Rob Natelson Responds to U.S. House Articles of Impeachment
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee presented Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Rob Natelson, Constitutional Fellow at the Independence Institute in Denver, spoke to KGVO News and provided his reaction to the articles of impeachment.
“It’s going to be very difficult for the House of Representatives to sustain this in the Senate,” began Natelson, a former law professor at the University of Montana. “There are two articles involved, and neither one alleges a crime, The Constitution requires the showing of either high crimes or high misdemeanors. Because there are no crimes here, the House will be trying to prove a breach of fiduciary duty, in this case what is called self dealing.”
Natelson describes what the President is accused of doing in his dealings with the Ukraine.
“The allegation is that President Trump tried to get the Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Presidential election to the damage of the United States and to the benefit of himself,” he said. “The problem is that they’re going to have to come up with a lot more proof than we’ve yet seen. By tradition, in the Senate, every charge has to be proven with what is called ‘clear and convincing evidence’. Secondly, they’re going to have to prove there was a ‘quid pro quo’ (or ‘this for that’), and there is no direct evidence of a ‘quid pro quo’.”
The second article of impeachment is what the House is calling contempt of Congress.
“That addresses the President’s refusal to honor certain subpoenas coming from the House of Representatives,” he said. “The House is taking the position that because we have the sole power of impeachment, then if we issue a subpoena then the President has to honor it. The President has taken the position that it’s really a matter for the courts. In other words, ‘I’m not going to open up the entire Executive Branch to investigations simply because you say it’s to investigate an impeachment. I think you’ve got a good faith legal dispute here, and I think the Senate will take the position that a good faith legal dispute is not something you impeach someone over.”
Natelson said he finds the Articles of Impeachment troubling in two ways.
“First, there’s a lack of evidence to support the articles,” he said. "The situation is also politically troubling. No crime has been alleged, and there are very arguable violations of duty and they do so very close to an election in circumstances where the country is already highly polarized. Secondly, I don’t think the players have enough real life legal experience to understand what they’re doing. For example, Gerald Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that based upon the evidence that a court would very quickly convict, however, since he has little to no real legal experience, I don’t know how he would know that.”
Natelson pointed out that many of the individuals involved in the impeachment process have very little real legal experience.
“There are a number of decision makers like that in the House who have lived in a Washington, D.C. bubble or in the bubbles of their highly partisan safe districts for too long,” he said. “I don’t think they’re fully prepared for what they’re going to face if they pursue this.”
Natelson is also the author of ‘The Original Constitution; what it Actually Said and Meant’, and is a regular contributor to the Epoch Times.