There are many Democrats and others who are baying for Pres. Trump to be impeached. Should he be impeached? Based on the opinions of several legal experts interviewed by Fareed Zakaria for a special on impeachment on CNN, the answer is definitely “no”.
This in no way means an endorsement of Trump’s policies or of his agenda, but it does have to do with what the founding fathers meant when they added impeachment to the Constitution. Therein it states that a President can only be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Over the years this has been interpreted to mean significant crimes when the President is in office, that could endanger the security of the United States. Note the fact that it has to be when the President is actually serving in that office, nothing that was done before he or she was inaugurated can be considered as a sufficient article of impeachment.
It may be that members of Trump’s election committee committed terrible crimes, but that does not justify impeachment, it may even be that Trump himself engaged in nefarious conduct, but that does not justify impeachment. For example, it is well-known that Barack Obama was in contact with Russian President Putin before his inauguration, but that does not constitute reason for impeachment, neither does it for Pres. Trump.
Only two US Presidents have actually been impeached. The first was Andrew Johnson, in 1868, for dismissing Edwin M. Stanton as secretary of war and the second was Bill Clinton, in 1998 for charges of lying under oath in regards to sexual relations with a White House intern. Both presidents were acquitted in trials that were held by the Senate because the two-thirds majority votes needed to convict them, were not reached. This meant both presidents remained in office and served the remainder of their terms. President Richard M. Nixon also faced impeachment after the Watergate scandal in 1974 but, as it was near-certain that he would be removed from office, Nixon decided to resign before the impeachment process could be completed. All three were being impeached for serious acts they committed while in office.
It will be a sad and dangerous precedent if left-wing Democrats get their way and have the Senate vote articles of impeachment against Pres. Trump for what amount to political differences and unpopular policies. For example, colluding with Russia prior to being inaugurated as President does not constitute reasons for impeachment; building a wall on the southern US border may seem to many a totally wrong policy, but it certainly does not amount to reasons for impeachment; refusing to re-start funding for the Government unless he gets a program funded, may seem very bad policy to many, but it does not constitute reasons for impeachment. And then again, the Senate must vote on impeachment, and since the Senate is controlled by the Republicans, there is no way that two-thirds of the Senate is going to vote for impeachment. So the new, young, left-wing Congressmen and women should stop this nonsense about impeaching Pres. Trump, unless they know about something terrible he has actually done while already President.