As Republicans scramble to argue that they don’t need to call witnesses in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, one argument seems to be gaining traction: that witnesses are irrelevant, because even if Trump did everything he’s accused of doing, abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.
This argument isn’t merely wrong. It is the single most dangerous argument that any of Trump’s defenders have made during the entire impeachment process. If abuse of power isn’t impeachable, what is?
The strongest version of this argument has been made by Alan Dershowitz, who has insisted that the Constitution’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” include only crimes found in the statute books, not abuse of power.
That’s obviously wrong. In 1725, in a case the framers knew, Thomas, Earl of Macclesfield, was impeached by the British House of Commons specifically for “Abuse of his Power” and “great Abuse of his Authority.” The House of Lords convicted him for it. [Continue reading…]