NASHVILLE — Republican state attorneys general from Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama joined 18 GOP colleagues from across the country Wednesday in a letter slamming U.S. House Democrats' impeachment articles of President Donald Trump, charging it is a "legally flawed" partisan effort that creates a "dangerous historical precedent."
As the GOP-controlled Senate's impeachment trial of Trump began its second day, attorneys general, including Herbert Slatery of Tennessee, Christopher Carr of Georgia and Steve Marshall of Alabama, urged senators to reject House Democrats' two articles of impeachment.
The Republican attorneys general argued it establishes a "new precedent [that] will erode the separation of powers shared by the executive and legislative branches by subjugating future presidents to the whims of the majority opposition party in the House of Representatives." It adds: "This body should never permit impeachment proceedings to proceed where they are permeated with the clearly partisan objective of energizing a political party's base to, ultimately, influence a presidential election."
Because "legal theories underlying both Articles I and II are legally flawed and factually insufficient, as well as inherently destructive of separation of powers, the Senate should explicitly reject them to protect both the institution of the Presidency and the Constitution," the attorneys general argue.
Almost all the 21 GOP attorneys general signing the letter are popularly elected by voters. However, Tennessee's Slatery is not, having been appointed by the five-member Tennessee Supreme Court, comprised of three Republican and two Democratic justices.
There are 26 Republican state attorneys general nationwide.
House Democrats' two articles of impeachment charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress with regard to the president and his allies' alleged effort to pressure Ukraine's leaders to launch and announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son's membership on the board of Burisma Holdings. The firm owns or has investments in several energy exploration and production companies. The president and his GOP allies say he did nothing wrong.
On Tuesday and into early Wednesday morning, GOP senators — including Sen. Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee — voted along party lines to approve Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's organizing resolutions, joining in to table 11 Democratic amendments seeking to subpoena White House and other officials and compel their testimony.
Democratic impeachment members have accused Trump of having stonewalled their efforts to investigate by refusing to provide documents and allow executive branch officials to testify.
Alexander stated last week that he could be open to requiring testimony of some officials if he believes it is warranted.
Contact Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550.