By Ian Krietzberg
With the conclusion of the first of many public impeachment hearings from Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent on Nov. 13, multiple members of Congress have said that President Donald Trump might already be facing impeachable offenses, according to NPR.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, described the alleged bribery in the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “‘simple, straightforward act,’” claiming that the president had broken the law, according to ABC News.
“‘The Constitution is very clear — treason, bribery or acts of omission,’” Speier told ABC News. “‘And in this case it’s clearly one of those.’”
Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that there is a clear argument that the president committed acts of bribery, as well as high crimes and misdemeanors, both of which are subject to impeachment. According to NPR, Schiff said he believes that witnesses privately testified in front of the HIC about the alleged bribery.
Yet, even as the Democratic House members continue to marshal their argument, the president’s Republican colleagues largely remain staunch in their defense of him, with Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, describing the inquiry as a “‘one-sided partisan approach,’” according to ABC News.
“Schiff is giving Republicans NO WITNESSES, NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS!” Trump tweeted two days before the hearing. “It is a totally one sided Witch Hunt. This can’t be making the Democrats look good. Such a farce!”
In a separate tweet on the same day, the president accused Schiff of fabricating the July 25 phone call with Ukraine, and predicted he would fabricate the hearing’s transcripts as well.
But despite these accusations that the president’s rights are not being upheld, legal experts maintain that they are. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Constitution includes no protections for the president during an impeachment inquiry. Since Trump has not been charged with a crime, he is not legally granted due process rights.