Neal Katyal, who served in the Justice Department role under former President Barack Obama, made the prediction on Twitter after Trump’s defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz argued during impeachment proceedings that “if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”
“The fact a President would send his lawyer out to say such grossly unconstitutional things highlights the need for impeachment,” Katyal tweeted in response. “If he believes he can do anything, so long as 1 of his motives is to win reelection, he won’t just do Ukraine leverage again, he’ll do far far worse.”
In a second tweet, Katyal noted how Trump will always be able to “assert his motives are pure/mixed” and “because he thinks he can boycott the proceedings+bar all witnesses and testimony, incl his own, it means there is no way to test that, or impeach/remove him..”
“It reads the impeachment clauses out of Constitution,” he concluded.
Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, made a similar argument last week. “The president never views a near-miss as an opportunity for reflection and reformation,” he said. “He sees it as permission to indulge his every urge.”
Trump is accused of withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the country’s announcement of an investigation into his potential Democratic 2020 rival Joe Biden.
Katyal earlier this month dared Trump to testify in the Senate trial.
“The fact that you don’t speaks volumes and far more than your protestations of innocence on, ahem,Twitter,” he wrote.