Whitaker told Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Tuesday that “abuse of power is not a crime. Let’s fundamentally boil it down, the Constitution is very clear that there has to be some pretty egregious behavior."
"Matt Whitaker’s statement that ‘abuse of power is not a crime’ is the epitome of ignorance – ignorance of the Constitution, ignorance of the purposes and history of the Impeachment Clause, ignorance of America’s history, ignorance of the law,” Tribe said, according to Law & Crime.
“Impeachable offenses, which the Constitution quaintly calls ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ are offenses against the nation and its Constitution, not necessarily violations of criminal statutes.”
His comments came as House Democrats pursue an impeachment inquiry regarding the president's July phone call with Ukraine. During that call, he requested the government investigate corruption concerns surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine.
Trump has claimed no wrongdoing but Democrats have suggested the phone call showed him trying to extort interference in the 2020 presidential election.
Tribe also claimed that some crimes weren't impeachable but some non-crimes were. “Lots of crimes, like tax evasion, aren’t impeachable. And lots of impeachable offenses, like using the power of the presidency to usurp Congress’s prerogatives, or shake down foreign allies by withholding congressionally appropriated military aid against their and our adversaries in order to enrich yourself or get reelected, aren’t ordinary crimes at all, but surely are ‘high Crimes’ in the constitutional sense,” he said.
Tribe clarified, however, that he thought the president committed a federal crime by "soliciting foreign help in an American election."
The legal scholar has long been critical of Trump and claimed the president provided a "slam dunk" for the case against him when he released a rough transcript of his call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky