Laurence Tribe: Democrats Should Focus On Simple Story In Making Their Impeachment Case

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The Capitol is seen at dawn on the morning after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution to affirm the impeachment investigation, (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
The Capitol is seen at dawn on the morning after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the U.S. House will vote on a resolution to affirm the impeachment investigation, (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution that formalizes the impeachment probe against President Trump.

The resolution outlines the next steps of the inquiry, authorizing the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to conduct open hearings and the president and his attorneys to cross-examine witnesses.

In a statement, the White House press secretary said, in part: "With today’s vote, Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and the Democrats have done nothing more than enshrine unacceptable violations of due process into House rules."

For a discussion of the significance of the resolution, Harvard law professor and constitutional expert Laurence Tribe, who's long called for Trump's impeachment, joined WBUR's Morning Edition.

Interview Highlights

On Republicans' complaints about the impeachment process so far:

"There's simply nothing to all of their process complaints. [House Republicans have] taken part in these closed hearings. The hearings are about to be opened to the public. And I've sort of checked very carefully to make sure that all of the rights that Richard Nixon and William Clinton were accorded are certainly accorded to Donald Trump. So there's nothing to the process complaints. But clearly, they have no answer on the substance. And so they're complaining about the process."

On how Pelosi has handled the inquiry so far:

"I'm entirely pleased with the way that Nancy Pelosi has proceeded. She waited perhaps even longer than I thought was necessary before affirmatively authorizing the committees to start an impeachment inquiry. And now she's clearly proceeded in a way that has produced not just a smoking gun, but smoking missiles that should have been delivered to Ukraine, but were withheld for the president's personal benefit. And now the stage is set for fully informing the public of how this president has abused his power, betrayed his oath, and corrupted the forthcoming 2020 election."

On what he thinks Democrats should focus on as they make their case:

"I think they will be tempted to throw the kitchen sink at him. But in the end, I think I would recognize that a simpler story is by far more effective. There'll be time to investigate everything else after a basic impeachment article is voted in. That article should focus on abuse of power through shaking down the Ukraine for his own benefit and then trying to cover it up."

This article was originally published on October 31, 2019.

This segment aired on October 31, 2019.


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