La Constitución entra en escena en el juicio a Trump

    Washington, 4 dic (EFE).- Los tres juristas citados por el congreso y el que fue llamado a testificar por los republicanos no consiguieron este miércoles ponerse de acuerdo en si el presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump, ha cometido o no algún delito que pueda derivar en su destitución, en el inicio de la segunda fase de la investigación para un eventual juicio político contra él.

    Los expertos en la Constitución de EE.UU. que fueron llamados por los demócratas sí coincidieron en subrayar que el Congreso debe celebrar un juicio político contra Trump, de que consideraron que abusó de su poder al pedir a Ucrania que investigase al ex vicepresidente Joe Biden y a su hijo por posible corrupción en ese país.

    ‘Basándome en los testimonios y las pruebas presentadas ante la Cámara Baja, el presidente Trump ha cometido delitos que pueden usarse para su destitución, al abusar corruptamente de la Presidencia’, señaló el profesor de Derecho de la Universidad de Harvard, Noah Feldman.

    ‘SOBORNO, ABUSO DE PODER Y OBSTRUCCIÓN’

    De los otros dos participantes citados por los liberales en la audiencia, tanto la profesora Pamela Karlan, de la Universidad de Standford, como el profesor Michael Gerhardt, de la Universidad de Carolina del Norte, coincidieron con Feldman al subrayar que Trump ‘golpeó a la democracia’ estadounidense al pedir a un Gobierno extranjero que interfiriese en las próximas elecciones.

    En su declaración, Gerhardt fue un paso más allá y aseveró que Trump ha cometido ‘varias ofensas’ que merecen su destitución: soborno, abuso de poder y obstrucción al Congreso.

    ‘Si el Congreso no actúa en este caso, entonces el proceso de destitución ha perdido todo significado y, junto con eso, las garantías cuidadosamente elaboradas en nuestra Constitución contra el establecimiento de un rey en suelo estadounidense’, apuntó.

    ‘Nadie, ni siquiera el presidente, está por encima de nuestra Constitución y nuestras leyes’, agregó.

    Después de escuchar estas comparecencias, la portavoz de la Casa Blanca, Stephanie Grisham, denunció que los tres juristas que se mostraron a favor del juicio político tienen ‘prejuicios’ contra Trump.

    ‘Tres de los cuatro ‘expertos’ en esta audiencia simulada han tenido prejuicios contra Trump. El presidente no tiene derechos en este proceso y los ‘testigos’ de los demócratas se decidieron mucho antes de estas audiencias’, consideró Grisham en su cuenta de Twitter.

    PRECEDENTE PELIGROSO

    Por otro lado, el experto en la Constitución de EE.UU. llamado por los republicanos consideró que destituir a Trump por este motivo crearía un ‘precedente peligroso’ para los próximos inquilinos de la Casa Blanca.

    ‘Me preocupa rebajar los estándares de juicio político para que se ajusten a una escasez de pruebas y una gran cantidad de ira. (…) La destitución de Trump crearía un precedente peligroso por la falta de procedimientos’, analizó Jonathan Turley, también profesor de Derecho, en este caso de la también prestigiosa Universidad George Washington.

    La audiencia, que se celebró en el Edificio Longworth, en las proximidades del Capitolio, estuvo marcada por las interrupciones procedimentales de los republicanos y por el elevado tono de su líder en el comité, Doug Collins.

    ‘El miedo de los demócratas a las elecciones de 2020 es lo que está dirigiendo el proceso de juicio político’, defendió gritando Collins, que usó un tono más similar a un mitin de campaña que a una audiencia legislativa.

    Ante las numerosas interrupciones, el presidente del Comité Judicial, el demócrata Jerry Nadler, amenazó con expulsar a algunos de los miembros republicanos, aunque no lo llevó a cabo.

    ¿SUFICIENTE PARA REDACTAR LOS ARTÍCULOS DE JUICIO POLÍTICO?

    Estas comparecencias forman parte de la segunda fase de la investigación de la Cámara Baja de EE.UU. para abrir un posible juicio político contra Trump, en la que se analiza el marco legal del hipotético proceso de destitución.

    Después de dos semanas de audiencias públicas dirigidas por el Comité de Inteligencia de la Cámara de Representantes, encargado de hallar pruebas en el comportamiento de Trump para iniciar un juicio político contra él, ahora es el turno del Comité Judicial, para definir si esas ofensas son suficientes o no para continuar con el proceso.

    Pese a que el objetivo es determinar si hay pruebas suficientes para el ‘impeachment’ contra Trump a través de expertos, la realidad de hoy confirmó que los testigos citados por demócratas y republicanos defendieron también las ideas de quienes los convocaron. EFE

     

     

     

     

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three constitutional law experts called by Congress testified Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine represented impeachable offenses as the House Judiciary Committee began proceedings expected to end in charges against the president.

    President Donald Trump’s actions to prod Ukraine to pursue investigations that could benefit him politically represent impeachable offenses, constitutional law experts called by Democrats testified to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday as lawmakers laid the groundwork for formal charges against Trump.

    At a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing featuring political theatrics, three law professors chosen by the Democrats made clear that they believed Trump’s actions constituted impeachable offenses including abuse of power, bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

    A law professor selected by Trump’s fellow Republicans disagreed, saying the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry was “slipshod” and “rushed” and lacked testimony from people with direct knowledge of the relevant events, adding that current evidence does not show Trump committed “a clear criminal act.”

    As Trump headed toward possible impeachment in the Democratic-controlled House within weeks, Republican lawmakers repeatedly tried to interrupt the hearing by raising objections and points of order.

    The impeachment inquiry, launched in September, focuses on Trump’s request on Ukraine to conduct investigations that could harm Democratic political rival Joe Biden. Collins said the impeachment drive – or as he called it a “railroad job” – was motivated by the deep-seated hatred Democrats feel toward Trump since he won the 2016 election.

    The hearing was the committee’s first to examine whether Trump’s actions qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors” punishable by impeachment under the U.S. Constitution. The panel would draft any articles of impeachment – formal charges – against Trump. If the House approves such charges, the Senate then would hold a trial on whether to remove Trump from office.

    Trump has denied wrongdoing.

    In London for a NATO meeting, Trump called a report by House Democrats released on Tuesday that laid out possible grounds for impeachment a “joke” and appeared to question the patriotism of the Democrats, asking, “Do they in fact love our country?”

    The inquiry’s focus is a July 25 telephone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter Biden and into a discredited theory promoted by Trump’s allies that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

    Hunter Biden had joined the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was U.S. vice president. Trump has accused the Bidens of corruption without offering evidence. They have denied wrongdoing.

    Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman, called by the Democrats, testified that Trump’s conduct embodies the concern expressed by the Constitution’s 18th century authors “that a sitting president would corruptly abuse the powers of office to distort the outcome of a presidential election in his favor.”

    “If we cannot impeach a president who abuses his office for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy. We live in a monarchy or we live under a dictatorship,” Feldman added.

    Stanford University law school professor Pamela Karlan said Trump abused his power by demanding foreign involvement in a U.S. election, adding that his actions “struck at the very heart of what makes this country the republic to which we pledge allegiance.”

    “While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” Karlan added, prompting a Twitter post by White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham calling the professor “classless” for using the president’s son as a “punchline.”

    Karlan said Trump’s actions constitute bribery as understood by the Constitution’s framers. Asked whether Trump’s demands on Ukraine established the high crime of bribery, Karlan said, “Yes they do.”

    ‘A KING ON AMERICAN SOIL’

    George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley – the only witness chosen by the Republicans, though he said he voted against Trump in 2016 – disagreed that the president’s actions constituted bribery and said the evidence does not adequately support the Democrats’ allegations.

    Turley admonished Trump over the Zelenskiy call – disagreeing with the president that it was “perfect” – and said leveraging U.S. military aid to investigate a political opponent “if proven, can be an impeachable offense.”

    University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt appeared to criticize Republicans for “leaving unchecked a president’s assaults on our Constitution.”

    “If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning, and, along with that, our Constitution’s carefully crafted safeguards against the establishment of a king on American soil. No one, not even the president, is beyond the reach of our Constitution and our laws,” Gerhardt said.

    Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his power by withholding $391 million in security aid to Ukraine – a U.S. ally facing Russian aggression – as leverage to pressure Kiev into conducting the two investigations politically beneficial to Trump and for granting Zelenskiy a coveted White House visit.

    The money, approved by Congress, was provided to Ukraine in September only after the controversy had spilled into public view.

    Republicans complained that the inquiry lacked testimony from people with direct knowledge of the events. Trump has instructed current and former members of his administration not to testify or produce documents, leading senior officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to defy House subpoenas.

    No president has ever been removed from office through impeachment, though Republican Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 after the House began the impeachment process in the Watergate corruption scandal. Two other presidents were impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate.

    The committee could soon recommend articles of impeachment against Trump, setting up a possible vote by the full House before Christmas, followed by a Senate trial in January. Republicans, who control the Senate, have shown little appetite for removing Trump.

    Reporting by David Morgan and Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, Richard Cowan, Lisa Lambert and Susan Cornwell in Washington and Steve Holland in London; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Ross Colvin and Will Dunham