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Matthew Whitaker, former acting Attorney General for the Trump administration, offered a both tenuous and stunning defense of President Donald Trump in his fight against impeachment, arguing that “abuse of power is not a crime.”
Speaking with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Whitaker blasted the House Democrats for “secret testimony” and “selective leaking to preferred outlets” after warning that a future Republican Speaker of the House could similarly seek “a lot of payback” against a Democratic president. “This is not good for the Republic,” he added.
Ingraham agreed, calling the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s Ukraine scandal “corrosive” before repeating the conspiracy theory talking points FBI agent Peter Strzok having a failed “insurance policy” to bring down Trump if he won the 2016 election.
“Remember, these global elitists, these careerists have made promises and have set in place a world establishment that operated a certain way, and President Trump has asks questions like ‘Why do we do this this way?'” Whitaker said, picking up on theme of a so-called deep state campaign before pivoting to his unique argument in defense of Trump. “I’m a former prosecutor and what I know is this is a perfect time for preliminary hearings, where you would say ‘Show us your evidence. What evidence of a crime do you have?’ Abuse of power is not a crime. Let’s fundamentally boil it down, the Constitution is very clear that there has to be some pretty egregious behavior and they cannot tell the American people what this case is even about.”
In fact, the Constitution prescribes impeachment of the president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” And what exactly constitutes “high crimes and misdemeanors” was elaborated upon in Federalist Papers No. 65, which explicitly calls impeachment the remedy for “political” crimes that involve “abuse or violation of some public trust.”
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