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The three constitutional scholars that Democrats called to testify in the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday were "unanimous" in their assessments that President Trump committed impeachable offenses in his dealings with Ukraine.

The big picture: The three Democratic witnesses said that based on the evidence in the House Intelligence Committee's report, President Trump abused his power to solicit foreign election interference for his own political gain. The Republican witness, who was not questioned by the Democratic counsel, criticized the rushed nature of the current impeachment inquiry in his opening statement as "dangerous."

What they're saying:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill law professor Michael Gerhardt: "The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president."
  • Harvard law professor Noah Feldman: "President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency."
  • Stanford law school professor Pamela S. Karlan: "Everything I know about our Constitution and its values, and my review of the evidentiary record, tells me that when President Trump invited—indeed, demanded—foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this country the “republic” to which we pledge allegiance. That demand constituted an abuse of power."
  • George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley: "[O]ne can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president. To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your impeachment vote. Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment."

Read the Democratic witnesses' opening statements.

Read the Republican witness' opening statement.

Go deeper: What to expect from the next phase of impeachment

Go deeper

8 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Representatives from all branches of the military escort the 46th president to the White House.