The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

More than 700 scholars pen letter urging House to impeach Trump

President Trump on Dec. 16 said his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani did not share "too much" of his alleged findings in Ukraine with him (Video: Reuters, Photo: Jabin Botsford/Reuters)

A group of more than 700 historians, legal scholars and others published an open letter Monday urging the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump, denouncing his conduct as “a clear and present danger to the Constitution.”

The letter’s release comes two days before the House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment.

“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,” the scholars write in the letter, which was published online by the nonprofit advocacy group Protect Democracy.

“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 add.

Attacks on both sides got heated and personal as the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump. (Video: The Washington Post)

Protect Democracy also released a letter earlier this month from more than 500 law professors asserting that Trump had committed “impeachable conduct.”

Among the notable signatories of the latest letter are award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, biographer Robert A. Caro and historians Ron Chernow, Jon Meacham and Douglas Brinkley.

In the letter, the scholars criticize Trump’s “numerous and flagrant abuses of power” and state that his actions “urgently and justly require his impeachment.”

“As Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist, impeachment was designed to deal with ‘the misconduct of public men’ which involves ‘the abuse or violation of some public trust,’ ” they write.

“Collectively, the President’s offenses, including his dereliction in protecting the integrity of the 2020 election from Russian disinformation and renewed interference, arouse once again the Framers’ most profound fears that powerful members of government would become, in Hamilton’s words, ‘the mercenary instruments of foreign corruption,’ ” they add. “It is our considered judgment that if President Trump’s misconduct does not rise to the level of impeachment, then virtually nothing does.”