Amid the pressure of a House impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump has continued to stoke the idea that he’s the victim of a coup — shorthand for “coup d’etat,” a French term that means the overthrow of the government.
However, his use of the word “coup” to describe impeachment, a constitutionally defined process, is not accurate, even as a figure of speech.
Michael Klarman, a Harvard Law School professor, told us that you can’t get much more within the bounds of legality than an explicit power outlined in the Constitution.
“It’s obviously not a coup for the House to launch impeachment proceedings,” Klarman told us in early October.
“What is going on today in the United States is a constitutionally sanctioned process that is an integral part of the checks and balances that have been vital to the longevity and success of the U.S. Constitution and the Republic it created,” he told PolitiFact.
He added that “there is nothing sudden or decisive about what is going on in the House of Representatives. It is conducting a deliberative, constitutionally sanctioned process. If an impeachment resolution is adopted, it will simply be forwarded to the Senate to conduct a trial.”