Harvard Law Professor Says Impeachment Process Is About the 'Right to Vote'

In a USA Today op-ed published Saturday, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe argued that there is a greater thing at stake associated with President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry.

"This impeachment process is about the right to vote," he wrote. "Your right to vote. Our right to live in a free country, governing our own lives. Nothing less is at stake."

Titled "Why care about the Trump impeachment? Your right to vote in free elections is at stake," Tribe's piece does not theorize that Americans will literally lose the right to vote. He stated that foreign powers tampering with U.S. elections is a threat to Americans' right to choose their own leaders. He asked if Trump's actions leave U.S. elections "exposed to lawless, often clandestine, manipulation by foreign governments that have anything but our best interests at heart."

A constitutional scholar, Tribe stated that he believes Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is an impeachable offense. "It's the telltale personal nature of the benefit Trump demanded — technically, 'requested' — that makes his conduct a bribe by any definition and an abuse of office in the sense of greatest concern to the framers," he wrote. "Any pretense that Trump was simply seeking to get Ukraine to clean up its act and fight corruption is blown out of the water by the proven facts."

Referencing Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan's testimony during the impeachment hearings, Tribe warned of the dangers of foreign interference in U.S. election. "It was none other than Justice Brett Kavanaugh who wrote in a 2011 decision later affirmed summarily and unanimously by the Supreme Court: 'the United States has a compelling interest ... in limiting the participation of foreign citizens," much less foreign governments, 'in activities of American democratic self-government, and in thereby preventing foreign influence over the U.S. political process,'" he wrote.

Tribe also warned that there is no reason the average American should be indifferent during the impeachment, because it is an issue that will affect all Americans. He said that impeaching Trump is necessary for "protecting the Constitution from a president who doesn't give two hoots about it, much less understand a word of it."

The scholar also wrote in the op-ed that a passage from his book he co-wrote with Joshua Matz, To End a Presidency, was mentioned by the Republican counsel at the recent House impeachment inquiry hearing. "The passage continued by describing the even greater dangers posed by a purely partisan, personality-driven refusal to impeach and remove a president who has clearly committed 'high crimes and misdemeanors.' But the Republican counsel left out that part."

Laurence Tribe
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 12: Attorney Laurence H. Tribe attends The ACLU of Southern California's 2011 Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on December 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images/Getty