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John Yoo, Infamous Bush-Era Author of Torture Memos, Dunked on for Claiming US Founders Would Oppose Trump Impeachment

"Yoo also says torture is good for America, so take that into consideration when estimating the value of his legal opinion."

John Yoo, the former deputy assistant attorney general under the George W. Bush administration and author of the "torture memos," was met with ridicule on Thursday after saying on Fox News that the framers of the Constitution would object to an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump within a year of an election. (Photo: Miller Center/Flickr/cc)

John Yoo, the former Justice Department official best known for authoring the infamous "torture memos" during the George W. Bush administration, came under fire Thursday for suggesting Wednesday night that the framers of the U.S. Constitution would object to the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

"What the framers thought was the American people would judge a president at the time of the election," Yoo told Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham. "They would never have wanted impeachment within a year of an election. It's up to the American people. If the American people think Trump has done wrong, they don't have to return him to office."

That claim led a number of historians and journalists to attack the notion that Yoo is fit to discuss constitutional law, referring to his penning in 2002 memos that provided the Bush administration with legal cover to launch its torture program—a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law.

"Yoo also says torture is good for America, so take that into consideration when estimating the value of his legal opinion," tweeted political blogger Lars Olsson.


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Contrary to Yoo's claim, some pointed out, there is historical precedent for impeachment hearings even closer to a presidential election than the U.S. is today: the House voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson months before the 1868 election.

Yoo's argument that the framers would want the government to abide by the American public's wishes was not a factor in his promotion of the use of torture nearly two decades ago. A 2010 study by Reed College found that, contrary to how many polls were reported at the time, "a majority of Americans were opposed to torture throughout the Bush presidency."

One critic noted that even if Yoo was correct about the framers' desires regarding impeachment, those same politicians would also "have wanted to own slaves."

"That they could torture," added comedian and activist Rob Delaney.

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