Last Updated on December 19, 2019
Noah Feldman, who helped the Democrats make their flimsy case for impeaching President Donald Trump, now says the president cannot be impeached until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives the passed articles of impeachment to the Senate.
In an op-ed for Bloomberg, Feldman makes the case that President Trump has not technically impeached, and will not technically be impeached until Pelosi takes the procedural step of informing the Senate of the House’s decision.
If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.
That’s because “impeachment” under the Constitution means the House sending its approved articles of to the Senate, with House managers standing up in the Senate and saying the president is impeached.
As for the headlines we saw after the House vote saying, “TRUMP IMPEACHED,” those are a media shorthand, not a technically correct legal statement. So far, the House has voted to impeach (future tense) Trump. He isn’t impeached (past tense) until the articles go to the Senate and the House members deliver the message.
The lack of action on Pelosi’s behalf also likely provides a source of embarrassment to the media, which gleefully reported that the president has been impeached.
Pelosi, for her part, appears to be slow walking the process in light of news that Senate leadership, including Sen. Mitch McConnel (R-KY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) intend to immediately acquit the president.
By acquitting the president rapidly, the news cycle would almost certainly be taken away from the Democrats, who are riding triumphantly on their recent impeachment vote.
National File extensively reported on Feldman’s colorful history. Feldman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, has a PhD in Islamic Thought, and helped write the Iraqi constitution after the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of the country led to a new regime. In this constitution, Feldman sought to make the Iraqi government a representative theocracy, adding components of Sharia law to a democratic government.
Feldman boasts a PhD in Islamic Thought he earned from Oxford University in 1994.
This credential, along with others, led him to take part in writing the new constitution of Iraq after the United States-led invasion, something President Trump strongly advised against as a private citizen, and attempted to add Islamic influences to the Democratic government, sparking sharp criticism from other foreign policy experts.
Additionally, Feldman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an organization that is largely seen to be pro-war and pro-American imperialism, and was described by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a staunch ally of President Trump, as a “pernicious den of snakes.”
Feldman also frequently writes for the New York Times Magazine, a publication frequently derided as an “enemy of the people” by President Trump.
In addition to writing for New York Times Magazine, Feldman previously wrote for Bloomberg, an organization which was stripped of its press credentials by President Trump after it decided to exclusively cover Republicans, and not Democrats, in the 2020 election.
Interestingly, Feldman, who is Jewish, is also a strong critic of Orthodox Judiasm, having claimed that he has been disowned by many Orthodox Jews for his decision to marry a woman who is not Jewish.
According to his Bloomberg piece, Feldman worries that President Trump may never truly be impeached, and that the president will be able to use this as a political talking point on the campaign trail in 2020.
To be sure, if the House just never sends its articles of impeachment to the Senate, there can be no trial there. That’s what the “sole power to impeach” means.
But if the House never sends the articles, then Trump could say with strong justification that he was never actually impeached. And that’s probably not the message Congressional Democrats are hoping to send.
It remains to be seen whether Pelosi will be spurred into action by the Bloomberg article.