Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe detailed how his views about impeaching President Donald Trump have changed during recent years.
Tribe was the co-author of the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.
MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell noted that “the guidance you gave us in that book was in many ways putting the brakes on talk about impeachment that we were hearing [back] then. This story has changed dramatically to where we are tonight.”
“It certainly has,” Tribe replied. “I was saying impeachment can be very divisive. It can have a big backlash, it can look like we’re trying to undo an election, so we have to go slowly and carefully.”
That changed with the public release of the redacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“After the Mueller report came out, with all after its astonishing revelations about the systemic and sustained Russian attack on our democracy and the president’s sustained efforts to obstruct inquiry into that attack — even inquiry of a counterintelligence-type that would enable us better protect ourselves from going on attack in 2020 — it game clear there was no time to lose,” Tribe explained.
“So that’s why I’m very much in favor of the kinds of hearings that Rep. Nadler (D-NY) already as chairman of Judiciary is engaged in now. They’re not called impeachment hearings, but the impeachment process for anyone who understands what’s going on,” he continued. “It’s underway, but they don’t have the bumper sticker yet.”
“They’re looking into all of the evidence connecting the dots and as you’re earlier guests said, putting live witnesses on the air so that people can see for themselves through people like Don McGahn just how corrupt and fundamentally criminal this president was,” he explained. “And we cannot assume that public opinion will be completely impervious to that demonstration. That’s why the president is trying to shut them all up, trying to stonewall in this unprecedented way.”
Tribe said Trump’s crimes were worse than those committed by former President Richard Nixon.
Nixon “was not engaging in treacherous betrayal of the American republic. He was being a scofflaw, being a crook, but now we’ve got somebody who is fundamentally engaged in treachery.”
“Nothing could be more serious,” the Harvard Law professor concluded.
Tribe added that Trump “can still be tried criminally and that hopefully will happen when this president leaves office because he’s committed a lot of crimes.”