Jonathan Turley, Republican Witness for Impeachment Hearing, Says He Received Threats

December 5, 2019 Updated: December 6, 2019

A witness selected by Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee said he received threats since he testified that Democrats’ current impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump don’t hold water.

“Before I finished my testimony, my home and office were inundated with threatening messages and demands that I be fired from George Washington University for arguing that, while a case for impeachment can be made, it has not been made on this record,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote in an opinion article published Thursday in The Hill, a day after he testified along with three other legal experts.

Turley, who is a regular contributor to the Hill, accused some of the Democrats on the Judiciary panel of using “scorched earth tactics,” including Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), in trying to refute his testimony.

“In my testimony Wednesday, I stated repeatedly, as I did 21 years ago, that a president can be impeached for noncriminal acts, including abuse of power. I made that point no fewer that a dozen times in analyzing the case against Trump … Yet various news publications still excitedly reported that, in an opinion piece I wrote for the Washington Post five years ago, I said, ‘While there is a high bar for what constitutes grounds for impeachment, an offense does not have to be indictable,’ and it could include ‘serious misconduct or a violation of public trust.'”

He said that the claim “is precisely what I have said regarding Trump,” but he warned they “just need to prove abuse of power,” which they haven’t been able to accomplish.

“My objection is not that you cannot impeach Trump for abuse of power but that this record is comparably thin compared to past impeachments and contains conflicts, contradictions, and gaps including various witnesses not subpoenaed. I suggested that Democrats drop the arbitrary schedule of a vote by the end of December and complete their case and this record before voting on any articles of impeachment. In my view, they have not proven abuse of power in this incomplete record,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, critics of Turley’s testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee have used a fallacious attack to claim he contradicted himself during the impeachment effort against former President Bill Clinton, he argued.

“Trump will not be our last president. What we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come, and ‘agitated passions’ will not be a substitute for proof in an impeachment. We currently have too much of the former and too little of the latter,” Turley concluded.

The three experts called by Democrats—Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School, Pamela Karlan of Stanford, and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina—alleged that Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her caucus would move forward and draft articles of impeachment against Trump. The president, in response, tweeted that “if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast” so the Senate trial can move forward.

He added, “The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy.”