Blakeman, an adjunct professor of public policy and international affairs at Georgetown University and a Fox News contributor, said in a piece for The Hill that there isn’t even a need for a Senate trial.
And Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz offered that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not need to wait for the articles to being a trial.
“I believe that the Senate need not wait for articles of impeachment to be transmitted. Senators are empowered by the constitution to begin a trial now — with or without further action by the House,” he wrote this week.
“Just as the House has the ‘sole power of impeachment,’ so too the Senate has the ‘sole power to try all impeachments,'” he added.