Impeachments as a Political Remedy

Deciding When to Impeach Requires Political Judgment, Not Legal Skill


Over at Lawfare, I have published the latest of a series of posts that I have written over the past several months on the law and politics of presidential impeachments. This one focuses on impeachment and removal as a remedy for a certain kind of political problem, and not just as the mechanical consequence of a government official having committed some bad acts. If you can take down Al Capone for tax evasion, can you take down a president for campaign finance violations? Probably not.

Here's the opening:

There is a tendency to think of impeachable offenses as like landmines. If the president accidentally or purposefully steps on one, then it explodes and he must suffer the consequences. Constitutional lawyers might find this line of thinking particularly attractive because it would allow them to get to work on identifying a finite set of actions as high crimes and misdemeanors and to set Congress about the business of determining whether the president has actually committed such an offenses. Or, if Congress so prefers, to outsource that investigative work to a special counsel who could effectively make the impeachment process itself a mere formality.

This is the wrong way to think about impeachments. Impeachment is a powerful political tool for addressing a class of important and distinctly political problems, but it is not always the right tool for the job. Politics is inescapably at the heart of any impeachment, particularly a presidential impeachment. . . .

Read the whole thing at

NEXT: Article II Vests the Executive Power, Not the Royal Prerogative

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  1. The problem here is the assumption that there’s something here that needs to be “remedied”. When all that’s happened is that some people are unhappy about who the American people decided to elect President.

    I would say that impeachment can never be an appropriate “remedy” for anything that the public knew when they elected an official. If used in that case, it’s nothing more than the government undoing the outcome of an election.

    A lot of pretexts for impeachment are floating about, but not one of them appears to be grounded in anything more than the idea that Trump being President is some kind of intolerable offense in and of itself.

    1. I’ll agree that there doesn’t appear to be anything that Trump should be impeached for.

      Really not sure why people even bring it up (on both sides!).

      It is funny when one side complains about ‘politics’ though…

      1. After thought…

        I wouldn’t mind seeing a little A25, Sec. 4 action though…

        1. You do realize that Amendment 25 is actually harder than impeachment, right? Impeaching requires a majority vote in the House to indict, and then a 2/3 vote in the Senate to convict.

          Amendment 25 requires, if the President contests the action, a 2/3 vote in both chambers.

          It’s always going to be easier to impeach than to invoke the 25th amendment, unless a President is genuinely incapacitated.

          Which Trump rather conspicuously isn’t.

          1. Yup!

            Just saying I’d like the VP and his cabinet (the folks who work with Trump daily) to say: This guy is batshit crazy and has to go.

            Probably would’t succeed (as you noted) but it would be fun to watch!

            1. Yeah, the problem with that is, he isn’t batshit crazy. That’s why the FBI’s abortive effort to use the 25th amendment fell apart immediately.

              Basically you (Not personally you.) have to be batshit crazy yourself to think your negative opinion of Trump is so universally shared that Trump’s own cabinet would agree with it.

              1. Do you refer to the members of the current cabinet, or to the cabinet members who (1) quit in disgust, with disdain toward the president, or (2) departed consequent to problems that demonstrated them to have been unfit when chosen?

                1. Former cabinet members have no role to play in the 25th amendment.

                  1. Former cabinet members have no role to play in the 25th amendment.

                    Someone opined that it would be ‘batshit crazy’ to expect a Trump cabinet to hold a strongly negative opinion of Pres. Trump. The evidence suggests that a number of Trump cabinet members — Mattis, Tillerson, Nielsen are prominent example — have held a profoundly negative view of Pres. Trump and therefore could have provided votes against the President in a pinch.

                    (There also might be a legal question concerning the vote of any person whose claim to be a principal officer were not accompanied by Senate confirmation for the relevant position. It might take as few as six votes to ditch this president.)

                    I do not expect this to occur, just as I do not expect Pres. Trump to be impeached or convicted, in part because it seems better for Democrats to keep him in office and the Republicans couldn’t get it done without Democratic help. An assertion that the people closest to this president might pull the plug on him if given the chance is, however, far from ‘batshit crazy.’ Trump has assembled his Cabinet more on idiosyncrasy and perceived loyalty rather than on qualifications and talent, but it seems reasonable to believe that practical exposure to this administration could cause Cabinet members to doubt Pres. Trump’s fitness. The most accomplished members of the Trump Cabinet have already ditched, leaving little doubt concerning their estimation of this president.

                    1. Obviously, part of the reason it would be crazy to expect Trump administration cabinet officials to think the President nuts, is that if they showed signs of such an opinion they’d rapidly become ex-cabinet officials.

              2. Also, in both impeachment and 25th, as with Clinton’s impeachment as well, the motivation from “the other side” is the impure motive to get rid of an opponent rather than concern for illegality or incompetence, as applicable.

                Those areas and others of the Constitution are set up to prevent political motivation from ruling the day.

                If you dig deeply enough, how many powerful or rich people haven’t done something illegal? That too is forbidden as a chase item to wreck your political opponent. That’s why you need warrants and probable cause and no general warrants — to prevent the powerful from arbitrary fishing expeditions to hurt their opponents for political reasons.

                It was proper not to remove Clinton for a distantly tangential crime (and a “process crime” at that, you know, that the Republicans are suddenly against?)

                But anything directly related? Maybe. Or maybe not.

                1. If you dig deeply enough, how many powerful or rich people haven’t done something illegal? That too is forbidden as a chase item to wreck your political opponent.

                  This seems rather aristocratic of you to not even try to hold the rich to any kind of standard.

    2. Yes, I agree that impeachment is not properly a tool to second-guess the voters.

      I think though the emergency declaration could be the basis of an impeachment.
      A President who abuses discretionary powers to subvert the foundations of the Constitution I believe is a legitimate target. Before you hit “enter”, I also know that you and many others would not agree with that characterization of current events – and since several of those others sit in the Senate, there would be approximately zero chance of conviction – but it is the kind of behavior that a President of either party should understand may have serious consequences, even if the behavior might not be indictable.

      1. I think the emergency declaration would have been a reasonable basis for impeachment if there weren’t such a thing as the National Emergency Act.

        But, of course, there is. Maybe instead of punishing Presidents for using it, they should repeal it?

        1. The NEA might suffice to avoid a criminal conviction, but impeachment is not the same thing. The President has a higher duty to the Constitution, and should be held accountable to that duty whatever broad discretion Congress grants. That’s why High Crimes aren’t necessarily ordinary crimes, they are abuses that are possible only by inhabitants of high office who enjoy high levels of trust.

          Repeal or amendment are possible responses, but they don’t rap the knuckles of the abuser. Impeachment isn’t really a knuckle rap either, more a dismemberment, so maybe a more appropriate response would be a veto override because if they have the votes for conviction they surely have the votes for that.

          But repeal or amendment might not always be the answer that is best for the country if they constrain executive action in cases where more flexibility really is needed. Give Caesar the power to act, but come down swiftly if he abuses that power, may still be the right formula.

          1. But that’s only to say that Congress can impeach for essentially anything they want, if the political will is there to do it. They could literally impeach Trump for having a comb-over.

            My remark went to what would be a reasonable basis for impeachment, not a possible basis. It isn’t reasonable for Congress to impeach a President for using a statutory power they themselves gave him, and are perfectly capable of repealing if they want.

            “Give Caesar the power to act, but come down swiftly if he abuses that power, may still be the right formula.”

            No, that’s just, “We don’t mind Presidents abusing power, but Orange Man Bad!”

            1. Yes Brett, that’s why the test isn’t whether the President uses the power, but whether he abuses it.

              1. The law happens to give the power to define a legal “national emergency” to the President, subject to second guessing by Congress. And abusing that power is pretty routine, unfortunately.

                So, you’re proposing to impeach over the President pursuing the policies he was elected to pursue, using legal tools Congress gave him, and could take away any time they wanted, in a manner no more abusive than previous Presidents.

                Sure, if the votes are there, they can do that. But I’m not going to pretend I think it’s reasonable for them to do.

        2. “if there weren’t such a thing as the National Emergency Act.”

          And the precedent of it being regularly invoked for non-emergencies.

      2. Obama: Declares national emergencies to “help”

        South Sudan
        Central Africa

        The left and their media puppets: Silence

        Trump: Declares national emergency to defend America

        . . . . . IMPEACH!!!!

        1. Xenophobia does not defend America.

          America has seen successive waves of ignorance and intolerance — often related to skin color, religion, or perceived economic pressures — throughout its history. Those targeted for demonization and discrimination have included Italians, Jews, Asians, gays, eastern Europeans, blacks, women, the Irish, Hispanics, Catholics, other Asians, other Hispanics, and others.

          Every American should be proud of our record on this point: Those advocating backwardness and bigotry do not win in America over the longer terms.

          This latest batch of bigots seems nothing special, its reliance on the charms, insights, and integrity of Donald J. Trump notwithstanding. It is predictable that the current losers will lose as have their predecessors; this is a substantial part of what has made America great, again and again.

          1. Walls work. Sorry.

    3. Another problem, assuming the commission of campaign finance violations. (“If you can take down Al Capone for tax evasion, can you take down a president for campaign finance violations? Probably not”). No substantive legal basis to conclude any crimes were actually committed, but let’s move past that and just get the impeachment ball moving on any crass political disagreement that comes to mind. And, the comparison to Al Capone was nice too. Good way to demonstrate one’s complete objectivity by comparing the President to an organized crime boss.

    4. Right, Brett.

      You’re one of the people Trump was talking about when he said his supporters wouldn’t care if he shot someone on Fifth Ave.

      1. Or so you’re free to imagine, since he’s never shot anybody on Fifth Avenue.

        1. The context is not bernard11’s imagination; it is Donald Trump’s statement. Like any successful peddler of shoddy goods to the gullible and poorly educated, Donald Trump knows his audience with exquisite precision.

        2. I’d say there’s plenty of evidence that you find it impossible to think Trump could do anything wrong.

          You have fully adopted the Fuhrerprinzip.

          1. It depends who he shoots of course.

          2. You missed my complaints about his bump stock regulation, I take it?

    5. Brett: “…it’s nothing more than the government undoing the outcome of an election.”

      That’s of course what impeachment is under any circumstances. The founders didn’t seem to think that was necessarily a bad thing.

      1. That would be why I said, “In that case…”; They need a better excuse to overturn an election than “The peons dared to elect somebody their betters disapprove of!”

        And that’s all they’ve got right now.

  2. Impeachment is inherently a political remedy under our constitutional system of government. Hence why it was vested with Congress and not say in the judiciary. (If I remember correctly a few delegates did float the idea of impeachment being vested with the Supreme Court or another quasi-judicial body).

    The political problem we have today is that impeachment is being used and abused by the Left as a means for ginning up its base and trashing a President that they just simply don’t like. I get it. Instead of Clinton which everyone told them was a sure win they got Trump. But two years later they can’t get over it. They are in cry baby mode like a petulant child and have been since the day after the election.

    Instead of treating impeachment like the extraordinary remedy it is under our system, they are using it for cheap political shots and made up fake controversies. Just shows how low brow the Left has become.

    1. Did Republicans act properly when they impeached Pres. Clinton, you bigoted rube?


      1. Clinton committed perjury, for which he was heavily fined by a court, and had his law license suspended.
        If that’s not impeachable what is, you squalid non-entity?

        1. He also had his government paid staff going around destroying evidence under subpoena, and suborning perjury from others.

          Literally directing executive branch employees to commit crimes seems a fit basis for impeachment.

          1. Trump-loving yahoos should be careful about the bar they wish to establish in this context.

    2. The political problem we have today is that impeachment is being used and abused by the Left as a means for ginning up its base and trashing a President that they just simply don’t like.

      Except…that’s not happening.

      To quote from the conclusion of the OP’s linked piece:

      If Nancy Pelosi is reluctant to move forward with an impeachment inquiry, that reluctance reflects in part her judgment that the president’s misbehavior is bearable. In this line of thinking, Trump may be corrupt or oafish, but he does not pose much of a threat to American democracy. Pelosi has insisted that Congress should move forward with impeachment on a bipartisan basis, or not at all. House Committee on the Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler has long contended that presidential impeachment would be warranted only to defend the republic against a would-be “tyrant.”

      Those who would hope to persuade the Democratic leadership, let alone Republican senators and voters, that impeachment is the right remedy for the problems currently confronting them would have to do more than show that the president has done something that could be classified as an impeachable offense. They would need to demonstrate that Trump’s continued occupation of the White House has become unendurable and that leaving him to face the electorate again in 2020 and to serve out the remainder of his term poses unacceptable risks to the nation.

  3. Shouldn’t those seeking impeachment be held to the same standards they demand of Trump? How pure are their finances? Might be interesting to see how they justify their own violations.

    1. There is no “let he who is without sin” codicil to our law.

      1. I was thinking more along the lines of “good for the goose, good for the gander”. Launch investigations into the financial dealings of Trump’s opponents. How much do they benefit from cronyism and lobbyist’s money? Widen the investigations to include friends, major donors and family.

        Let those who want to play hardball politics find themselves on the receiving end.

        1. Trump’s tried to sic the DoJ on his opponents. Alas, it seems to have integrity and follows the normal process in choosing who to investigate.

          1. More’s the pity. Hopefully, he will have more success in future efforts as he is more able to move his own people into positions to make those decisions.

  4. Impeachment is political? Well, that is a revolutionary thesis.

    1. You’d be surprised how many people argue back and forth about what is and isn’t “an impeachable offense”, in every administration. Many people really do treat it as if it is some legal concept decided by caselaw.

      Gerald Ford was right. It’s whatever the Congress says it is.

      1. I realize there is a debate about what is impeachable but the “impeachment is political” idea is as old as the republic:

        “A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments … They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. ” Federalist 65 Hamilton

      2. “Gerald Ford was right. It’s whatever the Congress says it is.”

        Meh. The Constitution says whatever 5 SCOTUS votes says it does, but we still talk about what is and isn’t constitutional. Neither the Court, nor Congress, gets to decide these things in a vacuum.

        1. We talk about it with reference to what the Supreme Court has ruled.

          In other words, the people who say “the original meaning of the Constitution is that almost no commerce can be regulated by Congress” get laughed out of the room.

          Impeachment is a pure political question. Unreviewable by the courts. Of course it means whatever the Congress wants it to mean.

          1. They get laughed out of the room because there isn’t any argument that they’re wrong, and the laughter is meant to prevent the discussion from going forward, because, “Yes, it’s unconstitutional, but F the Constitution!” wouldn’t go over well.

  5. It’s funny to imagine living in a world like Princeton where people talk about the need to impeach President Trump. It would be like living among talmudic scholars who spend their time figuring out cooking rules if you don’t have two ovens. Neither has anything to do with the lives of 99% of Americans.

    Just to be clear: we don’t need to impeach serial gropers, we don’t need to impeach moronic fratboys, we don’t need to impeach socialist intellectuals with messiah complexes, and we don’t need to impeach narcissistic buffoons.

    1. Pretty entitled of you to think that 99% of people have two ovens.

  6. Impeachment as a political tool had been a total failure thus far. The two times it was used neither President was convicted and removed from office. Due to the political split in the House which brings impeachment and the Senate which convicts, it will most likely fail again if used. So why impeach? Political grandstanding!

    1. The left does it because they think being “tough on Trump” is going to win them elections. But if you look closely at the numbers it doesn’t. Sure they made some in-roads in the House, but that was largely due to the courts doing the heavy work for them via redistricting. And what did it get them in the end? Some extremist coocs who think we can do away with air travel in the next 10 years because the world is supposedly going to end if we don’t. Have fun selling that “green deal” to the public in 2020.

      1. It’s also about revenge for the Clinton impeachment. They’ve wanted to even the score on that ever since, there was talk about impeaching Bush, too.

        1. Why do they feel that Bill Clinton was worth avenging?

        2. It is astounding how the sides have flipped on the constitutional issues. All this sordid 20 year trek has done is show the wisdom of multiple protections in the Constitution against letting the powerful use investigation to hurt their opponents.

          Donald “Lock her up!” Trump didn’t help his own case by being fully on board with that idea, either.

        3. I don’t know about “revenge” but it was certainly politically motivated. The GOP saw an opportunity to inflict PR damage against a rival politician, and perhaps more specifically, a rival party. Even though they didn’t succeed in removing Clinton from office, the proceedings themselves kept the lurid details of his affairs in the news long enough to do a lot of damage to the Ds in the 2000 election (almost certainly costing Al Gore the presidency).

          The Ds are now trying a similar tactic against Trump but they’ve made a large tactical error. The thing about Trump is, a whole lot of Republicans already hate him. His entire brand is “I’m not like the other Republicans.” Nearly everyone who voted for him did so because he was a lesser evil, compared to the Democrats. Being a sleazy, self-important jerk is part of his brand. And their over-zealousness to try and crucify him over… *checks notes* paying off someone he had an affair with and wanting to establish a business in Russia doesn’t help their own image at all. He’s STILL the lesser evil.

          1. “(almost certainly costing Al Gore the presidency).”

            That was the Dems own fault. Dumping Clinton would have made Gore an incumbent. That was no doubt worth 600 votes in Florida.

            “they’ve made a large tactical error”

            Yes, they made it about “collusion” which they defined as vote stealing. So when post Mueller they need to turn to regular corruption, potential Trump voters will still be supportive of him because they over promised.

        4. I don’t think Democrats are seeking revenge for Bill Clinton. The older ones know that it’s just politics and don’t give a crap. The younger ones don’t even like him and have turned on him.

      2. I think it’s really more about the majority usually losing seats in the mid term elections.

        1. Don’t forget that re: Clinton in the 90’s they were basically the sole power in the Democratic party. I remember when impeach talk was first bubbling up in DC Slick Willy was asked if he wouldn’t mind making a quiet exit, give the reigns to Gore, and he would be rewarded after 2000 with a sweet Diplomat appointment. Of course, in true Clinton fashion he told them where to go and what they could do when they got there. And most seasoned political veterans know you don’t cross the Clintons. Because if you do then you end up on the body count list.

          1. Because if you do then you end up on the body count list.

            You mean like Vince Foster, Brett Kavanaugh’s obsession? ?

            1. Foster totally got whacked. Either that or I am really crazy and blood runs uphill!

              1. I’m unconvinced that Foster was murdered. Now, that supposed suicide note was as phony as a three dollar bill, but exploiting a suicide for political gain isn’t the same as murder.

                1. Yeah, no doubt the Clintons wanted the drama, the GOP had already shown its obsession with them. Similar to the RESISTANCE now.

                  Having the Park Rangers as the lead investigators was bound to raise conspiracy theories. Picnic basket thefts, sure, but the death of a senior White House aide who was a personal friend of the First Family seems like a Scret Service or FBI matter.

            2. Haha, bernard didn’t count on the VC comentariat’s ability to deliver!

              Intelligence and judgement are dang near orthogonal talents.

              1. Are you telling me Foster really typed up a suicide note complaining about how the Clintons were being wronged by their enemies, tore it up, lost the corner that would have had a signature, and then offed himself?

                The offed himself part I believe, people do that. The note stank on ice.

    2. “Impeachment as a political tool had been a total failure thus far. The two times it was used neither President was convicted and removed from office”

      OTOH, Nixon resigned because it became obvious he would be successfully impeached. Without the threat he could have just hung tough. That would have been bad.

      1. And, conversely, people like whats-his-name in Virginia who have done things that are scummy but technically not illegal, are able to put their head down and hold on because they know that there are no solid legal grounds to remove them.

      2. Sure, Nixon was guilty, but he resigned, the threat of impeachment may have played a part in that, but it never came to that. I don’t remember the political split at the time, but it may not have been in his favor. Also Nixon’s paranoia and narcissus played into it.

        1. A Goldwater biographer said that the leading GOP Congressmen went to Nixon and told him that the GOP members of the House and Senate would back his impeachment. Faced with that, Nixon resigned shortly thereafter. It was a while (many years) ago and I don’t recall the biographers name.

  7. The option of pursuing impeachment presupposes that a president’s conduct could be so obviously abhorrent that both sides of the partisan divide would agree that such a step was necessary. Given that one side has created its own reality, I doubt that any attempt at impeachment would be successful.

    1. Which side has done that?

      1. The side whose politicians literally colluded with Russia to produce a “dossier”, but then made a big hoax out of accusing the other side of doing exactly what they were doing.

        Oh, and did you know a handful of unintelligible Facebook memes in broken English “stole the election” ?

        1. Is any of that comment intended to represent reality?

          1. Every part of that comment is 100% real. Reality, unlike literature, doesn’t have to make sense.

  8. Legal scholars usually discuss things in terms of precedents, so presumably discussion of impeachment should be conducted in terms of the existing impeachment precedents at the federal and state level, plus some of the historical English impeachments.

    That would be a major focus if the Supreme Court heard impeachments (see above) – so why not ponder the impeachment precedents to see what gets you convicted and what gets you acquitted?

  9. I read Sunstein’s book on impeachment. Found it perfectly reasonable.

  10. I find myself agreeing with most of the post, but disagreeing with the headline. It requires both. Yes, impeachment is more like going to war than like law enforcement, creating a constitutional crisis with great potential to damage the country whatever the outcome. Yes, just the bare fact of a legal violation doesn’t justify impeachment, otherwise every president could be impeached for trivialities.

    But nonetheless, a legal violation – a major one – IS required. Impeachment is not a purely political matter, and presidents cannot be impeached purely for political disagreement or even incompetence. You need real crimes, serious crimes, and you need strong proof of them.

    Otherwise you really do tear the country apart.

    1. “But nonetheless, a legal violation – a major one – IS required. Impeachment is not a purely political matter…”

      Hypothetical: after Pearl Harbor, FDR doesn’t want to go to war. Maybe he’s a pacifist, maybe he likes sushi too much to war on Japan, whatever. Congress declares war anyway, institutes the draft, funds a huge military buildup, etc. Japan attacks all across the Pacific. FDR says “OK, we’re at war”, but in his capacity as CinC withdraws the Navy from the Pacific entirely, so ‘no provocations occur while I seek a negotiated peace’. Japan occupies Hawaii and Alaska. The Japanese navy is blockading and bombarding the West Coast. Popular sentiment is 99% in favor of war. FDR keeps saying ‘Keep calm, better to keep negotiating’.

      Is there any point at which a country can decide that the current president is so bad that he can be removed, even if he is sane and hasn’t broken any laws? I think at some amount of political dissatisfaction you are going to have either a revolt or an impeachment, and I prefer the latter.

      (That said, I don’t think Clinton or Trump should have been impeached – although Nixon was surely getting into the impeachment zone.)

      1. The theory behind martial law is that in the presence of actual or imminent invasion, civil law simply breaks down.

        Congress’ justification in such a situation would be essentially a martial-law justification, not a civil-law one. It would be a temporary suspension of the constitution.

        1. It’s of a similar order to suspending Habeas Corpus and putting Japanese people in concentration camps. Both were actually done in WWII and both were upheld by the courts at the time (although the Supreme Court some years later said invasion of Hawaii was no longer imminent).

          So while extreme measures may happen in extreme situations whether or not legally justifiable, this is not an extreme situation or anything like it. We are not living in a time of real emergency now.

    2. I’d think there would have to be a legal violation, but not necessarily an indictable one.

      Eg, the Constitution provides that federal officials can’t take foreign gifts without Congressional approval. I don’t know if this is indictable if they took gifts, but is it essential that it be indictable? It’s clearly illegal. Why wait for a criminal statute to make it indictable before holding it impeachable?

      Judges have to observe good behavior. What if they don’t? Does the bad behavior have to be indictable before Congress can get rid of the bad judge via impeachment?

      1. President enters town where right on red is illegal. President turns right on red. Impeach?

        We have treaty that says their soldiers can’t enter our territory without our permission. Soldier momentarily crosses border. Go to war? nuke all their cities? No problem if they have nukes and can nuke ours, it was illegal, dammit, and that’s all that matters?

        Impeaching a President is like going to war. The fact that something is illegal no more makes it impeachable then the fact that something is a treaty violation makes it casual belli.

        There is a long history of Presidents receiving foreign gifts. Every Congress so far has chosen not to regard it as impeachable. They were wise. departing from that consistent consensus just because you happen not to like this one would be the height of folly. If half the country believes the President has been unjustly railroaded over trivialities, the United States, and public respect for the civil order, stands to lose a great deal.

        Congresspeople take an oath to preserve the Union. Impeaching a President for something trivial or with a long history of being regarded as acceptable would be a violation of that oath.

  11. Democrats should smack Pres. Trump around, politically, until he is a limp, impotent pile of scars and bruises.

    They should not impeach or convict Pres. Trump, however, unless Republicans are willing to reward them handsomely for cooperation. Republicans broke this and if they want help to fix it they should pay a large price. It is far better for Democrats to leave a diminished Pres. Trump in office until he quits or a successor is elected. The long-term benefits for Democrats of having the Republican Party branded with backwardness and bigotry for at least a generation easily outweigh the costs of watching Pres. Trump bluster and bumble for another couple of years.

    1. “Yeah, we’d totally impeach him, we could do it, we just don’t wanna.”

    2. I rarely agree with the good Reverand. But I agree this time that the remedy for a President you really don’t like is to vote for a different President, not impeachment.

  12. Would be funny if Trump got impeached and removed from office then ran again in 2020…lol

    1. From the Constitution: “Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.”

      Rather than being funny, it would be unconstitutional. Once impeached (And convicted!) he wouldn’t be qualified for any public office ever again.

  13. I think its obvious that impeachment can be political, and the founding fathers were fully aware of that when they enshrined impeachment in the Constitution.

    Take the case of Robert Harley Earl of Oxford in 1717, who was one of the charcters in The Favorite. As the movie related, he won the contest to be the Queen’s favorite thru Abigail, supplanting John and Sarah Churchill. But Anne died just a year or two later, and Harley was impeached by the House of Commons when George I took the throne.

    But its not a tool to be used lightly as the Republicans discovered in the 1998 midyear elections, although I’ll note it didn’t stop a GOP president from being elected 2 years later.

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