New Book Reveals Democratic Decision to Abandon Due Process and Historical Precedent to Impeach Trump

Below is today’s column in on the new disclosures in a new book on the Trump impeachment. The authors allege that House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and his staff raised virtually the same procedural objections that I made in my testimony about the House abandoning both historical precedent and due process guarantees. The book directly contradicts public statements made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff.

Here is the column:

“They’re going to argue we don’t have due process for Trump. Why make that argument real?” Those words from House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.,  stand out in the shocking disclosures in the recently released book, “Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” Politico Playbook co-author Rachael Bade and Washington Post reporter Karoun Demirjian recount how House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi overrode objections from Nadler that the lack of witness testimony was a denial of due process for then President Donald Trump. Nadler reportedly put it plainly and correctly: “It’s unfair, and it’s unprecedented, and it’s unconstitutional.”

It was a strikingly familiar objection.  I testified at the first Trump impeachment before Nadler and criticized the lack of any factual witnesses or Judiciary Committee hearings supporting the articles of impeachment. The book details a position of the House Judiciary that is strikingly similar to my own testimony.

The book, however, has not brought a sense of vindication as much as frustration. Nadler publicly toed the line with Pelosi to support a process that he reportedly viewed as abusive and “unconstitutional” even as some of us were set upon by a legion of irate pundits. Worse yet, the book indicates that the bar on witnesses was not compelled by the schedule, as claimed by Pelosi and Schiff, but raw politics.  It was, I wrote, a decision to follow the rule of Franz Kafka’s character that “my guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.”

On the second impeachment, they went one better. They jettisoned any witnesses (including legal experts) in what I called a “snap impeachment.”

During the impeachments, I suggested that the reason was not any limitation of time but tactical advantage. In both rushed impeachments, Pelosi then held back the articles of impeachment before sending them to the Senate – destroying even the pretense of exigency as the reason for abandoning due process.

The book appears to confirm the Kafkaesque logic. It states that neither Pelosi nor Schiff wanted to risk a witness or member going off script by allowing true due process. When Nadler raised historical and constitutional objections, Schiff reportedly barked back that he needed to change “his tone” and complained “you’re putting us in a box.”  That box is an effort to guarantee fairness and Nadler reportedly and correctly observed that “if we’re going to impeach, we need to show the country that we gave the president ample opportunity to defend himself.”

In my testimony in the only hearing held by the Judiciary Committee (over the two impeachments), I objected that “this is wrong. It is not wrong because President Trump is right…No, it is wrong because this is not how an American president should be impeached.”

I relied primarily on the Nixon and Clinton cases to show how far the House was outside any historical navigational beacons. It turns out Nadler and his staff reached the same conclusion and cautioned Schiff and Pelosi to “stick close to the Nixon and Clinton cases.” They refused.

Dan Goldman, Schiff’s lead counsel and the Democratic nominee to represent New York’s 10th District in the House, scoffed and mocked Nadler: “Jerry Nadler? With him, everything is negotiable.” When Nadler’s team argued for an approach (as I did) “more like Nixon,” Schiff’s team reportedly dismissed due process and said, “F— Donald Trump.”

People can disagree on the merits of the impeachments, but both impeachments were an abusive use of the Article I authority in the denial of any substantive hearings before the Judiciary Committee. While it was constitutional in the sense that there is no required process, it was wrong from both a historical and procedural perspective.  Of course, the public was not allowed to either hear from witnesses or know that even Democrats like the Judiciary Chair objected on these same grounds.

Indeed, when the House elected to pursue the January 6th investigation, they followed the same playbook with Schiff as a member.  Traditionally, each party is allowed to pick its own members on such committees. However, Pelosi rejected two of the Republican members and the rest of the party (except for outgoing Reps. Lynne Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) boycotted the hearings. The result was a one-sided production without a hint of fairness or balance in exploring possible defenses or counterarguments.

What is most sad about this account is that, for a critical moment, Nadler rose to the occasion. He defended not just the historical authority of his committee but the constitutional norm, even for a president despised by Democrats. That twilight moment of clarity was soon lost. The book recounts how Nadler made an “effort to get back into Pelosi’s good graces.” When I testified, there was not a hint of concern or dissent. Nadler and the Democrats scoffed at the notion that the impeachment departed from core historical precedent or legal protections.

They had, as Nadler predicted, made the due process arguments “real,” but no one cared. To paraphrase Goodman’s reported observation, in Washington, “everything is negotiable.”


120 thoughts on “New Book Reveals Democratic Decision to Abandon Due Process and Historical Precedent to Impeach Trump”

  1. Now I better understand why Nadler was sidelined. At the time I thought that Pelosi and Schiff pushed him aside because they thought him incapable of directing the proceedings and so they used Schiff instead. It didn’t make sense to me that the head of the intel community would run the impeachment. The whole thing lowered our standards across the board and this is what Pelosi and Schiff will be remembered for. They think it was Trump who lowered the status of our country but they are mistaken. Trump was by no means a perfect president but the way he was treated was beneath contempt.

  2. Constitutional due process is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment – it disqualifies any official, local, state or federal (including presidents) that supported insurrection from ever holding governing authority ever again.

    Clearly we have no due process in the USA. Maybe start here?

      1. Was this an insurrection?

        At times, the crowd would remove the metal barriers and begin pushing up against the officers and their riot shields. The Secret Service continually replaced the barriers throughout the night as protesters wrestled them away.

        Protesters pushed hard enough a few times that officers had to walk away with what appeared to be minor injuries. At one point, the agents responded to aggressive pushing and yelling by using pepper spray on the protesters.

        Throughout the night, protesters could be heard chanting their support for Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer, and their dislike of Trump. The protest, which began around 10 p.m. ET, Friday night outside the White House, had mostly quieted down by 3:30 a.m. ET, Saturday morning.

  3. Judge Cannon slapped back Dearie and told him to Shut up and do his job. He in not a judge in this case and has no power to demand anyone to present evidence.

    1. Say it ain’t so. The dims abandoned due process in the Trump witch-hunt. I just don’t believe it.

  4. Interestingly, Trump’s call to Zelensky was not too terribly different from the call Trump made to Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021. The latter call was also something of a quid pro quo. In both calls Trump pretended to ask favors while implying that big trouble could result if Zelensky / Rafensperger didn’t cooperate.

    There was nothing illegal nor immoral about either of these calls!

  5. You are correct Trump’s call to Zelensky was little different from Trump’s call to Raffensberger.

    Both were legal and normal except in the left wing nut hive mind.

    BTW what is the quid pro quo for Raffensberger ?

    Exactly what is it that a president can give an elected state official ?
    What is it that he can threaten ?

    I would further note that there are actual whistle blowers from the GA dept state who have come forward with evidence that Raffensberger sabotaged his own investigations.

    It is quite interesting that AFTER sabatoging investigations – particularly into Fulton county.
    After the innauguration, After the GA senate Runnof, After all the damage was done.
    Raffensburger FINALLY announces that the State is taking over the Fulton county elections office because they are corrupt to the core and have been for many years.
    Of course that was when he was facing re-election challenges.

    Finally I would note we are now pretty much at the end of the line for any possibility of a real investigation of the 2020 election.
    One that Hillary Clinton warned would be so fraud ridden Biden should not concede,
    Federal and state law requires retaining records of federal elections for 22 months.
    Right now the crooks from 2020 are busy shredding away.

    There have actually been some real investigations – and in places the news does not notice either convictions for large scale fraud or plea bargains reducing large scale fraud charges.

  6. “After learning that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, thus ensuring that the United States would enter World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill breathed a sigh of relief. ‘Hitler’s fate was sealed,’ he would later recall. ‘Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force.'”

    – NEH.GOV

    When will resolute Americans bring “…the proper application of overwhelming force…” against the direct and mortal, anti-constitutional and communist (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) enemies of the borders, the Constitution and the “…fundamentally [formed] United States of America?”

    You know that Kevin “The Bumpkin From Bakersfield” McCarthy is going to do absolute zero of nothing to bring any degree of force to bear against the enemy.

  7. Sounds like a good start to me.

    17 witnesses, and at the end of the day a bunch of spin but no “there there”.

    After the entire impeachment process there is no evidence or Wrongdoing by Trump.
    We are centuries past the idiocy that the Biden’s conduct in Ukraine was some right wing conspiracy theory or russian disinformation.

    The Bide question coming out of Faux impeachment I, is Why havent the Biden’s been fitted with orange jumpsuits.

    These 17 witnesses you are ranting about – all OBVIOUSLY engaged in obstruction of justice.
    They ACTIVELY thwarted the president of the united states from seeking an investigation of criminal conduct and political corruption by the former vice president and his son, Further the entire democratic congress participated in this obstruction.

    What is amazing is the amount of effort that democrats had to go to to put Biden over the top in 2022.

    First they had to impeach Trump for trying to look into corruption by Biden as Vice President.
    We are now far beyond just Ukraine. The Biden familiy corruption is global and involves deals with foreign countries that are our enemies now, and some unbeleiveably scurilous other people – not Hunters Crack dealers, but the shady people Hunter was bringing to the white house.

    Then they got incredibly lucky with Covid.

    Then they were able to use peoples terror about Covid to go lawless on the election.

    Then they had to Bury the Biden story AGAIN.
    Then they had to engage in nationwide ballot harvesting despite the fact that ballot harvesting is illegal in every state except California.

    And the above is just the stuff that we absolutely completely KNOW, that is not disputed.
    This does not include credible allegations of actual election fraud.

    And you think the people you cited were Heros ?

    I would note several of them lied under oath.

    Possibly all of them – as we sill do not have all their testimony.

  8. Professor Turley had many good reasons to “criticized the lack of any factual witnesses or Judiciary Committee hearings supporting the articles of impeachment.” However

    1. As “Impeachment” is a political (and not a legal) process, it only happens if “House” (legislative body) and executive body are in different party hands.
    2. What’s the goal ? To remove an official from office because of misconduct [1]
    3. What’s a misconduct? According to then House Minority Leader Gerald Ford’s (in his efforts to remove SCOTUS justice William Douglas because of financial impropriety).in 4/70: “Whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers [it] to be at a given moment in history.” [2]
    4. A Senate supermajority is need for removal.
    5. Until 1998, the practical impossibility of achieving a Senate supermajority for removal has prevented impeachment from even getting off the ground in the “House”.

    [1] Alexander Hamilton’s efforts (1788) to articulate a workable definition of impeachable offenses:

  9. So they forgot what Kennedy said in their push to impeach…

    “Let every nation know. . .whether it wishes us well or ill. . .
    that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship,
    support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and
    the success of liberty. This much we pledge. . .and more.”

    … I suppose every nation will know the hypocrisy of this congress.

  10. Please remember that any time Adam Schiff is involved – that he is a “wannabe” Hollywood screenwriter. All evidence so far is that he is testing his abilities in his role as the lead Demo narrator.

      1. EVERYTHING BAD COMES FROM CALIFORNIA……Pelosi, Schiff, Waters, The ugly Swede, Newsom,
        Feinstein, and a few others like Waxman, and the Chinese guy.

  11. Blah, blah, blah, which is all Turley can do to try to defend Trump: argue that the process wasn’t fair and attack Democrats. First of all, impeachment isn’t a criminal process, so do the due process requirements of the Constitution even apply? Turley admits that such requirements of the Constitution DO NOT APPLY to impeachment: “While it was constitutional in the sense that there is no required process, it was wrong from both a historical and procedural perspective.” That’s what “NO REQUIRED PROCESS” means–so why publish this piece? Something, anything to divert attention away from Trump and his crimes. BTW: while Hurricane Ian was devastating Florida, Trump was begging for contributions to his political PAC.

    Second, the matters for which Trump was impeached did happen–the allegations are true and well-supported–and were more than sufficient reasons to impeach him. So, rather than attack the facts, which he can’t really do, Turley disingenuously attempts to attack the process and Democrats, all based on some right-wing pro-Trump book someone is trying to sell. He knows, of course, that the disciples don’t know the difference between a paid political hack advancing criticism of the impeachment process versus the substance of whether Trump deserved to be impeached. He knows the faithful will interpret his commentary as more proof that Trumpy Bear is a widdle victim of the “evil Lef” because the impeachment “process” (of which he admits there is none) was unfair.. And, it is worth notiing the source of today’s little piece:

      1. Boris called…he said to go back to your ba bushka’s basement, your macaroni and cheese is almost ready.

    1. It may not be a criminal process, but it IS political, and like it or not, for the good of the country, unless you had due process the results would never be accepted by half the country. Same is true with the J6 committee. There is tons of relevant information coming out in filings, whistleblower affidavits & FOIA requests which contain facts the J6 committee knew but has ignored. Americans aren’t stupid- they know a sham when they see one. As badly as you all might want MAGA crushed, you can’t do it in this way because it will never take.

      1. Granny: first of all, Trump has never been supported by “half the country”. That’s an exaggeration. He’s never had even 1/3 of this country as diehard supporters. And, for his fans and disciples, which is what people like you are, nothing can make you see the truth about Trump, his lies, how he has always conned people, and always will. Name some, or any of the “tons of relevant information” you refer to that disproves the facts established by the J6 committee: go on–name some actual facts. You can’t because you are an alt-right disciple, so when Hannity, Ingraham, Tucker and Levin tell you that J6 is a “hoax”, or that, like Karen S claims, J6 was just a “family friendly protest that got out of control by a few yahoos”, you believe it. This is despite the fact that a reporter embedded with the Proud Boys documented their pre-Jan 6th reconnaissance and plans for diverting the Capitol Police away from one entrance, so they could gain entrance at another point of entry, the cache of weapons they had in a Virginia hotel room across the Potomac waiting for their exalted leader to give the “go” sign, the meetings at the Willard Hotel where they planned to invade the Capitol, and the biggest thing of all: the Big Lie–all the people who told Trump he lost, the plan to claim victory anyway and lie about fraud causing his loss instead of conceding as all previous election losers have done in US history. Bob Woodward’s book, called “Rage”, published in September, 2020, documents discussions with Trump campaign people who told him then that if Trump lost, as polls predicted he would, that he would claim his “victory” had been “stolen”. The “stop the steal” campaign rallies and J6 protest were planned well in advance, based on nothing but the ego of one pathetic person who massively failed as a leader and got voted out by the American people, but who can’t handle defeat like a man. The sad thing is, you think you are part of some righteous group called “MAGA”, but you are just a dupe of a con man with a big ego who is suffering from narcissism. He craves attention, power, glory, but has no leadership skills or patriotism as his failed presidency proves. No matter what lies he and his media enablers tell, you buy it. That’s what I will never understand.

      2. Granny61: “Americans aren’t stupid”
        I am beginning to believe they are. Look at the wretched political class they seem to have chosen. Short of rigged elections only mass stupidity can account for it.

    2. . BTW: while Hurricane Ian was devastating Florida, Trump was begging for contributions to his political PAC.

      Biden was fundraising at the Democrat Mayors Conference in DC. But the man occupying 1600 Pennsylvania ave, would rather shill for $’s than manage a disaster in progress.

  12. If this information about Nadler’s objection was being presented by a Breitbart reporter the left would call it Russian disinformation. However, one of the books authors is employed by the Washington Post. The Post has admitted that they got it wrong on the Steele dossier’s, the Hunter laptop and now they report that the use of impeachment for a witch hunt was also incorrectly reported as having veracity on their hallowed pages. Russia and the Washington Post are comrades in arms in the presentation of disinformation. Both entities are equally responsible for the undermining of the nation and will be considered to have done so when put under the eventual magnifying lens. The question that must remain is what two parties have perpetuated the most damage to our Democracy? Continued disclosures will provide the obvious answer to the question. Try as they might the reporters at the Post can not now wash away their guilt because they knew all along that what they were presenting was Post disinformation. Even knowing what they were doing they persisted in the ruse. A pox on both the Russian and Washington post houses of equal danger.

    1. Russian “disinformation” had no impact whatsoever. What do you mean when you say it undermined the US?

  13. Sometimes (… well, most of the time … Okay, all of the time) Pelosi and Shiff have to be above the law to protect democracy and the rule of law.

    1. RE:”all of the time) Pelosi and Shiff have to be above the law to protect democracy and the rule of law.” Holy ‘all animals are equal, except some animals are more equal than others’, Batman!! I’m guessing that YOU expect to be on the reviewing stand and NOT on the breadlines when the day comes. Or perhaps a high official on the Committee for Public Safety?

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