Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for violating a legal principle that has existed for over 1,000 years — and his move means that President Donald Trump can never be vindicated during impeachment.
Tribe, who has taught at Harvard Law School for 50 years and argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court, has been advising Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats during the impeachment inquiry. He was interviewed on Friday by MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber.
Tribe said, “what it looks like is that the majority leader is going to conduct this trial as though he’s a member of the defense team,” Tribe said. “You know, it’s an ancient principle, centuries-old — actually over a millennium old — that you can’t be a judge on your own case and effectively, to allow Donald Trump to call the shots, violates that principle.”
However, Tribe said the approach, “may backfire.”
“The reason it may backfire is that an exoneration — if that’s what emerges by a Senate that is essentially rigged and fixed so that it’s coordinated in this way with the defense really doesn’t clear the name of the accused so that the president will go down in history as having been essentially found guilty by the House in a proceeding where he had a chance to defend himself, but didn’t take advantage of it and then in a kind of rubber stamp sort of toss off, not really given a meaningful trial so that he will have been adjudicated fundamentally by the House of Representatives to have abused his office, abused his oath, and endangered the national security and then blockaded in the inquiry as though he were a dictator,” he charged.