WASHINGTON – On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee picked up the impeachment torch, holding its first public hearing.
Lawmakers heard from four constitutional scholars on what constitutes "high crimes and misdemeanors." Democrats called three witnesses. Republicans had one.
"If what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable," said Prof. Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina Law School.
The scholars brought in by Democrats argued that the Ukraine scandal is proof President Trump abused his power for personal political gain. All three believe he should be impeached.
"President Trump's conduct as described in the testimony and evidence, clearly constitutes impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors under the Constitution," said Prof. Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School.
Republicans were allowed to call one of their own experts, who didn't defend the president but argued Democrats are moving too fast and have not proven their case.
"It's wrong because this is not how you impeach an American president," said Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School. "Why would you want to set the record for the fastest impeachment? Fast is not good for impeachment."
Turley noted that he's not a fan of Trump and didn't vote for him, adding more credibility to his non-partisan testimony.
Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School testifies in House impeachment hearing.
"I get it. You are mad. The President is mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My Republican friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog is mad.... and Luna is a golden doodle and they are never mad. We are all mad and where has it taken us? Will a slipshod impeachment make us less mad or will it only give an invitation for the madness to follow in every future administration? That is why this is wrong," Turley said in his prepared remarks.
Turley argues the Democrats' case against Trump is being rushed and the evidence is flimsy at this point.
One moment that went viral came when the Democrats' third witness invoked the president's young son's name.
"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility," said Prof. Pamela Karan of Stanford Law School. "So while the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron."
Barron Trump is only 13 years old, and Republican lawmakers pushed back sharply about his name being dragged into the hearing.
"Let me also suggest that when you invoke the president's son's name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump, that does not lend credibility to your argument," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). "It makes you look mean."
First Lady Melania Trump also shot back on Twitter saying "a minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics."
Karlan later apologized. "It was wrong of me to do that," she admitted on the witness stand.
Overseas at NATO, President Trump called the hearing "boring" and criticized its fairness.
"They get three constitutional lawyers and we get one. What's that all about?" he told reporters. "We had no representation. We couldn't call witnesses. We couldn't do anything. It is the most unfair thing that anybody's ever seen."
CBN's chief political analyst David Brody said Democrats "botched" the hearing and didn't break any new ground.
"When it's partisan like this and you want to move public opinion, you can't be more partisan," he said. "You have to somehow figure out a way to get more of the public on your side. They didn't do that."
The White House has until the end of Thursday to decide if it will participate in any of the next hearings. A full House vote is expected before Christmas.