Democratic counsel outlines three potential articles of impeachment

Democrats gave a possible signal on the articles of impeachment they are considering for President Trump during Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Norman Eisen, the Democratic counsel for Judiciary who took part in the public questioning of the witnesses, asked whether the three Democratic witnesses agreed that Trump had committed impeachable offenses of abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

All three Democratic witnesses agreed that Trump had committed these offenses under Eisen’s questioning. A chart showing the three offenses was also shown in the committee room. 

While the back-and-forth does not mean it is a certainty that those alleged crimes would be the articles chosen for impeachment — or that Democrats would limit their case to those three issues — it did seem to give a sense of direction on whether the party is headed.


Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School, defined abuse of power as “when the president takes an action that is part of the presidency not to serve the presidency but to serve his private interests,” saying it particularly applied in cases meant to aid the president’s reelection or exploit advantages only available to the president.

“If the president uses his office for personal gain, the only recourse available under the Constitution is for him to be impeached,” Feldman said.

The two other Democratic witnesses, Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law School and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill agreed that abuse of power was generally an impeachable offense.

Asked if the Intelligence Committee’s report indicated Trump has committed impeachable abuse of power, Feldman responded “based on that evidence and those findings, the president did commit an impeachable abuse of office.”

Karlan simply responded “same answer,” while Gerhardt said “we three are unanimous” on the matter.

The Republican witness, Jonathan Turley, a law professor from George Washington University who is also an opinion contributor for The Hill, was not asked whether he believed Trump had committed impeachable offenses. 

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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