More than 750 historians have joined in support of the hundreds of Democratic lawmakers who are preparing to impeach President Donald Trump after he lobbied Ukraine to investigate his rivals, even as he adamantly denies wrongdoing and on Tuesday struck back at the House of Representatives in biting fashion.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historians such as Robert Caro and Ron Chernow signed the letter, while famed documentarian Ken Burns also added his name to the long list of experts who are calling on the House to impeach the president.
A successful vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump, 73, is expected this week. He is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“It is our considered judgment that if President Trump’s misconduct does not rise to the level of impeachment, then virtually nothing does,” the letter reads.
BREAKING STATEMENT: 750+ historians add their voices on #impeachment— Protect Democracy (@protctdemocracy) December 17, 2019
"President Trump’s numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the Framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president."https://t.co/qCsP25oZ1E
The two impeachment charges stem from a months-long probe into whether President Trump pressured Ukraine’s government by withholding some $400 million in military aid until the country agreed to investigate his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
Investigators say Trump used the power of the presidency for his own political gain, though he has denied any wrongdoing. Democratic lawmakers in the House also say Trump obstructed their investigation.
“President Trump’s lawless obstruction of the House of Representatives, which is rightly seeking documents and witness testimony in pursuit of its constitutionally-mandated oversight role, has demonstrated brazen contempt for representative government,” the historians’ letter reads. “So have his attempts to justify that obstruction on the grounds that the executive enjoys absolute immunity, a fictitious doctrine that, if tolerated, would turn the president into an elected monarch above the law.”
Though it’s likely the Democratic House will vote to impeach President Trump this week, he’ll unlikely be removed from office through a Republican-led Senate trial that would follow in January.
Trump would become the third president in United States history to be impeached, joining President Bill Clinton and President Andrew Johnson.
President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached for his part in the Watergate scandal.
No president has ever been removed from office through impeachment, however.
The 750-plus historians who signed Tuesday’s open letter calling for Trump’s impeachment join more than 850 legal scholars who penned their own open letter calling for the same.
“There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress,” read their letter, published earlier this month. “His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution.”
On Tuesday, President Trump published a letter of his own — a blistering “protest” of the Democrats’ impeachment process — which was released by the White House.
“You have cheapened the importance of that very ugly word, impeachment!” he wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.