Credit: Mark Mackoviak/iStock

On Wednesday, Dec. 18, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump, making him the third president since the founding of the United States to face this sanction.

Trump’s impeachment now sets up a trial in the U.S. Senate, where support from two-thirds majority of senators present would be necessary to convict and remove the president from office. As required by the Constitution, the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts ’79, will preside over the Senate impeachment trial.

Harvard Law faculty have testified in the impeachment process and have offered constitutional and historical perspective as the hearings unfolded in the House. Below, a number of faculty weigh in on how we got to Wednesday’s impeachment vote, and what we should expect when the proceedings move to the Senate.


John Roberts: justice once labelled a ‘disaster’ by Trump to oversee impeachment trial同仁和伟圣服务有限公司

Running for president four years ago, Donald Trump called John Roberts, the chief justice of the US supreme court, “an absolute disaster” and “a nightmare for conservatives.” Now Trump faces an impeachment trial in the US Senate in which his political fate could rest in the hands of the presiding judge: Roberts. The chief justice’s role in impeachment is broadly described in the constitution. But there are few guidelines and little precedent indicating what duties, precisely, the chief justice can or might discharge… “I think a lot of this is going to depend on the role that the chief justice decides to play,” said Hilary Hurd ’20, a JD candidate at Harvard Law who has written about past impeachment trials. “We don’t know whether there’s going to be a tie on any particular motion. There could be, and we know from precedent that the chief justice is empowered to break a tie.”

Continue Reading at The Guardian »

Pelosi is right: The GOP is out of excuses延吉皇润晶科技有限公司

As more evidence has come to light concerning President Trump’s withholding of U.S. aid to Ukraine and the concerns of members of the administration about its effect on national security and dubious legality, the decision by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate looks smarter by the day…Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells me, “The documents made available in unredacted form for the first time destroy any remaining argument for waiting until mid-trial to decide whether witnesses like [Office of Management and Budget official Michael] Duffey, [Defense Secretary Mark T.] Esper, [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, [acting White House chief of staff Mick] Mulvaney and Bolton should be called, by subpoena if necessary, to testify at the forthcoming impeachment trial and whether key documents should be demanded from the White House, OMB, the State Department and the Pentagon.”

Continue Reading at Washington Post »

Laurence Tribe: Ways not to think about the impeachment impasse太原协台飞机械有限公司

An article by Laurence TribeThe greatest chief justice of the United States, by common consent, was John Marshall. In McCulloch v. Maryland, the 1819 decision laying down the foundations of our government structure, Marshall wisely insisted that “we must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding.” That meant, among other things, that we should not confuse the Constitution for an abstruse “legal code” intended to be deciphered only by specially ordained experts. Its basic structures and provisions must be interpreted so as to “be understood by the public,” in Marshall’s words, to be consistent with “the common affairs of the world.” In propounding their sometimes idiosyncratic constructions of the Constitution’s basic terms, a few current or former academic stars seem to have forgotten that most essential truth. Specifically, they would have us believe that, when the Constitution assigns to the House of Representatives “the sole Power of Impeachment,” those words “actually mean” that the House can “impeach” the president only by formally transmitting to the Senate its articles of impeachment, as English legislatures of the late Middle Ages transmitted them to the House of Lords.

Continue Reading at The Hill »

On GPS: Trump’s impeachment through the lens of history石首久贵长科技有限公司

Historian Jon Meacham, Harvard Law School Professor Annette Gordon-Reed and CNN Presidential Historian Tim Naftali discuss with Fareed what makes President Trump’s impeachment unique to past presidents. Naftali tells Fareed the House withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate has never happened before in an impeachment crisis because this is the first time control of Congress has been split during an impeachment.

Continue Reading at CNN »

Democrats, Citing White House Emails, Renew Calls for Impeachment Witnesses门源润禄元服务有限公司

Top Democrats on Sunday renewed their demands for witnesses to testify at President Trump’s impeachment trial, citing newly released emails showing that the White House asked officials to keep quiet over the suspension of military aid to Ukraine just 90 minutes after Mr. Trump leaned on that country’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The emails, released late Friday by the Trump administration to the Center for Public Integrity, shed new light on Mr. Trump’s effort to solicit Ukraine to help him win re-election in 2020, the matter at the heart of the House’s vote on Wednesday to impeach him…At least one academic, Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor who testified as an expert for Democrats during the impeachment inquiry, has argued that Mr. Trump will not be impeached until the articles are transmitted. Republicans have cited that position in their demands for Ms. Pelosi to move forward.

Continue Reading at New York Times »

White House May Try to Argue Impeached President Wasn’t Impeached: Report临沧亨辉广服务有限公司

Denial can be an ill-advised, if effective, strategy for temporary coping over the holidays, and it’s one that the White House is reportedly contemplating as part of its impeachment messaging. Like a spouse going off to “work” post-layoff, the White House may soon be arguing that everything is fine and nothing of particular note has happened in the past few weeks. According to CBS News, the Trump administration is considering arguing that Trump has not yet officially been impeached. The idea comes down to a technicality: Because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not transmitted the two articles of impeachment to the Senate, Trump officials may claim that the process has not yet been finalized in the House. The argument emerges from an op-ed by Harvard Law professor and House Judiciary Impeachment witness Noah Feldman. “If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president,” Feldman, who has endorsed Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, wrote in Bloomberg. “If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.”

Continue Reading at New York Magazine »

If Trump’s Impeached, Then Why Can’t a Senate Trial Start Now?通化华旺庆商贸有限公司

An op-ed by Noah Feldman: Call me old fashioned or naïve, but I think my job is to explain what the U.S. Constitution actually means, no matter who likes it or doesn’t. That led me to explain recently that under the Constitution as it was understood by the framers and as it still should be understood today, impeachment isn’t complete when the House of Representatives votes to impeach. Constitutionally, impeachment becomes official when the House sends word of that impeachment to the Senate, triggering a Senate trial. Impeachment was originally understood to take place when someone from the House formally impeached the president “at the bar of the Senate,” which meant a member of the House formally stated to the Senate that the president (or judge, or other officer) was impeached. That practice lasted from the late middle ages until 1912. Since then, the House has instead sent a written message to the Senate stating that the House “has impeached” the defendant, a message that triggers the trial procedures in the Senate.

Continue Reading at Bloomberg »

A Law Professor’s Provocative Argument: Trump Has Not Yet Been Impeached阿里兴亚伟科技有限公司

Maybe President Trump has not been impeached after all, or at least not yet. Impeachment happens, according to Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, only when the House transmits the articles of impeachment to the Senate. So “technically speaking,” he said, “the president still hasn’t been impeached.” That idea has left much of the legal academy unconvinced, including Laurence H. Tribe, one of Professor Feldman’s colleagues at Harvard. “The argument is textually bizarre, historically inaccurate, structurally misguided and functionally misleading,” Professor Tribe said. Professor Feldman was one of three constitutional scholars to testify in favor of impeachment before the House Judiciary Committee this month.

Continue Reading at New York Times »

Impeachment live updates: Pelosi invites Trump to deliver State of the Union, potentially during his Senate trial; president lashes out at evangelical magazine南通聚贵圣设备有限公司

President Trump lashed out Friday at Democrats and an evangelical magazine that has called for his removal from office, as the timing and scope of his impeachment trial in the Senate remained in limbo and he prepared to head to Florida for the holidays. …Republicans have seized on a notion advanced by a law professor called by Democrats to testify during the impeachment inquiry that technically Trump would not be “impeached” if the House does not send articles of impeachment to the Senate. Impeachment as contemplated by the Constitution does not consist merely of the vote by the House, but of the process of sending the articles to the Senate for trial,” Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman wrote in a Bloomberg column on Thursday. “Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution … If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.” Feldman’s argument received pushback from other legal scholars, including Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard. In a tweet on Thursday night, Tribe said Feldman is “making a clever but wholly mistaken point” about the possibility that Trump won’t be impeached. “Under Art. I, Sec. 2, Clause 5, he was impeached on Dec 18, 2019. He will forever remain impeached. Period,” Tribe wrote.

Continue Reading at Washington Post »

Laurence Tribe: ‘I’d be amazed’ if vulnerable GOP Senators vote against calling witnesses牙克石协台飞设备有限公司

Sen. Schumer said he’s hoping to get some Republican Senators to join him in asking for witnesses and documents in Trump’s impeachment trial. Laurence Tribe tells Lawrence O’Donnell that “the evidence supporting the impeachment articles is extremely strong” but adds that there are no good reasons not to hear from additional firsthand witnesses in the Senate trial and thinks it will be a hard sell from some vulnerable Republican Senators.

Continue Reading at MSNBC »

Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate门源久贵长服务有限公司

An article by Noah FeldmanNow that the House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump, what is the constitutional status of the two articles of impeachment? Must they be transmitted to the Senate to trigger a trial, or could they be held back by the House until the Senate decides what the trial will look like, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has hinted? The Constitution doesn’t say how fast the articles must go to the Senate. Some modest delay is not inconsistent with the Constitution, or how both chambers usually work. But an indefinite delay would pose a serious problem. Impeachment as contemplated by the Constitution does not consist merely of the vote by the House, but of the process of sending the articles to the Senate for trial. Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution: The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial.

Continue Reading at Bloomberg Opinion »

Minow, Gordon-Reed probe what impeachment means and where it leads莆田久高亚机械有限公司

To gain a better understanding of the issues in play following the House impeachment of President Donald Trump, the Harvard Gazette asked faculty and affiliates in history, law, politics, government, psychology, and media to offer their thoughts.

Harvard Law professor backs Pelosi move to keep articles of impeachment from Senate武汉巨华弘机械有限公司

Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, a frequent critic of President Trump, argued Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., should not send the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate and claimed that it was unconstitutional for the Senate to demand the articles “immediately.” “Senate rules requiring the House to ‘immediately’ present its articles of impeachment to the Senate clearly violate the constitutional clause in Article I giving each house the sole power to make its own rules,” Tribe tweeted on Wednesday. “It’s up to the House when and how to prosecute its case in the Senate,” he added, just hours before House Democrats voted to approve two articles of impeachment.

Continue Reading at Fox News »

Harvard Law Professor Explains Why Pelosi’s Plan To Delay Impeachment Trial Is Brilliant通辽如寿生贸易有限公司

Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe on Thursday explained why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) decision to delay sending the articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump to the Senate is smart. Tribe, appearing on MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” told host Lawrence O’Donnell he believed Pelosi was handling the situation “just brilliantly.” In an op-ed for The Washington Post published Monday, Tribe suggested the House vote to impeach Trump over the Ukraine scandal, but then hold off on transmitting the articles. He predicted it would strengthen Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) hand “in bargaining over trial rules” with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ― amid concerns of potential bias in a trial by Republicans ― because McConnell and Trump want “to get this whole business behind them.” McConnell has vowed to continue working with Trump’s defense team for the trial. O’Donnell on Thursday asked Tribe if this is “where you hoped we would be at this stage after passing the articles of impeachment?” “Exactly,” Tribe responded. “I hoped that my op-ed would encourage a dialogue generated by the fact that for the first time we have a majority leader who is going to be essentially the foreman of the jury and who promises to have his fingers crossed when he takes the oath.”

Continue Reading at HuffPost »

What if the House doesn’t send the impeachment articles to the Senate? Idea championed by Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe garners attention兴城和伟圣贸易有限公司

Some House Democrats are pushing Speaker Nancy Pelosi to withhold the articles of impeachment that are expected to be approved by the House Wednesday, an idea that has been championed by Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe. The notion of impeaching Trump but holding the articles in the House, which could delay a trial in the Senate for months, has gained traction among some of the political left… “Senate rules requiring the House to ‘immediately’ present its articles of impeachment to the Senate clearly violate the constitutional clause in Article I giving each house the sole power to make its own rules. It’s up to the House when and how to prosecute its case in the Senate,” Tribe said.

Continue Reading at Boston Globe »

Alexander Hamilton Had Faith in a ‘Dignified’ Senate Trial博乐升鑫大贸易有限公司

An article by Cass Sunstein: Senator McConnell, meet Alexander Hamilton. In the last weeks, a lot of people who followed the hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives became familiar with Hamilton’s definition of an impeachable offense as “the abuse of violation of some public trust.” But nearly everyone has neglected Hamilton’s brisk, essential discussion of the obligations of the U.S. Senate in impeachment trials – a discussion that casts a bright light on what Republicans and Democrats are obliged to do. The date was March 7, 1788. The occasion was the Federalist Papers – specifically, No. 65.

Continue Reading at Bloomberg »

Democrats can prevent a sham trial in the Senate if they hang tough萍乡浩利久科技有限公司

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had a plan to quickly dispose of the articles of impeachment just approved by the House: He would hold a two-week sham trial without any witnesses, and then the Senate Republican majority would acquit President Trump, despite the overwhelming weight of evidence showing that he is guilty as charged of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), acting on an idea suggested by Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe in a Post op-ed, has thrown a spanner into the works by refusing to appoint impeachment managers until there is some guarantee of a fair trial in the Senate.

Continue Reading at Washington Post »

Trump’s Impeachment Letter Gets Constitution Wildly Wrong曲阜和正兴设备有限公司

An article by Noah FeldmanImpeachment seems to have struck a nerve in President Donald Trump. On the eve of the House’s impeachment vote, he sent a six-page public letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, replete with self-justification, recrimination, and accusation. I will leave the psychological profiling to others. My job is to address the constitutional arguments, such as they are, in the extraordinary document. They may or may not be made again on the floor of the Senate in the upcoming trial; regardless, Trump has now made them part of the historical record. The constitutional talk starts right up top, in sentence two, in which Trump writes that “the impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers, unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history.”

Continue Reading at Bloomberg »

Mitch McConnell wants a show trial — but Democrats don’t have to give him one铜仁辉国大商贸有限公司

Republicans have handed Democrats a political gift by making it clear they plan on acquitting President Trump after the most minimal Senate impeachment trial possible. The question is whether Democrats can seize this opportunity. In a divided Congress, House Democrats control one important weapon…they can withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate — meaning that no impeachment trial can occur until the Republican Senate leadership agrees to some approximation of a fair and thorough process…Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe recently tweeted that if McConnell “rejects these reasonable ground rules and insists on a non-trial, the House should consider treating that as a breach of the Senate’s oath and withholding the Articles until the Senate reconsiders.” He later clarified in a follow-up tweet that “by ‘withholding’ the Articles I don’t mean not voting for them — I mean voting for them but holding off on transmitting them to the Senate.” Tribe elaborated on this idea further in an email to Salon, comparing this process to a corrupt trial in criminal court: “Imagine this scenario: A prosecutor about to obtain a grand jury indictment learns that the foreman of the trial jury (whose members, for purposes of this thought experiment, we’ll have to assume are known in advance, as is the case with the Senate though not in the typical criminal case) has threatened to let the accused decide how the trial will be conducted — and has intimated that it will be a ‘trial’ in name only, one orchestrated in close coordination with defense counsel. Other key jurors also announce that they don’t intend to listen to any evidence but have already made up their minds to acquit.”

Continue Reading at Salon »

Trump Impeachment Is a Shot in the Arm for the Constitution绍兴盈益富贸易有限公司

An article by Noah FeldmanThe House of Representatives’ historic vote to impeach President Donald Trump comes near the end of the president’s third tumultuous year in office — which is also the third year of the prolonged stress test he’s been giving to the U.S. Constitution. It’s an occasion to check in on the most basic question that can be asked in a democracy: What is the state of our Constitution? The short answer is that the Constitution is, so far, holding up in the face of the most extended challenge to its principles and norms that it has confronted since World War II. The impeachment itself is actually a significant improvement in the Constitution’s performance. It signals that at least half the legislative branch — the House — is now taking seriously its own responsibility to uphold the Constitution in the face of presidential contempt for it.

Continue Reading at Bloomberg »

Harvard law prof pitched the idea of withholding impeachment articles; is it constitutional?庐山祥全瑞设备有限公司

After the U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the articles of impeachment may temporarily be withheld from the U.S. Senate. The idea of delaying—or even withholding transmittal to the Senate—has been pitched by Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, who advised the House Judiciary Committee on the impeachment process, the Washington Postreports.

Continue Reading at ABA Journal »

Pelosi says House may withhold impeachment articles, delaying Senate trial二连浩特巨厚亨科技有限公司

Moments after a historic vote to impeach President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the House could at least temporarily withhold the articles from the Senate – a decision, she suggested, that could depend on how the other chamber chooses to conduct its trial on Trump’s removal…The notion has been most prominently advocated by Laurence H. Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor who has advised the House Judiciary Committee on the impeachment process. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, he wrote that “the public has a right to observe a meaningful trial rather than simply learn that the result is a verdict of not guilty.”

Continue Reading at Washington Post »

Trump’s Ukraine shakedown运城多飞金科技有限公司

An article by Michael KlarmanOn Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will convene a panel of constitutional scholars to provide historical context for the impeachment inquiry and particularly the meaning of the Constitution’s impeachment standard of “treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors.” Were I appearing on that panel, this is what I would say: Much of the research for the statement derives from my work on “The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution.” On July 25, 2019, President Trump asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for “a favor.” Considering the evidence unearthed by the House Intelligence Committee in its totality, and keeping in mind that impeachment proceedings do not require us to suspend our common sense, it is clear that President Trump conditioned a much sought-after White House visit for the Ukrainian president, as well as the delivery of nearly $400 million appropriated by Congress for Ukrainian defense, on the Ukrainian government’s doing Trump two personal favors.

Continue Reading at Boston Globe »