Yes, You Can Be Impeached

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An increasingly oft-repeated canard from a clearly anxiety ridden White House is that somehow a “successful” president is unable to be impeached.

This is a ludicrous position on its face for several reasons, and we can take this apart to look at each one.

First, how do you impeach a president? Although that was likely a rhetorical question we can still answer quickly simply by quoting the U.S. Constitution, Art. II, Section 4.:

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

The next point “who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time…” That is not really an arguable point, there have been many elections, how is the 2016 election the “greatest of all time”? I am sure in Trump’s narcissistic, adderall-ridden mind it was the greatest because he won, but unless there are some generally agreed upon, measurable criteria of greatness for an election, it is a moot point.

Moving on, “done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded)”. A denial and counter-accusation in one sentence, but completely irrelevant.

Impeachment proceedings are not trials to determine guilt or innocence, they are more analogous to an arraignment hearing to decide whether a trial should occur, that trial would be held in the senate. Both Presidents Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were impeached, and then subsequently acquitted by the senate. The impeachment is more of a formal accusation than an adjudication. The first step in the process to censure and/or remove a sitting president.

The delineation of authority in the process is defined in Article 1, Section 2, clause 5 which gives the House of Representatives sole power of impeachment, while Article 1, Section 2, clause 6 gives the Senate the sole authority to try the impeached person.

Continuing on, the next part of Trump’s argument continues “had the most successful first two years of any president”. Seriously, this is absurd. By what standard is he measuring success? A tax cut that didn’t do what it was supposed to do? Forcing two ultra-conservative SCOTUS justices down our throats? It doesn’t matter, let’s just look at his approval rating for the first two years. According to Gallup, his highest ever approval since being elected has been 45%, and that was in July of 2018.

Most recently, as most reflective of his first two years, he is at an abysmal 39% approval, and 55% disapproval. Surely if he had “the most successful two years” he would have better approval ratings, no?

For comparison, after his first two years, President Obama’s ratings were 50% approval, 42% disapproval; which honestly isn’t stellar, but he wasn’t crowing about being the “most successful” either, was he?

Lastly, Trump’s final point, “is the most popular Republican in party history 93%”. This is simultaneously a provable lie, also completely inconsequential. For starters, George W. Bush, in the aftermath of 9/11, had a stunning 99% approval of republicans, and a record-breaking 90% approval of all Americans. It is also important to consider that as of December of 2018, only 26% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, so 93% of Republicans is not nearly as significant as he seems to believe.

The most important point, however, is that neither popularity nor performance can ever be a consideration for or against impeachment. If evidence exists that a President — ANY PRESIDENT — engaged in bribery, treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors, impeachment is a duty of the House of Representatives. It is not a matter of convenience or political expediency, it is a constitutional imperative.

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