Pamela Karlan, professor of law at Stanford Law School, delivers her opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee's public impeachment hearing.
The Trump administration and Republicans launched an all-out offensive on Wednesday against the legal scholars testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
The White House and the GOP slammed three out of the four witnesses testifying before the House Judiciary Committee as having “known biases” against the president and of having “made up their minds long before today” that Trump should be impeached.
“3 of 4 ‘experts’ in this sham hearing have known biases against [Trump].” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted. “Not only is [the president] given no rights in this process, the Dems' ‘witnesses’ made up their minds long before today. The people of this country are being cheated of a Congress who works for them.”
Testifying on Wednesday are Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School; Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law School; Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina School of Law; and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University. Turley is the only witness called by Republicans.
Karlan said during her testimony that Trump's encouragement to Ukraine's president that the Ukrainian leader investigate Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden is an “especially serious abuse of power because it undermines democracy itself."
Feldman argued that the Founding Fathers thought it was essential that an American president could be removed from office and not be regarded as above the law. He added that Trump's behavior “embodies the framers’ concern that a sitting president would corruptly abuse the powers.”
Turley, however, dissented from his colleagues, arguing against trying to impeach Trump and saying he thinks the impeachment case would “collapse” and had insufficient evidence and proof.
During the testimony, Republican National Committee spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington tweeted a video of Feldman, Karlan and Gerhardt criticizing Trump and his administration’s policies.
“I was at the University of Pennsylvania Law School yesterday, where I teach a class, and my law class is still in therapy,” Gerhardt said, in a video taken shortly after the 2016 election.
That video also shows Feldman saying, “I’m a registered Democrat and have been my whole life”
The White House continued the assault on the witnesses with a series of talking points aimed at highlighting their anti-Trump biases, including showcasing a quote from Karlan from an American Constitution Society convention where she said she “had to cross the street” to avoid walking by the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Karlan did not take the criticism from the White House – or GOP members of the Judiciary Committee – lightly, telling the ranking Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, that she was insulted for suggesting that she is a partisan who doesn't care about the "facts."
"Everything I know about our Constitution and its values, and my review of the evidentiary record — and here Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing, because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts,” she said. “So I'm insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don't care about the facts.”
She added: “Everything I read on those occasions tells me that when President Trump invited, indeed demanded, foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to which we pledge allegiance."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.