Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, spent more time talking about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in his opening statement than the other experts who focus on the Ukraine matter.
“When we apply our constitutional law to the facts found in the Mueller report and other public sources, I cannot help but conclude that this president has attacked each of the Constitution’s safeguards against establishing a monarchy in this country,” he said.
“The Mueller Report found at least five instances of the President’s obstruction of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the President’s campaign and Russia,” Gerhardt added.
And while Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, will focus on the fact that the Democrats are not waiting for the courts to rule on whether key members can testify, Gerhardt put the onus on the President who has argued he is “entitled to order everyone within the executive branch not to cooperate with and to refuse compliance with lawful directives of this Congress.”
And Gerhardt referred to the argument made by the President’s personal lawyers who have said that he is “entitled” to “absolute immunity” from any criminal wrongdoing, including “shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.”
He accused the President of trying to “stymy this House’s impeachment inquiry.”
In contrast to Turley, he said he sees Trump’s transgressions as equal if not worse than Nixon’s: “Even President Nixon agreed to share information with Congress, ordered his subordinates to comply with subpoenas to testify and produce documents (with some limited exceptions), and to send his lawyers to ask questions in the House’s impeachment hearings.”
He also had a warning for Congress: “If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning, and, along with that, our Constitution’s carefully crafted safeguards against the establishment of a king on American soil. No one, not even the president, is beyond the reach of our Constitution and our laws.”