By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published December 27, 2019
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley insisted in a new op-ed on Thursday that President Trump was, in fact, impeached, despite the argument that was made by one of his impeachment hearing colleagues last week.
Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, one of the Democratic witnesses who testified in favor of Trump's impeachment earlier this month, made the case that since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, has withheld the two articles of impeachment that were passed by the House of Representatives from the Senate, the president technically has not been impeached.
"The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial," Feldman wrote for Bloomberg, going on to say that if the House doesn't release the articles, Trump could legitimately declare "with strong justification" that he was never actually impeached.
"To be sure, if the House just never sends its articles of impeachment to the Senate, there can be no trial there. That’s what the 'sole power to impeach' means," he said.
Now, the political tables turn yet again with the sole constitutional scholar who opposed impeachment at the impeachment hearing countering Feldman's argument, insisting Trump was impeached.
"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," Turley wrote in an op-ed published in the Washington Post.
Turley pointed to Sections 2 and 3 of Article I, which states that the House of Representatives "shall have the sole Power of Impeachment" and that the Senate "shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments" to back up his argument.
"The separation of impeachment and trial makes both practical and constitutional sense. If impeachment required an actual submission to the Senate, it would be an invitation of mischief," Turley elaborated. "For instance, the Senate could go out of session or take other procedural steps to thwart the submission of the articles. If the Senate were under the control of a president's party (as it is currently), the maneuver could be used to avoid not just trial but the ignominy of impeachment."
He continued, "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. The Framers set a two-thirds requirement for conviction because it knew that some impeachments might be pure political exercises. It is a different standard set for a distinct stage of this constitutional process."
Fox News' David Montanaro contributed to this report.