Presidential Historian Says Trump's Ukraine Actions 'Clearly Impeachable and Clearly Removable'

Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize–winning presidential biographer, said President Donald Trump's Ukraine dealings are clearly impeachable.

"[Let's] be very clear, before Twitter goes crazy. What the president did in the record now, to my mind, is clearly impeachable and clearly removable," Meacham said in a Thursday interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "Because he was giving away—he was compromising the sovereignty of our elections for personal benefit."

Yesterday, Congress held its first public impeachment hearing, where William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, and George Kent, a senior State Department official, said Trump prioritized "investigations of Biden" over Ukraine and infected relations with the country, respectively. With more hearings to follow in the coming days, Americans are largely divided on the merits of the impeachment inquiry, and so are Republican senators, according to The Hill.

Host Joe Scarborough slammed Republicans' defense of Trump in the hearing, when they said that Taylor and Kent didn't have firsthand knowledge of the president's talks.

"Yesterday was a very bad look for the Republican Party, and people who have been Republicans and conservatives their entire life said as much last night," he said.

That's been a "perennial problem" over the last three years, Meacham replied. "It may be a disease without a cure for the foreseeable future," he added. Still, Trump self-evidently participated in a plot against the sovereignty of the presidential election, Meacham said.

"That's the heart of this, right? And there's really not a heck of a lot of argument about it. The only argument now, it seems to me is that it didn't work," Meacham noted. Instead, the whistleblower blew the whistle, halting the plot.

"He released the aid because he got caught,"' Meacham said.

Should Trump Be Removed? Historian Says Yes
Congressional staff are reflected as the sun sets behind the U.S. Capitol Building on November 13. Joe Scarborough said about the impeachment inquiry, "Yesterday was a very bad look for the Republican Party, and people who have been Republicans and conservatives their entire life said as much last night." Mark Makela/Getty Images

Carl Bernstein, who helped break the Watergate scandal while working at The Washington Post, also says that impeachment is a possibility, Newsweek reported yesterday, since Republicans in the Senate are "sensitive" to their constituents' political leanings.

"The conventional wisdom is that he would be acquitted, the president, in the Senate," Bernstein said Tuesday in an interview with CNN. "I think it's a time to put conventional wisdom aside. We don't know. Senators are very sensitive to the will of the people and if the people in this country turn on these facts and this president, I think the Senate might as well."

The legality of Trump's actions depends on whether asking Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens is a "thing of value," according to former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey in an interview with PBS's News Hour.

Still, his activities could separately be in violation with the Constitution and the principals therein, such as whether he's fulfilling his oath of office, replied Carrie Cordero, an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, in the segment.

"And so the fundamental question is, is the president, when he's conducting foreign affairs, acting in the United States' interests, or is he using that position to work in the benefit of his own personal political ambitions? And that's not an appropriate use of his authority," Cordero said.