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Jonathan Turley Throws Cold Water on Impeachment: “Designed to Fail”

Jonathan Turley Throws Cold Water on Impeachment: “Designed to Fail”

“certainly the thinnest evidentiary record, and it’s the narrowest impeachment ever to go to the Senate”

Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University recently appeared on CBS This Morning to offer legal analysis of the Democrat impeachment inquiry. His take on the situation will not please the left.

As Kyle Drennen of Newsbusters notes, the CBS hosts seemed disappointed:

Turley Tells Disappointed CBS Hosts: Impeachment ‘Designed to Fail’

Appearing on Friday’s CBS This Morning, legal analyst and constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley completely shattered the hopes of Democrats and the liberal media that President Trump would be successfully impeached and removed from office. He trashed the proceedings for presenting “the thinnest evidentiary record” and declared the effort was “designed to fail.”

After fellow CBS News legal analyst and anti-Trump Bulwark writer Kim Wehle assured the morning show anchors that Democrats “absolutely” made the case for impeachment, co-host Gayle King turned to Turley and wondered: “Jonathan, do you feel the same?” Turley threw a wet blanket on the discussion: “I’m afraid I don’t.”

Turley didn’t mince words:

The fact is I think that this is the – well certainly the shortest investigation, it’s certainly the thinnest evidentiary record, and it’s the narrowest impeachment ever to go to the Senate, if they were to go on this record….did they prove something was contemptible or impeachable? Contemptible is not synonymous with impeachable. The President does set policy. They have three conversations, two of them directly, one with Senator Johnson, one with Ambassador Sondland, where Trump denies a quid pro quo….so you have a conflicted record. And the question is what do you need to remove a sitting president?…

Whether this is intentional or not, it seems designed to fail in the Senate.

Watch the key exchange below:

Here is the expanded segment, if you want to watch the whole thing:

Isn’t it telling that when CBS This Morning has a conservative guest on, it’s someone from the anti-Trump publication, The Bulwark, and that Professor Turley, who is liberal politically, offered a more honest estimation?

This is not the first time Turley has called out the Democrats over the impeachment inquiry.

He recently wrote at The Hill:

Democrats seek to redefine crimes to reframe the Trump impeachment

After weeks of hearings, Democrats are discovering a simple truth about impeachment. You do not need a crime, but you need clarity, to remove a sitting president. Faced with a country still divided right down the middle on impeaching President Trump, Democrats have reframed an alleged abuse of power as actual crimes of bribery, extortion, and obstruction. These allegations are based on the same spurious interpretations used during the Russia investigation to claim clear proven crimes.

Those “clear established crimes” are absent in this impeachment. Instead, the same experts and House members now claim three new crimes with equal certainty, but even less support under case law. If Democrats continue on this course, it will combine the narrowest impeachment in history with the most dubious claims of criminal conduct.

Read the whole thing.

Featured image via YouTube.


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SeekingRationalThought | November 24, 2019 at 10:10 am

At the moment, Professor Turley is the only thing giving me hope that the George Washington law school, my law school, has any intellectual future.

“ CBS This Morning has a conservative guest on, it’s someone from the anti-Trump publication, The Bulwark”

The Bullcrap is not a conservative site.

It is a liberal-funded anti-trump site designed to con people on the right to appear right-leaning but push people left and away from Trump – the donor dollars call the tune.

It is also a con to line the pockets of the founders as they pocket some rich donor dollars to keep their game going while they can still pretend to influence.

So, a lot of “cons” going on here, but nothing conservative.

They have three conversations, two of them directly, one with Senator Johnson, one with Ambassador Sondland, where Trump denies a quid pro quo….so you have a conflicted record.

Sure, because everyone knows that denying you committed a crime after getting caught is a get-out-of-jail free card.

    clintack in reply to Zachriel. | November 24, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Um. This was the conversation where Sonderland was asking the President what he wanted from the Ukrainians *before* the fact.

    Ordering people not to commit a crime is a pretty good defense against the “presumption” that you must have intended them to commit it, especially when all you’re charged with is attempting to get them to do it.

    You know how bad the commie progs are losing?

    Bad enough that they resort to paying min wage Zach to show up.

    Yep, it’s that bad.

    clintack: This was the conversation where Sonderland was asking the President what he wanted from the Ukrainians *before* the fact.

    The date of the Trump-Sondland phone call was September 9, the same date the inspector general *belatedly* informed Congress of the whistleblower complaint.

    Gee whiz. Who uses the term quid pro quo in a conversation — other than someone denying the quid pro quo in which they engaged?

      labrat in reply to Zachriel. | November 24, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      By that same token. Taylor’s text to Sondland that prompted the “no quid pro quo” occurred after a Schiff staffer went to Ukraine and met with him.

    ConradCA in reply to Zachriel. | November 24, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    The fact is that even if Trump wanted to investigate Biden for corruption and forced Ukraine to cooperate with the investigation that’s legal exercise of presidential powers, not a crime. Biden doesn’t get a free pass for corruption because he’s running for president. His actions in getting his unemployable drug addict son a highly paid no show job with Burisma and forcing Ukraine to fire a prosecutor that was investigating Burisma sure appears to be corruption. It cries out for investigation and likely prosecution.

      ConradCA: The fact is that even if Trump wanted to investigate Biden for corruption and forced Ukraine to cooperate with the investigation that’s legal exercise of presidential powers, not a crime.

      Not if it is for a corrupt purpose. Furthermore, Trump wasn’t asking for cooperation, but a public announcement of an investigation of a U.S. citizen by Ukraine (and by China!)

      ConradCA: Biden doesn’t get a free pass for corruption because he’s running for president.

      No, but there is no evidence of a crime by the Bidens.

      ConradCA: His actions in getting his unemployable drug addict son a highly paid no show job with Burisma and forcing Ukraine to fire a prosecutor that was investigating Burisma sure appears to be corruption.

      Biden’s actions with regards to the dismissal of Shokin was in furtherance of U.S. policy, consistent with E.U. concerns, and with bipartisan support in Congress. Shokin was slow-walking investigations, so replacing him increased the chances that Burisma would be investigated for alleged corruption.

      ConradCA: It cries out for investigation and likely prosecution.

      There is no evidence of a crime by the Bidens.

Could he just be setting up take-down of Schiff & Pelosi? CBS would have known what Turley was going to say before they would put him on the air. It is their job to deliver the narrative. If I hear any truth on CBS, I suspect I am getting setup for theater.

    Maybe the House Dems don’t want to risk the possibility of the Senate NOT rejecting their case? You have McConnell stating that the Senate is constitutionally OBLIGATED to have a trial if the House votes to impeach. Then you have Graham stating that the Senate will REJECT the case as it stands (at that time). And we have Trump stating that he WANTS a trial and specifying his first witnesses will be Hunter Biden, Schiff and Ciaramella. Not exactly a united Republican message.

    I still expect Pelosi to pull the plug with no floor vote taken. If it does go through, I expect a trial with McConnell squelching attempts to introduce Trump’s planned witnesses and a 50/50 chance the Republicans vote to convict Trump. Yes, I am THAT cynical.

    In my entire life, the Republicans have never failed to deliver victory to the Democrats, especially when they are in control. Being equal partners and fully invested with the Democrats in the Swamp kabuki theatre, they hate Trump as much as the Democrats. Trump is THE existential threat to the Swamp, not only to the Democrats. So get ready for it. Leopards never change their spots.

      Pasadena Phil: You have McConnell stating that the Senate is constitutionally OBLIGATED to have a trial if the House votes to impeach.

      That is not quite correct. McConnell didn’t point to the Constitution, but to Senate rules.

      “Yes, I am THAT cynical.”

      1. Just remember, both McConnell and Graham are up for reelection in 2020, in states that were overwhelmingly Trump victories.

      2. The Trump voting citizens of those states have increased.

      3. They are all paying attention.

      4. McConnell and Graham value being senators above all else.

      They’ll do whatever it takes to get reelected and that requires a senate trial fair to the president. And that will require calling the whistleleaker of false data and the guidance comrade Schiff.

      Also called will be Joe and junior Biden.

      The whistleleaker will be given unqualified immunity – he will be required to answer the questions. He will be called after Schiff who will have no immunity.

      What will bullSchiff do?

      Lie – go to jail
      Lead the 5th – show over
      Tell the truth – don’t make me laugh

        You really need to grasp the enormity of what is at stake here. McConnell and Graham may be locks for re-election but I am sure they are willing to take big risks to protect the Uniparty franchise if necessary.

        Keep in mind that the Senate is a check on the House while both are checks on the President. Pelosi has to decide whether to call the vote while considering 3 possible options for the Senate. Pelosi controls the House.

        But McConnell controls the Senate. And I am convinced that they have cut a deal so Trump and Graham can say whatever they want. McConnell decides.

        So it comes down to whether Pelosi trusts McConnell to make good on his end of the deal because I am confident they didn’t agree to sell out the Uniparty.

        I agree with your next comment below, Pelosi pulls the plug. She won’t risk it.

          Tom Servo in reply to Pasadena Phil. | November 24, 2019 at 2:20 pm

          If Pelosi and the other House Dems were sane and rational, they absolutely would pull the plug. But that’s what makes this so hard to predict. We’re not estimating whether or not they have have a chance, we’re trying to estimate whether or not they have any shreds of sanity left. That’s a tough bet.

          I have an absolute grasp on the enormity of impeaching a president.

          “McConnell and Graham may be locks for re-election…”

          I assume that is a mistake, if they were locks then my argument would be wrong.

          Unless they are corrupt and this trial will expose them, they will not jeopardize their reelection. Kentucky was 30+ for Trump. SC was +14 for Trump.

          I don’t think it will happen, but if it does they will either give Trump a fair trial or President Trump will make sure McConnell and Graham lose, and they know it.

          The truth is that if the Republican Party convicts Trump it will cease to exist. The Republican voters will refuse to accept this and might take up arms against the Democrats and traitorous Republicans. Millions of armed and angry citizens could do a lot of damage.

      RandomCrank in reply to Pasadena Phil. | November 24, 2019 at 6:29 pm

      I fully agree that either party is capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but I have a really hard time imagining that the Senate Rs will vote for impeachment. Maybe Collins, to save her skin in Maine, but that’s about all.

The Friendly Grizzly | November 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Here’s a question: if the Senate Republicans vote with the Democrats and remove Trump, who will the Republicans nominate next year? I can’t see it being Pence.

    If Trump can’t run again as a Republican and I’m not sure he can’t, why not independent? If he can’t run at all, he would certainly be the biggest endorsement of all time. Maybe he could endorse Pence or Cruz to run independent?

    Convicting Trump would really throw a very big wrench in the machine. Let’s hope our constitution can survive this. Ultimately, WE will have to enforce it one way or another. Or we will lose it.

    No answer needed, never happen.

    I doubt the house even votes to impeach.

There are obviously many thoughts on how best to handle this Schiff Show charade.
I think that despite there being no real evidence as had been admitted to even by the hearsay testimony, should they proceed with the vote in the House the Senate needs to do their trial. Without a trial the left will claim it was just partisan action on the part of the Senate.
Trump wanting a trial is to bring out the real criminal acts pushed by Schiff face and Pelosi. McConnell needs to allow for Biden (both father and son), Schiff and the “unknown” whistle blower at the very least.
The whistle blower, who is not a whistle blower’s attorney needs to be called as well to testify about the tweets he made 10 or so after Trump was inaugurated.
Bringing it to trial carries risk, as I don’t trust the Romney faction in the Senate, but it has the greater potential to blow up far more for the leftists, exposing them as extremists who refuse to accept the results of the election.
It isn’t a legitimate impeachment, so show it for what it truly is so even low information voters can see it.
Biden would be done, though I doubt he has a chance, Schiff would be disgraced for the true sham artist he is. Ciaramella will be seen as the CIA operative who worked with Biden and Obama.
Call Pelosi and Schiff’s bluff. She will lose her Speaker position, Schiff would not keep his position in intelligence either.
You expose shams by shining the light on them. They asked for this, let them have it, … let them have it with both barrels.

Impeaching Trump would be a disaster for Democrats. I think that finally dawned on them when Trump said he wanted to have a trial. A trial would prevent the media from playing games as the whole country would watch the trial and see for themselves the Democrat case collapse.

It’s still a massive victory for Trump if the Democrats don’t impeach him. He will beat them with that stick all the way to 2020.

Even if they censure him he still wins. He can go out and say, “The Democrats had no case but they couldn’t admit it so they tried to save face by censuring me. The censure is garbage. It’s them admitting they had nothing!”

I wonder if Nancy Pelosi is having dreams of shooting Schiff and the far left in the Congress for putting her in this position? She has to know that not only is not impeaching Trump increasing his chances of winning 2020 but also costing the Democrats the House in 2020. Maybe even a couple more Senate seats. And even state level offices as well.

    “A trial would prevent the media from playing games as the whole country would watch the trial and see for themselves the Democrat case collapse.”

    Apparently old zombies are smarter than most. The democrats have lost control of this.

    Trump just needs to wait and brand a house censure as a badge of honor.

      TheOldZombie in reply to Barry. | November 24, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      It’s like the Trayvon Martin – Zimmerman trial. Remember how before the trial the media was making up all sorts of shenanigans for the public. Things like showing incorrect pictures of Zimmerman and Martin. Like editing Zimmerman’s 911 call. Covering up Zimmerman’s injuries. Making up BS evidence claims about what happened.

      However once it got to trial and the public was watching the trial all of the real evidence came out and the media couldn’t play games anymore. People could see the states case was garbage and by the end of the trial people understood that Zimmerman was not guilty. Even if they didn’t like him they understood he was not guilty.

      I think that having the trial on TV actually helped lower tensions because the public at large got to see the trial like the jury did. Imagine if the trial was behind closed doors and a not guilty verdict had popped up. I think we may have had protests and even riots across the country.

      I don’t want Trump being impeached but it may be the only way to expose the Democrats without the media being able to run cover for them. I’m not talking about Trump’s supporters. I’m talking about getting to those independents who are waffling. Exposing the Democrats for what they are will help Trump.

Come January 2021, when the House has flipped back and Trump has been re-elected, I hope the Republicans have learned from the Dem antics these last 3 years, like they learned from Reid who triggered the “nuclear option”, to IMPEACH OBAMA after the fact. Also, to vigorously prosecute every single Dem who plotted this sedition and treason. Without mercy. After all, they’d only be forcing Dems to take their own medicine. They didn’t listen or learn from Reid’s blunder. They won’t learn from this.

The Senate trial will be an actual trial. Hearsay, second, third and fourth-hand information, along with opinions will not be allowed you can be certain. As the Dems bring these same witnesses, Trump’s attorneys will consistently object and hear the word sustained. This will leave nothing in evidence. The Republicans will then unleash a barrage of questions that will trash everything they said in the House Clown Show.
The Republicans will then start with Hunter Biden, Schiff’s staff, the infamous “Whistle Blower” along with all the evidence that Schiff went so far out of his way to keep in the dark.
Expect the 5th Amendment to be mentioned as much as the words objection and sustained were in the first volley.
The timing too will be critically bad for the Dems. The Senators will be required to attend and the process will be dragged well into February forcing 6 Dem candidates to stay in Washington instead of politicking through 5 or 6 primaries.
Pelosi has to be drafting her concession speech right now, knowing that this will be devastating for her team. Expect it to claim that she’s not bringing it to the floor for the “good of the country”. She’ll claim, like Wehle did, that they have conducted the hearings fairly and in good faith and they have proved without a shadow of a doubt that Trump is guilty as sin. She’ll talk about how they are constitution supporting patriots and they believe in the ability of the voters to make the final decision at the ballot box in November. While Chairman Schiff has been fair and even-handed, she will claim that the Senate Republicans are so evil and partisan, that there is no way that they will be representing the will of the people only their own partisan interests.

Soon to come leftist/DNC talking points (wait for it):

“You’ve seen what Trump’s done to us these past three years; causing us to have investigation after investigation! Do you really want that for the country for the next four?!”

    This is definitely a factor in Dem reasoning (such as it is). They’ll claim they are forced by their patriotism (or whatever the latest term that polls well) to pursue false allegations against Trump, and like the abusive spouse will claim voters made them do it if he wins a second term.

    It’s not a stupid move by Dems. Normal Americans who are not plugged in to politics as we all are just want normalcy, with none of this crazy clown show nonsense. That desire may be strong enough for a Democrat to win in 2020 . . . it’s the “I just want to keep the peace vote,” and they are out there by the millions. They won’t see it as “caving” or as appeasement; they don’t care about that. They just want the government to run and to do its job with as little costly, disruptive drama as possible. If they think Dems’ anti-Trump antics will impede that post-2020 . . . .

    Dems are not stupid, and they figure that if they can convince enough indies that the next four will be like the past three, they’ll either stay home or vote for a return to what passes for functional government (i.e. Republicans doing whatever Dems want as often as possible while chastising their own base for expecting more). The fact that Democrats are effectively blaming voters for electing Trump and “forcing” them to engage in endless coup attempts is lost on these voters, or if not lost then not a factor because they’ll see getting rid of Trump a solution (it’s not, of course, this would be happening to a President Cruz or Rubio, et al., too).

      RandomCrank in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | November 24, 2019 at 7:13 pm

      I can’t agree with that. Given the polarization and the dud “bombshells,” I think the best the Ds can hope for is that impeachment will be a net neutral. Much more likely, IMO, is that it might add 2 or 3 points (but no more than that) to what will otherwise be a narrow, economy-driven Trump victory margin.

      There’ll be more polling soon enough, but early indications seem to be that impeachment is not playing well among what’s left of the truly independent vote. If the Ds then promise heightened political mayhem if they fail to get their way, I really have a hard time thinking that it will cause even the vaunted “low information voter” to rally to their side.

He is right, but that isn’t the point.
The objective is to drag this process all the way into the Election.
And they are going to do it.

Whether or not I’ve agreed with him, I’ve appreciated Turley’s integrity. This is not the first time he’s gone off the “progressive” reservation during Trump’s term. He might or might not despise Trump, but from what I’ve observed, Turley is one of the few talking heads who sticks to his principles and applies them equally to both sides.

I have seen him as a kindred spirit in that regard. I can’t vote for Trump because of my serious reservations about his character and temperament, but I’ve been able to support him on various policies and actions all while having cast a write-in vote in ’16 and intending to do the same next year.

If you don’t apply principles across the board, then they are not principles but merely talking points. People are allowed to change their minds, as I’ve done myself on some issues over the years, but basic standards of fact, logic, analysis, and judgment should remain fixed.

Like anyone else, Turley is entitled to his opinions and his liberalism if that’s what it is, but even if I don’t necessarily agree with him at times, I salute his integrity, which is all too rare of political commentators these days.

By the way, I don’t think impeachment will be a “disaster for the Democrats,” but I do think it has the potential to add 2 or 3 points to Trump’s victory margin next year and turn a narrow contest into a fairly comfortable win.

I’ve already figured on a 3- to 4-point margin for Trump on the basis of the economy, but impeachment could turn that into 5 to 7 points. And the D disarray on the candidate selection side could turn into another few couple percentage points.

Maybe that’s a “disaster,” but only time and events will tell. In any case, I don’t see how the Ds can avoid impeachment now. The minute Pelosi and the Judiciary Committee allowed Schiff to set the table, I think the result in the House was pre-ordained.

This entire exercise originated with the Fake News and the Democratic Party gabbling amongst themselves.

The pearl-clutching self-styled “experts” had been listening to all the awful stuff that the Democrats were saying Donald Trump was going to do, and they bought it, and talked about it amongst themselves, convincing themselves that something nefarious must be happening.

Meanwhile, DJT was proceeding in a rational fashion to figure out whether the new guy in Ukraine was the real deal, questioning expenditures, and ultimately being more generous, and more effective, than the previous administration.

These bureaucrats each admitted that they liked what DJT did more than they liked what Obama did.

For most of the country, actions speak louder than words.

    RandomCrank in reply to Valerie. | November 24, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Could it be any clearer that Trump’s high crime and misdemeanor was winning the 2016 election? Even though I cast a write-in vote last time and will do so again next time, I will admit to feeling no small amount of schendfreude on the last election night, and expect to laugh even harder next year.

    I wish all of it was on behalf of a R president-elect and re-elect whose character and temperament would make it possible for me to support him, but I’ve always been a big believer in political justice even when my candidate lost. The Democrats richly deserved what they got last time, and will be even more deserving of the ass-kicking I expect them to get next year.

      “character and temperament”

      Another “con” that doesn’t know what true character is and confuses it with being a character.

      Democrats pathetic little helper.

People all this fuss and fumes about the Bidens is a smoke screen to get us off track from the real question and issue and that is Crowdstrike which is the basis of the whole business of Russian interference in the election of 2016. That is what the magician does not want you to notice in his left hand while you are focused on his right hand.