2. SOUNDBITE (English) Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School professor:
"President Trump's conduct, as described in the testimony and evidence, clearly constitutes impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors under the Constitution. In particular, the memorandum and other testimony relating to the July 25th, 2019 phone call between the two presidents, President Trump and Presidents Zelenskiy more than sufficiently indicates that President Trump abused his office by soliciting the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals in order to gain personal political advantage, including in relation to the 2020 election. Again, the words abuse of office are not mystical or magical. They are very clear. The abuse of office occurs when the president uses a feature of his power, the awesome power of his office, not to serve the interests of the American public, but to serve his personal individual, partisan electoral interests."
4. Wide, back view of hearing
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Pamela Karlan, Stanford Law School professor:
"Based on the evidence we record before you. What has happened in the case today is something that I do not think we have ever seen before. A president who has doubled down on violating his oath to faithfully execute the laws and to protect and defend the Constitution. The evidence reveals a president who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency. "
7.SOUNDBITE (English) Pamela Karlan, Stanford Law School professor:
"Put simply, a president should resist foreign interference in our elections, not demand it and not welcome it. If we are to keep faith with our Constitution and with our republic, President Trump must be held to account."
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Gerhardt, University of North Carolina law professor:
"If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on behalf of the next election. And, of course, his obstruction of Congress."
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor:
"Will an a slipshod impeachment make us less mad? Will it only invite an invitation for the madness to follow every future administration? That is why this is wrong. It's not wrong because President Trump is right. His call was anything but perfect. It's not wrong because the House has no legitimate reason to investigate the Ukrainian controversy. It's not wrong because we're in an election year. There is no good time for an impeachment. No. It's wrong because this is not how you impeach an American president. This case is not a case of the unknowable. It's a case of the peripheral. We have a record of conflicts, defenses that have not been fully considered unsubpoenaed witness with material evidence. To impeach a president on this record would expose every future president to the same type of inchoate impeachment."
The House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing quickly burst into partisan infighting Wednesday as Democrats charged that President Donald Trump must be removed from office for enlisting foreign interference in U.S. elections and Republicans angrily retorted there were no grounds for such drastic action.
The Judiciary Committee was hearing Wednesday from legal experts to determine whether Trump's actions stemming from the July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president rose to the constitutional level of “high crimes and misdemeanors" warranting impeachment.
At the hearing, Republican witness Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said that the Democrats were bringing a "slipshod impeachment" case against the president based on secondhand information. Still, Turley didn't excuse the president’s behavior.
“It is not wrong because President Trump is right," according to Turley. He called Trump's call with Ukraine “anything but 'perfect," as the president claims. “A case for impeachment could be made, but it cannot be made on this record," he said.
The remaining three witnesses, all called by Democrats, argued for impeachment.
Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan pointedly rebutted comments from Georgian Republican Doug Collins that the hearing was only hearing from law professors who hadn't had time to review the Intelligence Committee's report.
"I'm insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor, I don't care about those facts," she said, adding "but 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."
Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill argued that if Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning.
The political risks are high for all parties as the House presses only the fourth presidential impeachment inquiry in U.S. history.