WASHINGTON — During a hearing for the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R) questioned whether several presidents in American history, including Abraham Lincoln, had committed impeachable offenses while in office.
Wednesday's hearing was the first inquiry event for the House Judiciary Committee, and it was the first time Coloradans have participated in the inquiry proceedings. Buck, from Windsor, and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D), from Lafayette, both sit on the committee.
Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan and University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt were invited to testify by House Democrats. House Republicans invited George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.
During his five minutes for questions, Buck argued against testimony from the three Democratic-chosen witnesses and laid out a list of past presidents’ actions to ask Turley if they are worthy of impeachment.
“The other three witnesses have identified this amorphous standard for impeaching a president. They’ve said that if a president abuses his power for personal or political gain, it’s impeachable conduct,” Buck said, before offering his examples ranging from Lincoln to Barack Obama.
“How about when Abraham Lincoln arrested legislators in Maryland so that they wouldn’t convene to secede from the Union. And Virginia already had seceded, so it would have placed Washington D.C., the nation’s capital, in the middle of the rebellion. Would that have been an abuse of power for political benefit?” Bucked asked.
You can watch Buck's full questioning here.
In his time, Neguse spoke on the topic of obstruction.
“Am I correct that no president in the history of the Republic, before President Trump, has ever issued a general order instructing executive branch officials not to testify in an impeachment inquiry?” Neguse asked, to which Turley responded that he could not affirmatively say that, as former President Richard Nixon went to court over various documents and lost.
"President Nixon did in fact allow his chief of staff and his chief councilor to testify, and this president has not. We know that President Clinton responded to interrogatories propounded by that impeachment inquiry, and that this president has not," Neguse said.
You can see Neguse's questions here.
Colorado's entire Congressional delegation is split on the idea of impeachment along party lines.
Read more on Wednesday's hearing here.
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