Impeachable Tweets: A Response To Professor Tribe

To answer his question: yes, I was mocking.  There is nothing in the Constitution that says “Thou Shalt Not Tweet” or anything unique about Twitter for the purposes of impeachment.  There is no ban on tweeting like there is for emoluments.  It is simply a form of communication.  It is the content of communications and not the vehicle that concern constitutional analysis.

A more serious question is raised in the last tweet.  How is insulting a former president or making a false allegation a misuse of power?  A president does retain a modicum of free speech.  There is no evidence of Tribe using the powers of his office other than conveying his views of an allegation that was published on a conservative website.  Indeed, part of the complaint against Trump is that he failed to use his staff to confirm whether the allegation was indeed true.

A President can be removed from office only upon “Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” U.S. Constitution, Art. II, section 4.   As Professor Tribe maintained during our respective testimony and writings in the Clinton Impeachment, “Our Constitutional structure reaffirms that the standard must be a very high one.”

Tribe and I have disagreed about the history and meaning of the impeachment standard, but this is one disagreement that I did not anticipate.  Twitter and social media allows for citizens, including presidents, to vent their opinions and views.  That is protected speech in my view absent a few narrow exceptions.  Just as Trump could say these things in person, he can say these things in Tweets.  There is nothing about Twitter that changes the foundational fact that this is an opinion.  It may be erroneous or even non-presidential but it is an opinion.

I still hope that there will be an impeachment controversy where Professor Tribe and I will find common ground.  However, it will not be over these “impeachable tweets.”  Of course, the final tweet may not have been sent with much circumspection but of course that is the very point of this entire controversy.



100 thoughts on “Impeachable Tweets: A Response To Professor Tribe”

  1. This song is not meant to offend either JT or Tribe or the Cherokee.

    Tweet tweet bo beep
    Banana fanna fo feep.
    Fee fi moe meep.

    When Trump’s a tweeter and always the same.
    You know its Trump and lay the blame.
    Like Rob, Fob ffing f so Rob and Mary Mary is contrary.
    That’s the only tweet that is a fairy.

    So. only twits, tweet. Even so called law profs. Put that in your Indian nation and poke it.

      1. Chuck, Chuck bo buck.
        Banana fanna fo schmuck.
        Fee fi moe bucks.

        His first names Chucky, Chucky Cheese.
        He came from France on his knees.
        Like Red Fred fing f so Red and
        Mary Mary who is so hairy.
        thats the only rule that is contrary..

    1. The date was the date Tribe wrote about it not the date they occured. Ho Hum let me know when you get some plain old ordinary facts and present a premise without a cover up.

  2. Quick aside. Ask Trump to articulate any Article of the Constitution or any Amendment thereafter, and he probably couldn’t. He’s likely never read any of it.

    Considering the president swears an oath to defend that document, outright ignorance of its content should itself be enough to justify subsequent impeachment.

    Or, let the Pizza Hut spokesman take the citizenship test publically. He’d fail that, too.

    1. Of course he read it but with intent to follow it not to flush it down the toilet. And your ignorance should justify revocation of citizenship Obama’s favorite line ‘to the best of my ability’ I believe Trump has a problem with that low a standard while Obama failed to reach it.

      1. Revocation of citizenship? I see that you have an understanding of the Constitution on par with the guy who cameoed the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Nice job.

    2. Your hero Obama, the Const. scholar, oversaw the bloodless coup of the so-called Justice Dept:

      Google “Libya rubble” images for what Obama and HRC wrought there. Last year there were often two thousand Libyan refugees per week fleeing for Italy, thousands of whom drowned (including children of course) fleeing the carnage and despair wrought by your peace loving heroes…may they writhe forever in hell.

  3. Trump may be acting unhinged, but there’s always a reason for his tweets. He knew the hearings were coming, so he “muddied” the issue. Now the issue will be the legality of the method of investigating him added to the conspiracy itself. That’s foxy.

    But Tribe is also alarmed – as I am – that the American people should have some recourse when a president so alienates the people, as well as his own party, that he becomes useless as a leader. That is a clear possibility, and I dread having to stand by helplessly. If he takes us to that point, Congress may be “redefine” what constitutes the basis of impeachment.

        1. Then, there’s mental illness, low self-esteem, tiny hands with the implications thereof, plus the fact that it’s beginning to soak through the pompadour and hair products that he is really, truly, not loved nor wanted by the majority of U.S. citizens. He is also a publicity whore, takes advice from the spokeswitch on how to pivot and divert attention away from bad things, like the growing evidence of how he and his minions collaborated with the Russians to steal the election, plus just good, old fashioned racism. He’s also starting to look like hell, too.

          1. Natacha – Trump is not like Obama who could not say a one sentence without referring to himself.

            1. They still haven’t figured out that President Trump leads them around by their tweeters with one hand and runs the government with the other while leaving them to look foolish and stupid.and they are probably going to fall for it again. Whose diverting who. Stupid is stupid.

            2. Said from a Mr Trump man that does not like the media but has had PR employees on his payroll all of his life.

          2. Trump collaborated with the Russians? You’re the one with the mental illness. Or maybe you’re just being hysterical. Same difference.

  4. If Trump’s tweets are not grounds for impeachment, then surely Couchgate and Tiegate are!

  5. Since impeachment is a political trial, sure, a tweet could be evidence. What the hell!!!. The Democrats are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

      1. depends on who sucks and whose the ciupcake. No but now we know where Hillary got her training in lying. Only difference is she didn’t do it under oath to a Judge.

        Bubbas real crime in her eyes was not sharing Monica.

  6. “A more serious question is raised in the last tweet. How is insulting a former president or making a false allegation a misuse of power?”

    Was the lie that President Johnson gave us called the Gulf of Tonkin incident a misuse of Johnson’s power? I can see how that was a high crime subject to impeachment.

    What was the intention behind Trump’s allegation? There may be more to his comment than we know. Time will tell.

    Without something more, however, I think that Prof. Turley is correct, but it’d be nice if Prof. Tribe were to comment as to why he feels the way he does about Trump’s allegation. Maybe he has more information than we do?

    1. Maybe he has more information than we do?
      Or maybe, the POTUS has more information than any of them.

    2. The bar was 50,000 dead US bodies high and still didn’t get an impeachment but it did get LBJ the sure and certain knowledge his war was not well liked to say the least.

      Now we get 16 years of Busn and Obama and some screw loose is bitching because Trump didn’t win the war in 50 days? Just what we need a bunch of war mongers wanting to blame the newbie for the failures of the rejected.

  7. I have great respect for Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, who remains one of the iconic figures in constitutional law and someone with whom I have had exchanges for years on legal controversies affecting this country.

    You shouldn’t say self-indicting things.

    1. Hey he wrote a textbook thousand of law school students are forced to read. That’s saying something. Take that James Patterson.

        1. websterisback – James Patterson has a writing factory. He has other people write the books and then he edits them to Pattersonize them. He has a particular style.

            1. websterisback – because you made a comment about James Patterson.

              1. websterisback – mespo made the comment, not sure why it went to you. Sorry.

              2. I did? I don’t think so. If you will reread the comments you will find who did.

  8. I found Tribe interesting, but many years ago. Before he, in a sense, fell in love with his former student. Tedious and predictable.

  9. Tribes comments are ludicrous! Can an “esteemed” Harvard Law Professor be impeached?

    1. I doubt it. Like Big Daddy Idi Amin, the Harvards are Esteemed for Life. I would support “peaching” him though. That’s where you get a bushel of overripe peaches and wing them full bore at the academics and then count how many “ouches” you hear. First one to a hundred wins!!

  10. ‘it is better for a doctor to err on the side of caution and follow the most restrictive view of the law’

    1. Let the Turley Bannonites have their day bashing Prof.Tribe. They need a break from bashing Muslims. :).

    1. padlegal:

      Care to expand on that or is this your bumper sticker for the day? If you use “The Tribe,” I think we can get you into William & Mary.

  11. Tribe thinks he’s the ordained leader of the opposition party. It’s what happens when all you hear is how erudite you are and how insightful your comments are and how you’ve changed lives, blah, blah, blah. He’s legal glitterati bellowing from the Ivory tower at the masses below foolish enough to disagree with his pronouncements. To paraphrase Churchill, folks like Tribe are “merely the glittering scum which floats upon the deep river of production.” He doesn’t mean much to most people and worse yet … he can’t take a joke. And we know what the world thinks of people who can’t take a joke.

    1. Robert Bork on Tribe’s interpretive method: “It is protean… Ordinarily, this would it exclude it from serious consideration”.

    2. See Stanley Brubaker’s assessment of Tribe’s work, published in Commentary in January of 1989, most notably his ever-changing defenses of Roe v. Wade.

      Tribe was, at one time, an innovator in the realm of college forensic competitions (some say he ruined it). That’s the deal with the man. It’s a game and truth doesn’t enter into it.

  12. Prof. Tribe’s lack of a sense of humor stands in marked contrast to Jonathan’s ability to use humor as an effective technique for explication as he did recently before our bar.

  13. Professor Turley, your respect for Lawrence Tribe is misplaced. Lawrence Tribe is a leftist for sale, not a scholar. He’s happy to do or say whatever the Elite Establishment wants him to. In other words, he’s a juristitute. For example, see the following:

  14. Agree. Tribe has extended the law, or reversed his prior published opinions, on a range of legal matters, in his diaTribe against Trump. This thirst for anti-democratic means of resolving his undesired outcome of an election, cloaked in the appearance of objective law and jurisprudential scholarship, is unsettling. As he himself said in the 1998 impeachment proceedings, these kind of allegations tend to make Tribe look worse than Trump.

  15. You may relate to the ill informed Professor that the ultimate source of power in our Constitutional Republic are the citizens. The citizens have already ruled on their opinion of the Clintons and the Obama presidency and his party by an electoral vote of 55% to 45% in favor of rejections……

    for just those same sorts of actions

    All three were fired and so were their supporters.

    Take a hike and get off Turlow’s case he’s doing something worth doing in promoting open debate in an open forum.

    If that won’t suffice my address is Bight, ME ask anyone for directions. .

    1. No, the electoral vote does NOT reflect the “ruling” of the citizens of this country. About 9 million more people voted AGAINST than for Mr. Tiny Hands and of these, 3 million more voted for Mrs. Clinton.

      How anyone with a soul , a working knowledge of law and a quality education could defend Agent Orange dumbfounds me, especially in regard to AO’s made up claim that President Obama personally wiretapped AO’s phone. No evidence, no hint of where this outrageous allegation came from. What is this–the product of mental illness, fantasy, poor judgment, poor taste, arrogance, low self-esteem, or some combination of all of the above? How or why is making such an outrageous accusation, with absolutely NO proof, acceptable? Has the bar been lowered so far that fantasy charges are now acceptable? What President in past history ever behaved this way?

      1. Natacha – does the name Nixon ring a bell. Obama weaponized the DoJ, the IRS, Homeland Security, there is no reason he did not get a FISA wiretap on Trump. Obama planted landmines for Trump as he entered office, put former staffers into government positions to control the flow of the opposition. This is a war.

      2. Name calling will get you far in life. NOT.
        I am not sure what the obsession is with liberals and small hands.
        Nor does anyone appreciate the direct bigotry you expose in talking about people’s strawberry blonde hair. Shame on you.

          1. And you would say that also about a black person?
            Or is white People the only fair game this decade? 😤

      3. None but then they were only politicians. How many have actually built something, The few who were doctors, dentists surgeons etc. and one I understand is coming into politics from major league baseball. Has the bar been lowered so far that the fantsasy subjective other world life of those who follow what Plato rejected are even compared to people who ‘do’ not just ‘talk?’

        And as for those who didn’t bother to read the basic handbook of citizenship come visit and we’ll talk about i your substandard education in the political system of my country. A Constitutional Republic and we’ll compare notes to where ever you live…in a ….what was it ……a democracy….or something.

      4. “…How anyone with a soul , a working knowledge of law and a quality education could defend Agent Orange dumbfounds me…” Tells us everything about you, and nothing about POTUS.

        ABSPL much? (another butt sore progressive loser)

        PS: please stop blaming those who voted Trump for the DNC nominating the likely all time worst POTUS candidate. And breaking news for the next dope your DNC buds nominate: IT’S NOT A POPULAR ELECTION!

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