We're told impeachment is a nightmare, a coup d'etat, and a dangerous distraction from the business of government that will cause national trauma and the next civil war.
Don't believe it.
"If there is any country on earth that's pretty comfortable with the idea of getting fired, it's America," says Gene Healy, a vice president at the Cato Institute and author of Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution's Impeachment Power. "Somehow we've decided that the one job in America that gets the most job protection is the one where you actually get nuclear weapons, which doesn't seem at all sensible."
"Some of the same people who talk about the wisdom of the framers talk about the impeachment power as if the framers just decided to hardwire a doomsday device into the Constitution," he adds. But the framers "saw impeachment as a necessary constitutional safety valve…it's not something you want to use on a weekly basis, but it's nice to have around when you need it."
Produced and edited by Meredith Bragg.
Photo credits: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom; Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom; Michael Reynolds—Pool via CNP/MEGA/Newscom; Stefani Reynolds—CNP/Sipa USA/Newscom; Saul Loeb/picture alliance/Consolidated/Newscom (edited); Christopher Brown/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Polaris/Newscom; Stefani Reynolds—CNP/Sipa USA/Newscom; CHUCK KENNEDY/KRT/Newscom (edited); Robert Visser UPI Photo Service/Newscom; Courtesy of CNN/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Dennis Brack/Newscom; SplashNews/Newscom; Steve Pellegrino/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Watchara Phomicinda/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Megan Jelinger/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Pacific Press/Sipa USA/Newscom; SCNG/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Adam DelGiudice/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Jack Kightlinger/picture alliance/Consolidated/Newscom; Benjamin E. "Gene" Forte/CNP/Polaris/Newscom; Ron Sachs/CNP/Polaris/Newscom; Pete Souza/Photoshot/Newscom; Pacific Press/Sipa USA/Newscom; CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom; Album/Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY