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Harvard Constitutional Law Scholar: It’s Clear Trump Committed a ‘Multitude of High Crimes and Misdemeanors’


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One of President Donald Trump’s most renowned (and bluntest) critics in the legal world has penned an op-ed amid the ongoing clamor over Trump’s Ukraine phone call, saying there’s no question the president has “committed a multitude of high crimes and misdemeanors, all of them impeachable.”

Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Laurence Tribe, 77, wrote in USA Today that one doesn’t even need to consider the “many prior offenses that were surfaced in the Mueller report” — the five-page memo that the White House put out on Wednesday was “utterly devastating”:

The “high crimes and misdemeanors” that the readout reveals — to use the Constitution’s term for impeachable offenses beyond “treason” and “bribery” (both of which the readout comes close to establishing) — begin with Trump abusing the foreign policy powers entrusted to the president by Article II in order to serve his own political interests rather than the interests of the American people.

Tribe wrote that the phone call revealed that Trump had “subtly interposed” a “plainly unconstitutional condition” for Ukraine to receive military aid, namely that they help “advance [his] political ambitions” by digging up dirt on a political opponent. In Tribe’s opinion, Trump also violated campaign finance law in soliciting said dirt from of a foreign power, and dragged Attorney General William Barr into it so he could “work with Trump’s own consigliere, Rudy Giuliani.”

The Harvard law professor said he doesn’t need to learn anything new from the announced impeachment inquiry because “we already know enough” to say Trump committed impeachable offenses.

Tribe often uses his official Twitter account to criticize the president (and certain Republican lawmakers and top officials) in no uncertain terms. This time he took to the op-ed pages of USA Today. Recently, Tribe called Trump a  fuxxxng racist” who “wants to reverse the outcome of the Civil War.” Tribe made that remark after Trump said he was “seriously” looking into ending birthright citizenship.

Earlier on Wednesday, Tribe said the “devastating” phone call memo sounded like how “mob bosses talk”; he focused on the part of the call where Trump said “I would like you to do us a favor, though.”

“This was EXACTLY my take: DEVASTATING — especially with Trump’s use of the word ‘THOUGH’ to link the military aid Zelensky requests of the US to the help against Biden Trump asks of Zelensky. This is how mob bosses talk,” Tribe said. “It’s a slam dunk, though expect Trump to say it clears him.”

In a separate tweet, Tribe said the memo showed both a quid and a quo. He insisted these were “damningly linked by the president’s use of the word ‘THOUGH.’”

[Image via Fox 10 Phoenix screenshot]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.