Jonathan Turley has been trending on social media all morning, and with good reason. He’s a constitutional scholar and a professor at George Washington University who is testifying today as a witness for the Republicans during the first hearing of the House Judiciary Committee. So far, essentially everything he’s said has been at odds with the other three experts testifying before the panel today, which came as a surprise to many since he sounded much, much different during the Clinton impeachment hearings.
Except he’s a Republican, and so his opinion of what’s legally acceptable in government changes with who’s doing the thing being discussed.
There were plenty of points that Turley was merely incorrect about — at one point he argued that the legal definition of bribery didn’t exist at the inception of our government, which seems like a pretty big thing for a history professor to get wrong. Turley also incorrectly asserted a number of times that Trump wasn’t being looked at for lying — but the House expanded its investigative scope specifically to cover the new evidence that Trump had lied to Robert Mueller in writing under oath, as uncovered during the Roger Stone trial.
But in an effort to drop a bombshell, Turley made a statement that was outright false about the Obama administration, saying that Obama’s Department of Justice failed to turn over documents during the “Fast & Furious” investigation, which is an outright lie.
President Obama withheld evidence from Congress in Fast and Furious.”
Rep. Collins: “Is there a concern that if we say the facts don’t matter, that we’re also…abusing our power?”
— ABC News (@ABC) December 4, 2019
The issue here is former Attorney General Eric Holder being held in Contempt of Congress — along party lines in a GOP-controlled House — for advising Obama to withhold only documents that “were not generated in the course of the conduct of Fast and Furious.” But the administration turned over everything else before that, and even ended up turning over those documents as well.
This is not an incorrect assertion or a mistake that Turley made — this is a lie, and one he didn’t even need to tell. Turley’s testimony appears to be made up of whole cloth and fashioned entirely for the purpose of creating soundbites for Fox News. Perhaps, as some have suggested, Turley is auditioning for the Supreme Court.
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