Legal experts dismantle Rudy Giuliani's claim that the courts should stop Democrats from impeaching Trump

Legal experts dismantle Rudy Giuliani's claim that the courts should stop Democrats from impeaching Trump

With more Democrats in the House of Representatives moving in favor of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's conduct, the president’s attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said Friday that Democrats should be stopped in court from going forward.

But as legal experts quickly pointed out, Giuliani — who has served as a U.S. attorney — made an argument that's completely contrary to the U.S. Constitution.

On Twitter, Giuliani said of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, “Based on no evidence supporting original falsified charge, Nadler wants to impeach. The entire investigation should be challenged in court as an unconstitutional attempt to destroy POTUS for political advantage. All the witch-hunt committees should be challenged in court.”

But Asha Rangappa, a CNN contributor and former associate dean at Yale Law School, saw Giuliani’s tweet and responded, “The Constitution gives the House the sole power of impeachment. While the process is quasi-judicial in form, the grounds on which it might choose to bring articles of impeachment are ultimately a political question in which the courts are not going to get involved.”

In response to Rangappa’s tweet, Elie Honig (a legal analyst for CNN), posted, “Exactly right. The Constitution even uses this exact language: ‘SOLE power of impeachment.’ What doesn’t Rudy understand about ‘sole?’”

At this point, the number of House Democrats who favor at least an inquiry on impeachment—although not necessarily a full vote on articles of impeachment — is over 130. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains wary of impeachment and maintains that House Democrats should stick to aggressive investigations of the president for now. Pelosi fears that impeachment could harm Democrats who are seeking reelection in swing districts in 2020.

“Legislate, investigate, litigate — that’s the path that we’ve been on, and that’s the path we continue to be on,” Pelosi told reporters during a press briefing on Thursday.

Pelosi went on to say, “Impeachment is a very divisive measure, but if we have to go there, we’ll have to go there. But we can’t go there unless we have the facts, and we will follow the facts.... and make our decision when we’re ready.”

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee, controlled by Democrats, voted to approve a set of rules for the ongoing inquiry of potentially impeachable conduct.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.