MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe on Thursday about “the most influential op-ed piece yet about impeachment.
On Monday, The Washington Post published Tribe’s op-ed titled, “Don’t let Mitch McConnell conduct a Potemkin impeachment trial.”
Tribe, who has taught at Harvard Law for half a century and has argued three dozen cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, suggested Speaker Nancy Pelosi delay transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
“For some time now, I have been emphasizing the duty to impeach this president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regardless of what the Senate might end up doing. Now that President Trump’s impeachment is inevitable, and now that failing to formally impeach him would invite foreign intervention in the 2020 election and set a dangerous precedent, another option seems vital to consider: voting for articles of impeachment but holding off for the time being on transmitting them to the Senate,” Tribe wrote.
“This option needs to be taken seriously now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced his intention to conduct not a real trial but a whitewash, letting the president and his legal team call the shots,” he explained. “As a tactical matter, it could strengthen Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) hand in bargaining over trial rules with McConnell because of McConnell’s and Trump’s urgent desire to get this whole business behind them. On a substantive level, it would be justified to withhold going forward with a Senate trial. Under the current circumstances, such a proceeding would fail to render a meaningful verdict of acquittal.”
O’Donnell explained how Pelosi has not yet transmitted the articles of impeachment.
“Professor Tribe, from your op-ed piece apparently to the House of Representatives’ ears, is this where you hoped we would be at this stage after passing the articles of impeachment?” O’Donnell asked.
“Exactly,” Tribe replied.
“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,” he explained. “And I wanted not to leave that situation as it stood, I wanted to shake it up a little — and I think this has done that,” he said.
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