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Trump’s conduct ‘worse than Nixon’ and a textbook case of impeachable ‘high crimes’, law professors testify

DONALD Trump’s conduct is "worse than President Nixon" and a textbook case of impeachable "high crimes", law professors have testified.

A hearing is currently under way into claims the US President pressured Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 presidential election.

 Trump has been accused of worse conduct than any president before him
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Trump has been accused of worse conduct than any president before himCredit: AFP or licensors

The impeachment hearing is examining bombshell allegations that Trump had solicited foreign interference effort to dig dirt on White House challenger Joe Biden.

Four constitutional scholars, including three called by Democrats and one called by Republicans, have now testified at the public hearings.

Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, said: “If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable.

“The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favour from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president.”

The committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said that Trump was the first president whose actions ticked all the boxes for impeachment: “Treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

He said: “Never before has a president engaged in a course of conduct that included all the acts that most concerned the framers."

Prof Gerhardt added: “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."

The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favour from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president

Professor Michael Gerhardt

But the witness called by Republicans, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, offered an opposing view.

He said: "We are all mad and where has it taken us?

"Will a slipshod impeachment make us less mad or will it only give an invitation for the madness to follow in every future administration?”

It comes after a draft impeachment report accused Donald Trump of abusing the “power of his office” to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump had asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Hunter Biden – the son of his main Democratic rival in next year’s presidential election.

He also threatened to withhold £307million in military aid from Ukraine and a White House meeting, if the country refused to help.

The report said Trump “placed his own personal and political interests” above the US national interest - seeking to undermine democracy and endanger national security.

'UNDERMINE DEMOCRACY'

It added: “The impeachment inquiry…uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.”

The latest hearings are the last stop before the proceedings could move to the House floor for a vote to impeach.

The report also said Trump’s “scheme subverted US foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security” in favour of “investigations that would help his presidential re-election”.

The document does not recommend his impeachment and removal from office.

But it laid out the framework which Democrats will use to push for impeachment – as well as blasting Trump for obstructing the probe.

House Democrats released the report after the intelligence panel conducted a handful of closed-door meetings with witnesses and five days of public hearings.

If the full House of Representatives eventually votes to approve formal impeachment charges, a trial would be held in the Republican-led US Senate.

An unlikely two-thirds majority of those present would be required to convict and remove Trump from office.

 The US President allegedly solicited foreign interference to dig dirt on White House challenger Joe Biden and his son Hunter
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The US President allegedly solicited foreign interference to dig dirt on White House challenger Joe Biden and his son HunterCredit: Getty
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff speaks after of release impeachment report detailing 'overwhelming' evidence of misconduct


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