Raskin makes legal case for Trump impeachment

Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial opened Tuesday with video of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on Congress and the former president whipping up a crowd. “If that's not an impeachable offense, then there's no such thing,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. (Feb. 9)

Video Transcript

JAMIE RASKIN: The president was impeached by the US House of Representatives on January 13 for doing that. You ask what a high crime and misdemeanor is under our Constitution. That's a high crime and misdemeanor. If that's not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing.

The transition of power is always the most dangerous moment for democracies. Every historian will tell you that. We just saw it in the most astonishing way. We lived through it.

And you know what? The framers of our Constitution knew it. That's why they created a Constitution with an oath written into it that binds the president from his very first day in office until his very last day in office and every day in between. Under that Constitution and under that oath, the President of the United States is forbidden to commit high crimes and misdemeanors against the people at any point that he's in office. Indeed, that's one specific reason the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification powers exist, to protect us against presidents who try to overrun the power of the people in their elections and replace the rule of law with the rule of mobs.

These powers must apply even if the president commits his offenses in his final weeks in office. In fact, that's precisely when we need them the most. Because that's when elections get attacked.

The Senate has the power, the sole power, to try all impeachments. All means all. And there are no exceptions to the rule. Because the Senate has jurisdiction to try all impeachments, it most certainly has jurisdiction to try this one.

It's really that simple. The vast majority of constitutional scholars who've studied the question and weighed in on the proposition being advanced by the president, this January exception heretofore unknown, agree with us. And that includes the nation's most prominent conservative legal scholars.