Statement to House Judiciary Committee
To the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives
We are a group of American lawyers from all walks of life dedicated to the rule of law and the preservation of our democracy (please see our website www.lawyersdefendingdemocracy.org). We urge the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to consider in the exercise of its current impeachment responsibilities the many ways President Donald Trump has abused his power and thereby threatens our constitutional framework and not confine itself to the Ukraine matter alone.
These include his refusal to permit Congress to exercise its oversight and impeachment responsibilities by directing current and former members of the executive branch to disregard lawful congressional subpoenas for documentary and testimonial evidence, his attempts to intimidate witnesses before the House Intelligence Committee in its impeachment enquiry, his vilification of those who testify before Congress in ways he considers to be critical of his activities, his attacks on the independence of the judiciary, his attacks on the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press by branding the media as an “enemy of the people,” his branding of those exercising constitutionally protected rights or responsibilities as “traitors,” his obstruction of justice in the Mueller investigation, his diversion of congressionally-appropriated funds to unauthorized uses and the use of his office for his and his family’s self-enrichment.
Not everyone will agree on whether activities like these constitute grounds for impeachment, but each is part of a pattern that reflects a contempt for the rule of law and the constitutional norms that are essential to the preservation of our democracy. As such, they, not just the Ukraine matter, are part of what we believe informs the impeachment process and should, therefore, be considered in the Committee’s exercise of its awesome responsibilities.
Members of the Steering Committee, Lawyers Defending American Democracy
Dated: December 4, 2019
Scott Harshbarger, Chairman
Ruth Ellen Fitch
Fred M. Lowenstein
Stanley J. Marcuss
John T. Montgomery
Gershon M. (Gary) Ratner