Donald Trump‘s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is “clearly” an impeachable offense, says Jack Goldsmith, a conservative legal analyst who served in the George W. Bush administration. Further, Goldsmith claims that the phone call is “probably the 300th thing Trump has done that’s an impeachable offense.”
Appearing on Yahoo News‘ In The Game podcast, Goldsmith explained that Trump’s phone call to Zelensky, in which he pressured Zelensky to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden — purportedly in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in military aide — is an obvious impeachable offense. However, he went on to criticize the way the Democrats are handling the impeachment inquiry.
For example, he notes that the House of Representatives is proceeding with the inquiry without actually holding a formal vote to authorize the inquiry, something that happened when both Nixon and Clinton were scrutinized.
“It’s not giving Trump the same procedural protections and rights that Clinton had and Nixon had,” Goldsmith said.
Trump himself has criticized the fact that the House never held a formal vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry, and has vowed not to cooperate with the inquiry unless and until that happens, as USA Today reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for her part, says there is “no requirement” spelled out in the Constitution for the House to hold such a vote.
Similarly, Goldsmith noted that Trump does not have counsel in the inquiry, like Richard Nixon did. Nixon resigned before the House held a vote on Articles of Impeachment.
Further, Goldsmith noted that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff committed a rather egregious error in statements he made back in September. At the time, Schiff told reporters that neither he nor his staff had “spoken directly with the whistleblower.” As it turns out, despite having claimed otherwise, Intelligence Committee staffers spoke to the whistleblower as early as August, which means that, for the better part of a month, Schiff was privy to knowledge about the whistleblower complaint that got the ball rolling on the impeachment inquiry.
“When the president’s opponents cut corners, don’t tell the truth, seem like they’re in league with bureaucrats to try to bring down the president, it just fosters that narrative and I think it’s a very destructive narrative,” Goldsmith said.
Still, Goldsmith says that Schiff’s mishandling of the truth pales in comparison to Trump’s activities.
“In the general scheme of things, what Schiff did doesn’t even compare to what the president did,” Goldsmith said.