21 years have passed since the last appearance of constitutional law experts before the Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives to give their views on the case of the removal of an American president.
In 1998, several witnesses of constitutional law experts participated in investigations to try to isolate Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Two of these made statements in the case of removing Republican President Donald Trump during the investigation sessions of the judicial commission charged with preparing the indictment against the president.
Professor Michael Gerhardt at the University of North Carolina and Professor Jonathan Torley of George Washington University have made statements about the Trump isolation issue that are totally inconsistent with their positions adopted by the isolation of President Clinton.
Gerhardt defended President Clinton in 1998, and today he takes a firm stance calling for the need to isolate President Trump, while Torley called for the necessity of isolating Clinton in the past and today calls for refusal to isolate Trump. The two experts used the same method and argument, but in opposite directions.
Professor Gerhardt confirmed before the Judicial Committee that Trump's positions required his removal from office, while Torley expressed his certainty that Trump's violations had no legal basis to remove him.
In the Trump and Clinton cases, most constitutional law experts agree to commit violations that require the start of measures to remove the president, the most important of which are accusations of obstruction of justice and the exploitation of the political position for personal purposes and benefits.
The report of the House Intelligence Committee concluded that there is "tremendous evidence" of Trump's "misconduct" in two points, the first of which is linking his own interests and reserving military aid to Ukraine, in exchange for investigations opened in the interests of his campaign. The second point is related to his disability to justice.
The White House commented on these facts, saying that the "false" investigation report aimed at isolating Trump did not provide "any evidence" against the president.
The Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives with a Republican majority summoned 12 witnesses of constitutional law experts, and tried to prove that Clinton lied under oath regarding his sexual relationship with White House apprentice Monica Lewinsky.
Clinton was also accused of lying in connection with his relationship with another woman named Paula Jones, and violations in documents he submitted to investigating authorities, in addition to intimidation to prevent the appearance of witnesses before the investigation committees. Clinton was condemned by the Republican majority, with a majority.
Republicans and Democrats at the Judicial Committee agreed to summon constitutional expert Gerhart, who said at the time that, “To be pragmatic, there must be a direct relationship between the violation that requires the removal of the president and his official duties and job duties. The people's confidence in the official, and the abuse of power must be a direct political crime that calls for isolation. " According to Gerhart, there were no objective grounds for President Clinton's removal.
As for constitutional expert Turley, he said in his intervention before the Judicial Committee, "You must pay attention and alertness ... Your decision will determine the fate and future of the executive authority ... If you decide that some actions and violations do not require isolation, you will indirectly establish to strengthen the executive authority and contribute to its inflation, and you will have to live later with this." The new reality. "
|The content of Trump's call to his Ukrainian counterpart, leaked by detectives and now the subject of an investigation in Congress (Reuters)|
The Judicial Committee summoned four constitutional experts, three of whom demanded the removal of the president, while the fourth objected.
Professor Gerhardt stated that "the president's strong violations, including bribery and the demand for a personal interest from a foreign head of state in exchange for his powers, obstruction of justice and obstruction of Congress are worse than any accusations or violations committed by any of the former US presidents who have been subjected to accountability and isolation."
But Professor Trulli completely disagreed with him and saw that "if the House of Representatives continues to march towards isolation against the background of accusations related to Ukraine, this will be a direct message that the President can be dismissed after a very short investigation period and with weak and weak evidence available compared to what was done in previous cases of isolation." .
Clinton's impeachment process ended with a vote in the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998 on the indictment of its first clause relating to lies under oath. 228 members voted to condemn Clinton, while 205 others rejected him.
The second charge, which Clinton faced, related to his obstruction of justice, and 221 members voted in favor of the resolution in exchange for 212 objections.
The voting process then moved to the Senate to try the President, and sessions were presided over by the then Supreme Constitutional Court judge William Reinquist.
On February 12, 1999 the Senate voted against accusing the president by 55 votes to 45 on charges of lying, while 50 members voted to condemn Clinton by obstructing justice, 50 members rejected the conviction, and the president was not dismissed for the Senate's refusal.
In the case of Trump, the investigation sessions are still ongoing in the House of Representatives, and it is likely that the Senate will abort the isolation efforts because the Republicans own the majority in it.