Impeachment trial: No crime, no punishment

I responded to a juvenile letter in the Aspen Daily News signed by several busybody local officials who can’t do their elected jobs competently but are self-appointed experts on Senate impeachment trials. I pointed out that the articles of impeachment against President Trump do not allege the elements of any crime, high or low.

Two locals commented on my letter online challenging its legal analysis. Yet they offered none of their own. Probably because they don’t understand the law. So I will explain it.

A crime consists of a series of acts and a state of mind specified in a criminal statute. Each act is called an “element.” If one or more element is absent, there is no crime.

House managers allege the president had a corrupt state of mind when he thought about failing to “commit” Ukrainian aid by the Sept. 30 deadline. Maybe. But he committed the aid by the legal deadline. There was no legal requirement to “commit” the aid earlier. Thus a necessary “element” in any alleged crime, violating the appropriation statutes, is absent.

Maurice Emmer