Crime required for impeachment? Not so, say legal experts
WASHINGTON — The defense in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial may sound very similar to the defense in the first impeachment case in American history.
Back in 1868, a lawyer for President Andrew Johnson argued that Johnson couldn’t be removed from office because Johnson hadn’t committed a crime.
Today, one of Trump’s lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, is planning to argue at Trump’s trial that impeachment requires “criminal-like conduct.”
But legal scholars dispute the idea that the Founding Fathers ever intended for impeachable offenses to require proof of a crime. Historians also are skeptical about crediting this argument with securing Johnson’s narrow acquittal.
COPYRIGHT 2020 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.