House Democrats are going full steam ahead with efforts to impeach President Donald Trump, future electoral consequences be damned.
However, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz says that the Supreme Court just effectively nullified a key element of the impeachment push with its recent decision in another matter involving the president, The Hill reports.
The House Judiciary Committee passed two articles of impeachment last week, according to USA Today, with the second of those charging that Trump committed “obstruction of Congress” by choosing to fight congressional subpoenas in court instead of simply complying with them.
That argument may soon become impossible to sustain, as the Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether congressional subpoenas for Trump’s financial records must be enforced, something the president has been fighting in a separate, protracted legal battle, according to the Associated Press. During a Friday television appearance, Dershowitz laid out the implications of the court’s willingness to hear arguments in this realm.
“Look, the most important development happened today,” Dershowitz told Fox News host Sean Hannity.
He went on: “The Supreme Court of the United States absolutely pulled the rug out of part two of the impeachment referral by granting certiorari, by granting review in a case where Trump challenged a congressional subpoena, and the Supreme Court said, we are going to hear this case.
“One of them is a state case — but think of what that message is,” he continued. “It’s ‘Trump was right.’ You don’t have to comply with a subpoena of Congress unless the court tells you you have to comply.
“We don’t know how the court is going to come out,” Dershowitz conceded, “but they made it clear that is a viable issue. So that charge, that ground of impeachment should be immediately removed by the House and not sent to the Senate.”
He concluded: “There is nothing to it anymore after the Supreme Court today said they were going to review on an issue when the president challenges the subpoena power of Congress. All done, it’s over!”
Turley to Dems: “It’s your abuse of power”
Dershowitz isn’t the only one to believe that the rationale behind the second article of impeachment simply doesn’t hold water. George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley holds a similar opinion, which he expressed while testifying earlier this month before Congress.
“I can’t emphasize this enough, and I’ll say it just one more time,” he told lawmakers. “If you impeach a president, if you make a ‘high crime and misdemeanor’ out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. It’s your abuse of power.
“You’re doing precisely what you’re criticizing the president for doing,” he went on. “We have a third branch that deals with conflicts of the other two branches… And what comes out of there and what you do with it is the very definition of legitimacy.”