Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Laurence Tribe

Laurence Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and professor of constitutional law at Harvard and the co-author of To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment. From the transcript of his Q&A with Slate's Dahlia Lithwick:

Dahlia Lithwick: I want to ask a question about magical thinking. Is the corollary to Democrats saying “impeachment, 25th Amendment, Mueller, impeachment, 25th Amendment, Mueller” for the Trump team to keep saying “collusion, collusion, collusion” as though there’s something magical about the term collusion? As a purely factual legal matter, collusion isn’t actually a thing. Whenever Trump or Giuliani says there’s been proven no collusion, that’s not the totality of the Mueller brief in the first instance. So why hang on to the notion that we’ve been cleared of collusion, and therefore everything is gone? Is that a deliberate distortion, or am I misapprehending something?

Laurence Tribe: No, I think it is a deliberate distortion, but I think which C-word one uses, whether it’s collusion, conspiracy, cooperation, co-optation, really doesn’t matter as much as the fundamental question of whether this guy abused the system in order to become president, the way James Clapper argues in a recent book, Facts and Fears. Clapper makes a strong case that but for Kremlin-directed intervention, ordered specifically by Putin, Donald Trump would not be president. And the fact is it wasn’t a passive Donald Trump. There were people around him, and maybe Trump himself, who were facilitating that. It doesn’t really matter what little label you put on it. That is clearly an abuse.

We should remember that the question about Trump is not simply the question of whether he’s committed a technical violation of an anti-conspiracy statute or of the obstruction provisions of 18 USC. The real question of abuse of power is not limited to criminality. The president didn’t commit a crime when he pardoned Joe Arpaio, but it was a clear abuse of the pardon power. He...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue