Two anti-Trump legal scholars disagree on whether Donald Trump has been impeached at all, writes Alan Dershowitz in the WSJ
Noah Feldman says no. “If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president.”
Lawrence Tribe says yes. An affirmative vote on an article of impeachment, he maintains, is sufficient to impeach—but he also claims it’s proper to leave it at that.
Democrats Aiming for a Win-Win
In an op-ed, Mr. Tribe maintains that by declining to transmit the articles of impeachment, Mrs. Pelosi evidently found persuasive, “the Democrats would get a win-win. Mr. Trump would carry the stigma of impeachment and be denied the opportunity to erase it via acquittal,” writes Mr. Dershowitz.
Mr. Feldman and Mr. Tribe are both wrong, argues Mr. Dershowitz. “Mr. Tribe errs in asserting that the House can deny an impeached official a trial. Mr. Feldman errs in denying that the approval of articles of impeachment is sufficient to constitute an impeachment.”
Party Line Impeachment Deserves Party Line Acquittal
My view—which I suspect much of the public shares—is that Mr. Trump was impeached by a partisan vote and deserves to be acquitted by a partisan vote. The representatives who impeached him along party lines after devising partisan rules of inquiry have no principled argument against a party-line acquittal.