tv Washington Journal Jonathan Turley CSPAN November 18, 2019 3:47pm-4:16pm EST
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communicators" on c-span2. welcome host:o jonathan turley back to the desk. professor, in your latest column on the inquiry, you called the current effort perhaps the narrowest impeachment in history. what is the difference between a narrow impeachment and a wide faced impeachment? iesco -- building this inquiry is comparable to building a building, and the tallest structure you can build in the constitution is the impeachment of a sitting president. this would be the narrowest in the history of the country. they are proceeding on an abuse of power there he based on one controversy involving ukraine, nothing from the russian investigations, none of those crimes will be part of this impeachment.
likemeans it will be more the impeachment of andrew johnson than richard nixon. that was the gold standard ironically because he resigned, but it was such a strong case that he did resign. it was broad, had a lot of different types of criminal conduct and a very developed record. this is more like andrew johnson. articles in that impeachment, but they were based on the tenure in office act and the firing of the secretary of war. it failed in the u.s. senate of course. it is a concern, if you want to see tricksy removed instead of see --if you really want to prostate removed, instead of impeached. host: compare this to the recent effort, the clinton impeachment, was that narrow or wide?
guest: it was narrow. i testified as part of the hearing of experts on the impeachment standard and it was narrow. there's one big difference, and that is clinton was accused of a criminal act. a judge later said that he clearly did commit perjury and that is something that thousands of people have gone to jail for. even though it was narrow, it had a strong criminal element. i think that narrowness did play against it. i think that's one of the reasons he was acquitted, and it is a warning for house managers not to build these tall impeachments, if you want to take out a sitting president, you will need something broader. host: one of the theories that nancy's losey --nancy pelosi has specifically designed this so it would fail. explain this. anomaly, yous an
have others who have been saying for three years that impeachable and criminal acts are now well established by the president, stemming from the russian investigation. the democratic leadership made it clear that they did not want to see in impeachment on any of the russian investigations and that is not the part of the inquiry thus far. that creates a strange anomaly. you have been telling us for three years these are clearly established impeachable offenses, and one of two things are true, either they are not clearly established or you don't want to remove the president. take your choice, but you would think you would broaden the impeachment. what we do know is that the speaker has been opposed to impeachment. she has been the primary force that has slowed it down. that created an odd situation. for three years the democrats have not made steps towards impeachment significantly. testifiedhoto -- i
month ago and said why aren't you getting an impeachment vote and proceeding? you are running out of runway. they did it, but now they want to vote by the end of december not only will this be the narrowest in history it is also the least developed evidentiary based. we will have relatively few witnesses and this will be a pretty slender base to go to the senate. host: nancy pelosi is not using the term bribery. is that impeachable? guest: most certainly. it is one of the named offenses. but this is not it. adam schiff also raise this argument that it is bribery. that dog will not hunt. if they try to argue that that is bribery, this will come to a crashing conclusion because it will undermine their credibility. you can impeach someone on abuse of power, and some republicans
have said you cannot impeach him on just that. you most certainly can and you can impeach him on quid pro quo. that is just not the strongest basis because there is a lot of debate about that. this is not bribery. the chairman said bribery meant something different back in the constitutional time, and i chuckled because it suddenly sounded like an originalist, but fortunately for adam schiff, he is wrong, that there was a different meaning of bribery, but it was not this broad definition that he is suggesting . in the constitutional convention mason had an exchange with madison or mason said we cannot bribery, treason and and instead he wanted to introduce a broader term, maladministration. madison then said that is really
broad, what does that mean? crimesded up with high and misdemeanors, but the record contradicts with the chairmanship said, that they did not you bribery as this broad concept. on narrow and wide based impeachment efforts, the hill newspaper, his column last week, are democrats building a collapsible impeachment? and you can see all of his writings there, and the phone numbers if you want to join us this morning, (202)-748-8000 for democrats. (202)-748-8001 for republicans. independents, (202)-748-8002. lots of colors waiting for you. a democrat from michigan, good morning. i watch you on tv, a pretty smart guy, no doubt about that.
if you can up each the president, what else is there left to impeach anybody about, this is a small thing, a very low thing, and i don't get it. last question, i heard that , the ones assent to ukraine, there was a clause in the contract, they are not to use those against russians. what is that about? not too sure about the muscles or that clause -- about the missiles or that clause. your first question is a really fair question and a lot of people are saying, if clinton could be in pitched --impeached about lying about this affair, then why isn't this an impeachable offense, i think the argument that will be made by the legal team and by many people is that lying under oath is a crime. there's not a real strong
argument that this is a crime in terms of quid pro quo, but that does not mean you can impeach him on it. you don't need a crime but you need clarity. if you don't have a crime you need a clear line as to what type of actions a president can be removed for. i will note this as well and it may not go over well, when i testified in the clinton impeachment, i said that clinton could be impeached even though i voted for him and agreed with his policies. i disagreed with my colleagues at that hearing that it depends on what the subject is that a president is lying under oath about. i did not and still do not accept that. if a president lies and commits perjury it is most certainly, must be impeachable. there's nothing more dangerous than a president lying under oath. we put thousands of people away in jail. he is the head of the executive branch that does that, so i never bought that argument that
certain types of perjury are different from others. host: this question is from emme makes thewhat president different? why cannot he testify? guest: he could certainly choose to do so. one of the differences is that demandedendent counsel an interview. he was not going to force said --andsit, and clinton certainly resisted, but that was part of a grand jury proceeding. they avoided at the confrontation over whether the president could be dragged into a grand jury. the law was against clinton. that isn't a grand jury, is playing that role here, but the president could test of a and i would --testify and i would prefer that rather than daily twits. -- daily tweets.
day, harming himself every this attack on the ambassador unbelievably and poor judgment. a lot of people were very unnerved by that tweet. host: what is your take on whether the president has a right to confront the whistleblower? agree with the democrats on that. i do not believe the president has a right and certainly at the house stage there is no confrontation showing --confrontation right in the impeachment process. there was a recent professor who argued that the house had already violated the constitutional rights of the president by holding closed hearings and not having counsel present. i think the democrats have been too heavy-handed in holding closed sessions and restricting evidence, but i do not agree
with the republicans that there is a constitutional right to confrontation particular at the house stage. also i think the republicans are wrong when they say this is different from the past in the sense there were no sealed proceedings. that is not true. nixon had sealed proceedings and of course much of clinton was handled in the grand jury which is sealed. where they are correct i think is that the republicans say there is less of a need for seal hearings here and i think the democrats have altered the rules in making this a less public and giving a little more power to the majority that they had before. if you look at the clinton impeachment and even the nixon of achment, there was more flow of witnesses or the other side did get more of their witnesses. ust: jonathan turley with until 10 :00 today. this is our republican out of wisconsin. caller: some things the
democrats have done have gotten a very upset for the good of the and who the people elected, donald trump, and the day after he was sworn and they already started talking that all we've got is impeachment, i think this was a very ugly attempt to subvert the process of the people for political reasons, not because he did amething independent, criminal act like nixon or others. orthis was not an ongoing new situation during his campaign, so they did not have anything to impeach him on so they started a fishing expedition. and if you look long and hard enough at somebody you will find something that they did wrong.
sayingi think what he is is a the you shared by 50 percent of the country. they are divided right down the middle on impeachment and that goes back to the original question, what do you need to remove a sitting president? it's not just that this impeachment is so slender and narrow and that's why it seems designed to fail, but it is also the fact that they have not moved the needle significantly in terms of getting people to support the impeachment. part of that problem is that after three years of not a lot of movement, the democrats are saying we need a vote by the end of december. the reason that that nixon impeachment ultimately did so well from the house perspective is that there was some time of maturation and saturation and people caught up to congress and they saw the witnesses. eventually the vast majority of
people did support the impeachment of richard nixon and he resigned. the democrats are not giving any time for that. even if they make the case, they are not giving the time to make it. and: does this maturation saturation happen faster that we are in now in this world of social media? guest: i don't think so. i think things do move more quickly, not that. this is about people making up their minds, people who are resistant about this concept, and they should be. there's also this anomaly again that the democrats for three years have been saying over and over again have clear criminal offenses, but they did not move towards impeachment. nancy pelosi was known to be stopping that, yet none of that stuff is part of this impeachment. peoples the conservative
like this seems basically you're just moving on to the next available target, but the narrative remains the same. host: here's our independent out of california. caller: first of all, i would like to know how nancy pelosi and adam schiff to will be held accountable if this turns out that with all of the noise in the media, that this is a political based impeachment could there's a lot of corruption in the government, that is well-known. i've never seen it to this , one example is the way the ambassador of ukraine was televised, when chris
stewart was asking the two questions, was there bribery or this criminal act, and she answered no to both of those. i had to go to my computer to see the full interview to see how she answered it. constituents get their information from the news, and it is so biased. clash --therst and first question was about holding nancy pelosi and adam schiff accountable. be heldhey will accountable by the voters. you don't impeach house members. i think the problem is that people do not know who to believe. i hate to say this but i would say leave no one. work off original documents. watch the testimony. i think the media tries very
hard to get this right. 's on thate president media is un-presidential. i think there are examples in the media of a loss of independent judgment and objectivity. you watch some cable programs and it seems like it's just basically the case against trump , so people don't know where to go. ecothey have is this journalism like fox or msnbc and we need a source that they can trust. the only thing that i can suggest is you watch these hearings and look at this material and reach your own conclusions. there is a lot of dishonest stuff going on in washington. that doesn't surprise anyone. about thepoint statement about the ambassador, i get her point, she did in fact
i don't see anything criminal or impeachable. in fairness to the deck emits -- democrats, were not looking to to decide that. she would very likely to be the first to say that. i thought she was remarkably poised and credible and forthcoming in her testimony. that doesn't mean what she was describing was impeachable. we will have to come up with some notion of what abuses are impeachable and what are not because my concern is that what will come out of this very narrow impeachment is a lowering of the impeachment standard. when you have a president warren or a president sanders, the republican say i want to look at some of the transcripts of your conversations with these world leaders or i'm going to say the action you took over here was designed to give you a little than a fit. we do not want to be on that slippery slope. the framers did not want that.
they wanted a high standard that gives breathing room for the system as a whole. host: you say watch it for yourself. our viewers can do so all week long. in the live coverage first hearing at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, and then on wednesday testimony,e have again split up into two different panels. that happens again at nine :00 a.m. and 2:30 on wednesday. on thursday the on a hill, the former senior director at the national security council at the end of this week, all of this happening on c-span three, c-span.org and are free radio app.
we have a democrat from nevada, good morning. caller: can i just point out some dots to connect to trump about just being a lying president that needs to be overseen for his actions. meeting with the russian connections and he lied about it for a year, and then they said it was for child adoption when it was really about hillary clinton. then you have men afford with the connections --paul manafort with the connections with ukraine and then you have russian connections, and we recently just had roger stone who lied to congress and was just recently convicted, seven counts of lying, keeping wikileaks secrets. the president has done nothing but lie ever since he has been
in office about contacts and every person who has been with him in his administration he throws under the bus, and then he says as soon as they get caught, i don't know them, i had no beatings with them. no meetingses out -- with them, and then it comes out that they do. now you have this phone call, and if i was a bank robber, and i didn't get any money, i would still be a criminal. you have the same thing with president trump and ukraine. first of all, i think what i would say, and he raises some valid concerns here about this record with the president in terms of the statements he's made, but you don't impeach them for just lying. sad statement about the politics or the constitution, but most residents have light on important subjects
that most people in that building called the capital building do this with great regularity. dealers.all self the question is what constitutes an impeachable offense and that goes to the last point that jake made, what does it take to impeach someone given this history. regularly example -- burglary example has come up before the problem is the law is based on original crime. we know that robbery is a crime. we know murder is a crime. there is not a clear crime here. if a quid pro quo existed, i don't buy for a second that you can twist this into bribery or extortion. that dog will not hunt. that doesn't mean you cannot impeach on abuse of power but
that something that is noncriminal. i think the problem with that analogy is it oversimplifies the path ahead. if we look at the impeachment of a president and his potential removal, we need to have this conversation as citizens. i think there is no clear crime here. there could be impeachable offenses, but we need to come up with an idea, as to how we separate abuses of power from impeachable abuse of power. not every abuse is impeachable. so i think that is a conversation we have to have. the analogy that this is like attempted murder sort of falls apart. are color from california, can the president be impeached if you like to congress in his written questions? yes, that is an
impeachable offense. most of that concerns what he said about russia, but that democrats have been saying that there are a married of crimes that they say are proven and established and certainly they are conspicuously and suddenly silent. they are not bringing those up for impeachment. that has a lot of people scratching their heads including suggestions that some of his written answers were false. most certainly lying to congress cannot only be impeachable, it is a criminal act. host: about 30 minutes left before the program ends today and we are spending all of them with jonathan turley a law c-spanor and frequent guest. we appreciate that. loretta is in mississippi, a republican. theer: i have watched about
prosecutor in ukraine, and he was charged with nothing, the one biden had removed. the one that replaced --replaced him, and she told him verbally what people, that she did not want him to investigate. john solomon has investigated, glenn beck has reported it and has court records of proof of , and heit is on youtube has reports about people being convicted in ukraine for working for the dnc and being convicted for corruption and working against the election in 2016. guest: i think what she is capturing is part of the problem a lot of citizens have is that the democrats are saying look
over here, this is really serious, but don't look over here, at the 2016 crane in connections, don't look at hunter haydn. biden, but let's talk about this. from the very beginning i've taken the position that i think all americans should take, a think should all let the --they should all be investigated. i think there was a need for the special counsel investigation, but i also think there is a need for what is the investigation into the 2016 russia investigation. it can only help us as citizens to know more. otherer one party or the says there is no need to look into that. that is when you've got to put away your partisan interest and say this is a time where we need transparency. on the ukrainian thing, i think the aspect about have narrowed this is. alone,go up on ukraine
the only way to remove donald trump is to beat him with the dead body of joe biden because that is what you're going to have to do. hunter biden would be clearly material, he would be relevant. if the president is saying i wanted it investigated because it was corrupt, does your view change about the significance or the meaning of that conversation if you agree with him that the contract was corrupt? a clearly is something that would be allowed in a defense which means if i was counsel to the president, of course i would call hunter biden. let me say this: i don't agree that joe biden had this prosecutor fired to protect his son, i just don't think the evidence supports that. however, that contract was corrupt. there was no non-corrupt purpose to it. it was a classic influence peddling. i've written for 30 years about this loophole.