Six hundred law professors signed on to a letter released Friday that succinctly makes the case for impeachment. In a single page, they explain the constitutional basis for impeachment and apply the facts at hand to reach their conclusion.

Impeachment, they explain, is needed when the political check on a president, an election, is corrupted. “At the Constitutional Convention, George Mason described impeachable offenses as ‘attempts to subvert the constitution,’ ” they write. “Corrupting elections subverts the process by which the Constitution makes the president democratically accountable. Put simply, if a President cheats in his effort at re-election, trusting the democratic process to serve as a check through that election is no remedy at all.”

Impeachment is also a critical check when the president engages corruptly with foreign powers. “James Madison noted that Congress must be able to remove the president between elections lest there be no remedy if a president betrayed the public trust in dealings with foreign powers,” the professors explain.

So corrupting elections and engaging in nefarious dealings with foreign powers are both grounds for impeachment. In the case of President Trump, we have both:

William B. Taylor, who leads the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, testified that President Trump directed the withholding of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid for Ukraine in its struggle against Russia — aid that Congress determined to be in the U.S. national security interest — until Ukraine announced investigations that would aid the President’s re-election campaign. Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified that the President made a White House visit for the Ukrainian president conditional on public announcement of those investigations. In a phone call with the Ukrainian president, President Trump asked for a “favor” in the form of a foreign government investigation of a U.S. citizen who is his political rival. President Trump and his Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney made public statements confirming this use of governmental power to solicit investigations that would aid the President’s personal political interests. The President made clear that his private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was central to efforts to spur Ukrainian investigations, and Mr. Giuliani confirmed that his efforts were in service of President Trump’s private interests.

We could add to that fact pattern the following: Trump publicly invited, on the White House driveway no less, Ukraine and China to aid his reelection (just as he did with Russia in the 2016 election); Giuliani has made clear that “corruption” in their vernacular meant “investigating the Bidens”; Trump never raised “corruption” with Ukraine’s president but he did mention the Bidens and Crowdstrike; Trump used unsecure phones to avoid creating a record of his calls; and he has withheld documents and barred all senior officials and ex-officials from testifying in an across-the-board assault on the constitutional process that serves to check him.

The arguments will have little effect on the House Republicans, virtually all of whom seem to be content to make spurious process arguments (only to be undercut by Trump, who does not want to participate in House impeachment hearings and wants them to be over — fast!), mouth Russian propaganda and smear public servants. The law professors’ arguments surely will not affect the president’s rabid base. However, the application of law to the facts might make a dent in the wall of denial thrown up by Senate Republicans.

Unlike their House counterparts, Republican senators, even Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), can grasp that if Trump did what he is accused of doing, there can be grounds for impeachment. (“If you could show me that Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing,” he conceded. I would direct Graham to the testimony of Sondland, Taylor and David Holmes and the public confession by Mulvaney.

Simply put, when Trump told George Stephanopoulos that he would have no problem accepting dirt from a foreign power (hypothetically, of course), a number of Republican senators went nuts. Now, when the issue is not hypothetical but concrete — Trump, we can read in the rough transcript of the phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, initiated the request for foreign help against his rival — these same senators have to decide if they are prepared to condone the conduct, opening the door to foreign usurpation of our democratic election process.

The law professors do us a service in making this simple: You cannot let a president corrupt an election by inviting foreign interference by simply letting the corrupted election play out. In addition to Trump’s brazen obstruction, which would make congressional oversight difficult if not impossible, Senate Republicans must understand that acquitting Trump could mean putting the president above the law, beyond the reach of the other branches and even the voters. Maybe a few of them will pause before creating an unbridled autocrat.

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