A group of 16 prominent conservative lawyers that includes George Conway, husband to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, issued a statement Thursday that said President Donald Trump's "factually undisputed" requests for foreign governments to investigate his political opponents pose a threat to American democracy.
"In the past several weeks, it has become clear to any observer of current events that the president is abusing the office of the presidency for personal political objectives," they said.
The statement was signed by the co-founders of Checks and Balances, which calls itself a group of "conservative and libertarian lawyers standing up for the rule of law."
They outlined details from Trump's July 25 call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked Zelensky for the "favor" of investigating "a baseless theory relating to the 2016 investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election" as well as looking into allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden stopped a prosecutor from going after a company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden.
In their statement, the lawyers also cited Trump's declaration to reporters last week that "China should start an investigation into the Bidens."
"We believe the acts revealed publicly over the past several weeks are fundamentally incompatible with the president's oath of office, his duties as commander in chief, and his constitutional obligation 'to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,' " they wrote. The lawyers said Trump's acts formed "a legitimate basis for an expeditious impeachment investigation."
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The Democratically controlled House has opened an impeachment inquiry into the matter, partly based on a complaint from a whistleblower. The White House has said it will not cooperate with the investigation. Trump and his supporters have said one of the reasons they feel the impeachment process is not legitimate is that the whistleblower is able to remain anonymous.
But the lawyers' statement asserted that "any efforts" to "intimidate or expose the whistleblower" are "contrary to the norms of a society that adheres to the rule of law."
Conway supported Trump in the 2016 election but has been one of his fiercest critics in recent years. He has long argued that Trump is unfit for office and that former special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference had already presented enough evidence to justify Trump's removal from office.
On Thursday, Check and Balances called Mueller's report - which "revealed, among other things, that the Trump 2016 campaign was open to and enthusiastic about receiving Russian government-facilitated assistance to gain an advantage in the previous election" - a "warning."
"The present circumstances are materially worse: we have not just a political candidate open to receiving foreign assistance to better his chances at winning an election, but a current president openly and privately calling on foreign governments to actively interfere in the most sacred of U.S. democratic processes, our elections," the group of attorneys wrote.
"These activities, which are factually undisputed, undermine the integrity of our elections, endanger global U.S. security and defense partnerships, and threaten our democracy."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Conway, other conservative lawyers: Trump 'abusing the office'