More than 700 historians sign letter calling for House to impeach Trump

A group of more than 700 historians urged the House of Representatives to vote to impeach President Trump, writing in a public letter that Trump’s disregard for the rule of law represents a “clear and present danger to the Constitution.”

“It is our considered judgment that if President Trump’s misconduct does not rise to the level of impeachment, then virtually nothing does,” the scholars write in the letter, which was shared on Medium by Protect Democracy, a nonprofit advocacy group.

The letter comes as the House prepares to move forward with a historic vote on articles of impeachment against the president. The lower chamber is expected to vote on articles charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Wednesday. 

Renowned historians Ron Chernow, John Meacham and Douglas Brinkley, as well as legendary filmmaker Ken Burns, were among the letter’s signatories. 

The historians argue that “Trump’s numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the Framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president.” Citing Alexander Hamilton, they also assert that Trump’s alleged offenses arouse the Constitution’s authors’ fear that powerful members of the government would become”mercenary instruments of foreign corruption.” 

“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,” they write. “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.”

They conclude by arguing that Trump’s behavior fits Hamilton’s description of an “unscrupulous demagogue,” adding that Trump’s “scorn for the rule of law” and repeated injuries to democracy demand impeachment. 

Protect Democracy earlier this month published a separate letter from more than 500 law professors urging the House to impeach the president. That letter argued that there was “overwhelming evidence” that Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to pressure a foreign nation to open investigations into a political opponent. 

The arguments echo those made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the rest of Democratic leadership. Trump and GOP lawmakers have fiercely pushed back against the charges, asserting that Democrats’ case lacks necessary evidence and that Trump was most concerned about corruption in his dealings with Ukraine.  

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