GOP Senators Meeting With Lawyer Who Argues Trump Impeachment Is Unconstitutional

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley of George Washington University testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on December 4, 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican senators are meeting with a familiar face on Tuesday to help them decide ex-President Donald Trump’s fate in what will be his second impeachment trial.

Politico and Fox News reported that Jonathan Turley, the constitutional scholar who served as House Republicans’ witness during Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, will meet with the GOP Senate caucus in person for lunch to make the case that impeaching Trump now that he’s out of office would be unconstitutional.

The meeting comes after Turley wrote a Fox News op-ed arguing that “[e]ach senator must decide whether such a trial is constitutional before deciding whether an accused can be retroactively removed for a high crime and misdemeanor.”

Turley asserted that the trial “is at odds with the language of the Constitution, which expressly states that removal of a president is the primary purpose of such a trial.”

“At the time, Trump will be neither a president nor in office,” the lawyer wrote. “He will be a citizen and would be best served legally to forgo the trial entirely as extraconstitutional and invalid.”

Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have already made that argument while announcing their intention to acquit Trump.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: