An editorial from the conservative Wall Street Journal argues that President Donald Trump does not deserve to be impeached because he was too incompetent to properly carry out a corrupt act.
In an editorial that criticizes Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for holding impeachment inquiry testimony behind closed doors so far, the editorial board argues that ambassador Bill Taylor’s testimony that Trump directly tied military aid to Ukraine to investigating his political opponents shouldn’t be seen as an impeachable offense because the president got caught doing it.
“It may turn out that while Mr. Trump wanted a quid-pro-quo policy ultimatum toward Ukraine, he was too inept to execute it,” they write. “Impeachment for incompetence would disqualify most of the government, and most Presidents at some point or another in office.”
Despite the Journal’s assertions that Trump cannot be impeached for bungling his attempt at extorting Ukraine, at least one Republican legal scholar believes that the president may face real legal jeopardy for his actions.
Philip Zelikow, a history professor at the University of Virginia who served as an official in the George W. Bush administration, argued on Thursday that Trump may have run afoul of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b), which states that any public official who “corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for… being influenced in the performance of any official act” is breaking the law.”