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Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University and the sole Republican witness at Wednesday's impeachment hearing, cautioned against impeaching President Trump for obstruction and said that Democrats would be abusing their power by not allowing the courts to rule on subpoenas.

"Recently there are some rulings against President Trump, including a ruling involving Don McGahn. ... That's an example of what can happen if you actually subpoena witnesses and go to court. Then you have an obstruction case because a court issues an order. And unless they stay that order by a higher court, you have obstruction. But I can't emphasize this enough and I'll say it just one more time. If you impeach a president, if you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. It's your abuse of power. You're doing precisely what you're criticizing the president for doing."
— Turley

The big picture: Turley warned in his opening statement that the impeachment inquiry has been "rushed" and could set a "dangerous" precedent. He argued that going to the courts in a dispute between two branches of government gives the winning body "legitimacy," as in the case of Nixon's impeachment.

  • By declining to go to court to enforce subpoenas for people like former White House counsel Don McGahn, former national security adviser John Bolton and current Chief of Staff, Turley says that Democrats' case for obstruction is flawed.

The other side: Democratic witness Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, argued that "obstruction isn't limited to whatever is happening on the courts." He said congressional subpoenas are "lawful subpoenas" that have the "force of law" to them.

Why it matters: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler signaled in his opening statement that in addition to obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice during the Mueller investigation will also likely be considered for an article of impeachment against Trump.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Senate Democrats unveil new income tax for billionaires

Sen. Ron Wyden. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday released a billionaires' tax proposal, designed to help support President Biden's social spending and climate change legislation.

Why it matters: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the Billionaires Income Tax would raise "hundreds of billions of dollars" and would affect approximately 700 taxpayers who have more than $1 billion in assets or incomes of over $100 million a year.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

3 hours ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.