Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley blasted the Democrats for trying to go after President Donald Trump with impeachment for supposedly ‘inciting’ in regard to the Capitol protest.
First Turley points out that the facts don’t support the Democrats’ claims. While Turley was not a fan of all the words that Trump used during his rally prior to the Capitol protest, he said that “Trump never called for violence or a riot.” Trump’s remarks didn’t meet the definition for a criminal claim of incitement or the impeachment standard, Turley declared.
“Rather, he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol to express opposition to the certification of electoral votes and to support the challenges being made by some members of Congress. He expressly told his followers ‘to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.'”
Turley noted that such marches toward the Capitol are common, calling for rally/march is not a call for lawless action, that indeed tens of thousands were there demonstrating peacefully, that criminal actions were only taken by a smaller minority of people. Even the Capitol Police didn’t think there was much to be concerned about because Trump supporters traditionally hold peaceful events. Some of the Capitol Police even let some of the people into the building doubtless thinking that.
Of course, that isn’t what Democrats are saying. They are once again spinning Trump’s words to fit their narrative.
But further, Turley explained that this Democratic effort was damaging to the Constitution because it would “gut not only the impeachment standard but free speech, all in the mad rush to remove Trump just days before the end of his term.” It would create a harmful basis for impeachment based on rhetoric that wasn’t a crime, with Democrats even wanting to go after Trump despite him calling on people to be peaceful. Turley said this ‘standard’ would lead to something of a vicarious impeachment — inferring other people’s actions to the president to try to remove him. That isn’t what impeachment contemplates.
Turley said that Democrats didn’t really want to go down that path, that a variety of Democrats have made remarks in the past that could be interpreted as encouraging violence including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Kamala Harris.
The damage caused by this week’s rioting was enormous, but it will pale in comparison to the damage from a new precedent of a “snap impeachment” for speech protected under the First Amendment. It is the very danger that the Framers sought to avoid in crafting the impeachment standard. In a process meant to require deliberative, not impulsive, judgments, the very reference to a “snap impeachment” is a contradiction in constitutional terms. In this new system, guilt is not to be doubted and innocence is not to be deliberated. It would do to the Constitution what the rioters did to the Capitol: Leave it in tatters.
Turley’s right on the money. But Democrats don’t care about the Constitution, as they’ve shown for the past four years. It’s all about power and control. They’re afraid of Trump coming back in 2024 and they see this as an opportunity to foreclose that forever.