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Jonathan Turley claims an impeachable offense must be a crime — but wrote this was a ‘myth’ in 2014

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One of the key claims made by Republicans’ constitutional expert in Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, George Washington Univerity Professor Jonathan Turley, was that an offense must be a crime to constitutionally merit impeachment.

But putting aside the extremely dubious claim that it was not a crime for President Donald Trump’s suspension of military aid to force Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, Turley is contradicting himself. In 2014, when Republicans were talking about impeaching President Barack Obama, Turley wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that in fact it is a “myth” that an impeachable offense must be an indictable crime.

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“While there’s a high bar for what constitutes grounds for impeachment, an offense does not have to be indictable,” wrote Turley. “Serious misconduct or a violation of public trust is enough. Madison saw impeachment as ‘defending the community against the incapacity, negligence or perfidy of the chief magistrate.’ And the founders emphasized that impeachments were about what happened in the political arena: involving ‘political crimes and misdemeanors’ and resulting in ‘political punishments.'” He asserted that there were limits on what Congress could impeach a president for — it couldn’t just be on a whim — but that it could also involve abuses of power or derelictions of duty that weren’t federal crimes per se.

Turley also argued that “regrettably,” there is no clear precedent for what constitutes an impeachable offense altogether.

Now that Trump is president — and now that Republicans have called on him to defend the president’s behavior in Ukraine — his more nuanced 2014 stance appears to have changed.


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Trump welcomed Russia’s Sergey Lavrov to the White House — to humiliate us all

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Despite the fact that President Donald Trump still refuses to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington for an officials meeting — a topic at the center of the scandal driving Trump’s impeachment — the White House hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.

And while Lavrov was honored with his second private Oval Office meeting (the first one was a cataclysmic disaster) and a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the foreign minister took his opportunity here to repeatedly humiliate the United States.

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United States, Mexico, Canada finalize Donald Trump’s USMCA trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal Tuesday to finalize their new trade agreement, paving the way to ratification after more than two years of arduous negotiations.

However, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the US Senate would likely delay Congressional ratification of the agreement until next year, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In reality, it is the second time the three countries have triumphantly announced the conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the deal meant to replace the 25-year-old NAFTA, which President Donald Trump complains has been "a disaster" for the US.

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WATCH: Maddow hilariously recaps Trump’s ‘shenanigans in the Oval Office’ with the Russian foreign minister

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Tuesday examined President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov -- on the same day that the House of Representatives unveiled articles of impeachment against the commander-in-chief.

Following the meeting, Lavrov trolled Trump on the issues of foreign election interference and Trump's habit of revealing classified intelligence.

"Given that, given the way the president is being impeached for having done all those things to Ukraine in and way that undermined our alliance with them and specifically their fight against Russian aggression -- which has, you know, led to a five-year-long war in Ukraine -- I mean given the fact he's being impeached for undermining Ukraine in its war against Russia, this is heck of a day to choose to have the Russian foreign minister sitting on your lap in the Oval Office," Maddow said.

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