This seems to be the case even if you claim that there is an open and closed case for criminal incitement.
Tribe even opposed criminal bribery and perjury (and possibly murder) as criminal acts against the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998. Now, however, he believes a tweet can be final if it came from the White House or what appears to be a campaign funding violation that occurred prior to the inauguration. The tweet is particularly interesting, as Tribe explained in 1998 that partisan decisions and declarations must be given a certain leeway for a president: “To let partisan considerations influence one’s own decisions, for example, is always an incontestable abuse of power in a judge. Almost never would it be in a president. “While Tribe has on occasion linked his previous association with official functions, he is also cited for these alleged crimes, which appear far weaker than perjury or bribery he committed as president.
The same applies to the Tribe obstacle analysis. In 1998, he denied impeachment, which included charges of obstruction against Clinton, including conduct in office. Now, however, Tribe has advocated both the prosecution and impeachment of a variety of ill-defined theories of disability, despite the fact that Special Adviser Robert Mueller has found no evidence of intent to hinder.
This also applies to witnesses. The tribe criticized Judge Norma Holloway Johnson for having Monica Lewinsky meet with the property managers or lift the immunity from prosecution negotiated with Starr last year. The tribe insisted that the Order may have violated the doctrine of separation of powers – a highly dubious interpretation of the constitution. Tribe was not a vocal supporter of witnesses in the Clinton impeachment, but he was a vocal supporter of such testimony against Trump, even after promoting the House’s abbreviated impeachments in both impeachments. He praised the brilliance of spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, who, on the pretext of urgency, pushed for impeachment proceedings without witnesses in the judicial committee and then waited weeks for impeachment proceedings to be transmitted. (The tribe insisted that coercing witnesses gave the Democrats an advantage, which of course they didn’t). I have assisted witnesses with all impeachments. Indeed, failure to call Lewinsky resulted in important evidence not appearing in court. Lewinsky recently claimed that Clinton called her to get her to change her testimonial.
For the recording, I should note that Tribe attacked me personally as a “hack” in the interview. It is sad that such a personal attack is no longer noteworthy to Tribe. Tribe has called Trump a “terrorist” and supported a long litany of highly dubious criminal theories. He previously told CNN, “If you want to shoot him, you have to shoot to kill.” The tribe called Senator Mitch McConnell a “flagrant moron!” and loves to use Trump-like slurs like “McTurtle” to refer to the Senator. He later mocked former Attorney General Bill Barr for his Catholic faith. His report has been described by critics as a “vector of misinformation and conspiracy theories on Twitter,” in which Tribe routinely perpetrates vulgar attacks on people who hold opposing views. Tribe delights his followers by calling Trump “Dick” or “Dickhead in Chief”. Such insults and verbal abuse are all ignored when Tribe consistently assures that Trump can be prosecuted or charged on an ever-growing list of criminal offenses. In fact, the only time Tribe has drawn a bit of criticism from the left was when he described the selection of an African American like Kamala Harris as vice president as a purely “cosmetic” choice.
Regarding the substantive issue of retrospective legal proceedings, Tribe said that “not long ago I wrote the opposite”. What Tribe called “not so long ago” was real over two decades ago. He refers to a brief discussion of the trial of William Belknap after he stepped down in a long paper on the history and role of impeachments as Secretary of War. In my 1999 Duke Law Journal article on impeachment, I wrote: “[t]However, the Senate majority rightly believed that impeachments have historically been extended to former officials like Warren Hastings. “See Jonathan Turley, Senate Trials and Faction Disputes: Impeachment as a Madison Device49 Duke Law Journal 1-146 (1999) (emphasis added). Some have quoted this line to show that I have changed my position on the matter. It doesn’t. It has actually been used retrospectively as a historical matter in the UK, which I have always acknowledged. I explained that the Belknap trial obviously shows that these trials have a value beyond the distance as a condemnation of wrongdoing and disqualification from future office. This is obvious since Belknap was no longer in office. I still believe that.
While I haven’t dealt with the essay questions on the President’s retroactive impeachment, it is correct that my view of constitutional interpretation has evolved over the past three decades of academic writing (and as an attorney and witness on previous impeachments of the President and the Justice). As I have stated, I would change little about the history or value of such attempts in the paragraph of the Duke play. I would like to add my textual concerns on what I still consider to be a narrow and unresolved question. I believe that the value of such retrospective attempts outweigh the benefits that aid closer textual interpretation.
In the end, my main objections to Tribe’s analysis are not just his personal or ad hominem attacks. It’s the other consistent element: certainty. In the impeachments of Clinton and Trump, Tribe regularly called for clarity and certainty on issues that have divided academics. Trump, who appears on CNN, regularly assures viewers that opposing positions are stupid and nonsensical, and personally attacks both political and academic figures. This undermines an important national debate. In virtually every interview I’ve given on retrospective studies, I’ve found this to be a narrow question that academics disagree on.
It seems like social media anger has corrupted such a dialogue for some academics who prefer to engage in unsubstantiated attacks and exaggerated analysis. As academics, we can, by example, regain a level of courtesy and substance in our national dialogue. We can exchange insults like school children or have a passionate but deliberate debate. This may sound naive or even “stupid” to some. However, it is exactly what distinguishes intellectual from visceral discourse.