Law Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University testified on behalf of President Trump even though he prefaced his testimony with the fact that he voted for Hillary and doesn’t like President Trump. Turley claimed that there are no grounds to impeach Trump over and as far as abuse of power is concerned, it’s the Democrats abusing their power and not the president.
Turley took aim at the Democrat’s accusation of bribery, saying:
“You can’t accuse a president of bribery and then when some of us note that the Supreme Court has rejected your type of boundless interpretation say, ‘Well, it’s just impeachment. We really don’t have to prove the elements,’” Turley said. “If you are going to accuse a president of bribery, you need to make it stick because you are trying to remove a duly elected president of the United States.”
The Democrats accused President Trump of abusing his power but here is what Turley said:
“You are doing precisely what you are criticizing the president of doing.”
Turley argued that the narrow definition does not fit Trump’s alleged actions in the current controversy. Even if Trump sought to pressure Ukraine to open investigations by withholding military aid or offering a White House visit, this would not constitute bribery under common law definitions.
“President Trump can argue military and other aid is often used to influence other countries in taking domestic or international actions. It might be a vote in the United Nations or an anti-corruption investigation within a nation,” Turley said in his prepared remarks, adding that invitations to the White House are regularly used as bargaining trips and not something that is typically “gratuitously” given.
Trump’s alleged withholding of aid or a White House invitation also did not fit modern definitions of bribery, which require proof of corrupt intent and the formal exercise of an important public function akin to an agency ruling. Neither withholding a White House invitation nor temporarily delaying, within statutory limits, military aid meets the criteria of a formal exercise of government power and the House’s evidence is insufficient to support the allegations of corrupt intent, Turley argued.