Donald Trump‘s steadfast refusal to in any way participate in the impeachment process against him is itself an impeachable offense, said constitutional law expert Neal Kaytal.
As HuffPost reports, Kaytal, who was at one time the Acting U.S. Solicitor General (the lawyer who represents the federal government in cases before the Supreme Court), has authored a new book, Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday, Kaytal laid out the reasons why he believes Donald Trump has committed an impeachable offense simply for not cooperating with the impeachment inquiry against him.
“The idea that a president on his own can unilaterally say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to bother cooperating with an impeachment investigation’? That is the essence of constitutional arrogance and the destruction of our separation of powers. I think it is an impeachable offense just the way the president has acted toward this impeachment investigation,” he said.
Trump has already stated, through his attorney Pat A. Cipollone, that he will not testify when the House of Representatives resumes impeachment hearings this week. As The Washington Post reports, Cipollone sent the House Judiciary Committee a five-page letter explaining why Trump wouldn’t participate, claiming that the committee hasn’t given the president “any semblance of a fair process.”
Trump has also forbidden members of the Executive Branch from testifying, an order that some have followed, some have ignored, and at least one has asked a court to decide on. The president has also refused to provide any documents or accounts of phone calls to the House Judiciary Committee.
In a general sense, Trump has publicly belittled the entire process, calling it a “hoax.”
“I can’t think of something that is more destructive to our Constitution,” Kaytal said.
Kaytal also noted that the Constitution specifically lays out the process for impeaching a president who has committed Trump’s purported actions. Kaytal said these include being “beholden to a foreign power” or trying to interfere with their own re-election.
Kaytal continued on, saying he is convinced that there is more than enough evidence of impeachable offenses that has been gathered against the president. For example, Kaytal said the evidence is clear that Trump committed bribery. Even if nothing else is proven to be true, Kaytal said the Constitution is clear when it comes to bribery, making it an undeniable impeachable offense which can demand the president’s removal from office.