Andy McCarthy on new rhetoric shift from Dems: Abuse of power can be used to impeach any president

Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy said Wednesday that House Democrats have shifted their rhetoric from accusing President Trump of bribery and extortion to a general abuse of power and it was working in their favor at the second round of impeachment hearings.

Appearing on "America's Newsroom" with host Bill Hemmer, McCarthy said that he believes their adjustment in tactics has been "very effective so far for the Democrats."

"What we saw in the Intelligence Committee hearings is that the Democratic majority seem to settle on bribery as its main theory for impeachment," he noted. "But, it's very interesting the way this tees up today because, historically before you call in the legal experts, you usually have drafted up the articles of impeachment and asked the legal experts to explain how they square with what the framers had in mind in the impeachment clauses."

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The Fox News contributor said that what's interesting here is that there are no articles of impeachment drawn up yet and "what you're seeing is a shift in the approach from bribery to something that's more amorphous but fits under the Constitution's definition and that is abuse of power."

"This whole idea of exercising public authority for private gain and in particular in a manner, according to the allegation, that could have a detrimental effect on our elections -- which the framers were concerned about," he exclaimed.

Testifying on Wednesday were Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School; Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law School; Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina School of Law; and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University. Turley is the only witness called by Republicans.

Karlan said during her testimony that Trump's encouragement to Ukraine's president that the Ukrainian leader investigate Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden is an “especially serious abuse of power because it undermines democracy itself."

Feldman argued that the Founding Fathers thought it was essential that an American president could be removed from office and not be regarded as above the law. He added that Trump's behavior “embodies the framers’ concern that a sitting president would corruptly abuse the powers.”

McCarthy believes that this will ultimately lead to articles of impeachment not necessarily or predominantly based on criminal offenses, but "abuses of power along the lines of what the law professors have laid out."

He said he's concerned that using such a standard will make any future president vulnerable to impeachment.

"At some point or another, all presidents abuse their power and if the definition of an impeachable offense is going to be as elastic as it sounded in the first round of questioning, then every president is capable of being harassed by his political opposition on grounds that he abused his power," said McCarthy.

Americans will seemingly have to wait for answers until 2020. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership team told Fox News that it seems unlikely the House can vote on impeachment before Christmas, saying it's "too complex" a process.

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“I just don’t see it,” the source said. “It’s too big.”

Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.