Harvard Law Professor Warns GOP Senators: Call Witnesses Or Face 'Dictatorship'
Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe warned the Senate on Tuesday that failure to call new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial risks trading in American democracy for a “dictatorship,” according to HuffPost.
Republicans have largely insisted that no new witnesses should be allowed, though recent reports indicate that stance is softening among a handful of GOP senators in light of revelations from former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book.
In “The Room Where It Happened,” Bolton “writes Trump tied military aid for Ukraine to its announcement of a probe into Joe Biden,” HuffPost noted, effectively confirming Democrats’ impeachment case.
Tribe told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell that calling on Bolton to testify is the only way to hold a fair trial, arguing that anything less would set a “terrible” precedent for the country.
He added that if senators block new witness testimony, they will be “leaving a message to future generations, to future presidents, that any way they want to abuse the power of their office is just fine because Trump got away with it since the ultimate ruling was, ‘so what? It doesn’t matter.’”
“You will harm not only the country today, but you will leave a lesson for future presidents that will be terrible to the Republic,” Tribe warned Republicans. “It will not be a constitutional democracy but it will be a dictatorship.”
Tribe also said that Trump impeachment lawyer Alan Dershowitz’s defense is “remarkably absurd and extreme and dangerous.”
“Namely, it doesn’t matter if a president uses the vast powers of his office to shake down an ally and help an adversary in order to get dirt on an enemy and corrupt an election,” he said, summing up the attorney’s argument.
Tribe went on to urge Republican senators to five the evidence a fair hearing: “So I implore you, if you are inclined to vote to acquit this president, don’t do it on the ridiculous basis that abuse of power, because it’s not a statutory crime and is rather open-ended, is not a basis to remove. Don’t do it on that basis. Do it perhaps on the basis that after you’ve heard John Bolton and looked at the evidence, you’re just not convinced.”