Politics

Law Professor Says Trump Could Be Facing Impeachment

| by Jonathan Constante

A Harvard University professor of constitutional and international law says President Donald Trump should be facing impeachment for his accusations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones during the 2016 election.

In his latest piece, Bloomberg View columnist Noah Feldman makes the argument that Trump "distorted democracy" with his baseless accusation against Obama, and therefore should be facing impeachment.

"If the alleged action would be impeachable if true, so must be the allegation if false," Feldman, former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, wrote. "Anything else would give the president the power to distort democracy by calling his opponents criminals without ever having to prove it."

Feldman is referring to Trump's latest Twitter tirade on March 4, in which the sitting president accused the previous president of wiretapping his phones during the 2016 election.

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"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" Trump tweeted, providing no source for the information.

"Is it legal for a sitting President to be 'wire tapping' a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!" the president continued. "I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

"How low has President Obama gone to [tap] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"

Feldman argues that Trump's tweets are not protected by the First Amendment because his remarks could very well be classified as "false and defamatory speech," assuming the allegations are not true.

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"And an allegation of potentially criminal misconduct made without evidence is itself a form of serious misconduct by the government official who makes it," Feldman writes.

He further said in his piece: "The basic premise of the First Amendment is that truth should defeat her opposite number. 'Let her and Falsehood grapple,' wrote the poet and politician John Milton, 'who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?"

Feldman also stated that government allegations of criminal activity should be followed by proof and prosecution.

"Shadowy dictatorships can do that because there is no need for proof," he explained. "Democracies can't."

"Thus, an accusation by a president isn't like an accusation leveled by one private citizen against another. It's about more than factual truth or carelessness."

"The answer is that the constitutional remedy for presidential misconduct is impeachment," Feldman wrote.

Sources: Bloomberg, Donald J. Trump/Twitter (2, 3) / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Twitter

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