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Categorically, three law professors ruled Wednesday at the United States Congress that the political trial procedure against President Donald Trump is justified and necessary to protect democracy, during a tense hearing that reflected the division between Democrats and Republicans.
A fourth expert, invited by Republican lawmakers, however found that the evidence is "insufficient" to accuse the president in the House of Representatives.
The Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, began the process at the end of September for the eventual removal of Trump after learning that the president had asked Ukraine to investigate former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, his potential rival in the elections in 2020
Democrats are convinced that the Republican president abused his powers to promote his re-election campaign, including the freezing of nearly $ 400 million in military aid for that country in conflict with Russia.
From the United Kingdom, Trump, who denies any pressure or blackmail to Kiev, considered "a joke" the Democratic report released on Tuesday, which presents "overwhelming evidence" of the "inappropriate behavior" of the president, and criticized his opponents for proceeding with the audience during their trip to a NATO summit.
After two months of investigation, marked by the testimony of 17 witnesses, the legislators began in their absence the legal debate to determine if their conduct corresponded to one of the grounds for dismissal mentioned in the Constitution: "treason, corruption or other crimes and major faults. "
Without hesitation, three prestigious university professors responded affirmatively to the query.
Experts in the United States Congress, this Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
"A king on American soil"
"If we cannot accuse a president who uses his power for personal purposes, we no longer live in a democracy, we live in a monarchy or a dictatorship," said Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, questioned by the House Judicial Committee .
"Involving a foreign government in our electoral process is a particularly serious abuse of power because it weakens democracy," said Pamela Karlan of Stanford University.
"If Congress does not dismiss it, the impeachment process will have lost its meaning, as will the constitutional guarantees aimed at preventing the installation of a king on American soil," said Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina.
In full hearing, the White House accused these three experts of having "a known bias" against the president. "The 'witnesses' of the Democrats decided their opinion a long time ago," spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham tweeted, denouncing "a false hearing."
A fourth expert, invited by the Republican minority, gave a more favorable analysis to the president.
Jonathan Turley, of George Washington University, lamented the lack of "direct evidence" and the "precipitation" of the Democrats. "Political trial procedures that are too small, too fast, have failed," he said.
In this debate, "there is much more anger than reason," he lamented.
"A waste of time"
In fact, both Democrats and Republicans were virulent on Wednesday.
Trump "was willing to compromise our security and his position for personal and political benefits," said Democratic lawmaker Jerry Nadler, who chairs the Judiciary Committee.
But Judicial Committee number two, Doug Collins, took the floor to reject these accusations, suggesting that Democrats wanted to organize a "coup d'etat" with this procedure.
"It's a farce," he said. "This is not a political judgment" but "a waste of time."
The Judiciary Committee is considering four charges against the president: abuse of power, corruption, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.
If the panel considers them to be relevant, it will write the so-called "articles of accusation", which would be submitted to a plenary vote in the lower house of Congress, which could occur even before Christmas.
Given the Democratic majority in the House, Trump is expected to enter history books as the third president of the United States to be subjected to a political trial, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, both acquitted.
But Trump is unlikely to be removed from office, as the trial will take place in the Senate controlled by Republicans, where a two-thirds majority would be necessary to dismiss him.
Like lawmakers, Americans are divided over Trump's impeachment process: 48.9% support him versus 43.9% who oppose, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.