We Shouldn’t Impeach Trump on the Basis of Flawed Legal Theory

As the U.S. House of Representatives hurtles toward impeachment ahead of the holidays, it is appropriate to consider, in as dispassionate a way as possible, what really is at issue for the country to decide. One must begin with the words of the Constitution. The removal of the President from office necessarily proceeds only with a determination, through House impeachment and upon conviction by a two-thirds majority in the Senate following trial, that “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” have been proved. What constitutes a “high” crime? Alexander Hamilton provided the answer in the Federalist papers: only those offenses within Congress’s appropriate jurisdiction that constitute “the abuse or violation of some public trust.”

So while it is fashionable at the moment for some to argue that President Trump is removable from office simply if it is proved that he abused the power of his office during his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, the Constitution requires more. To ignore the requirement of proving that a crime was committed is to sidestep the constitutional design as well as the lessons of history. A well-founded article of impeachment therefore must allege both that a crime has been committed and that such crime constitutes an abuse of the President’s office…

At this point nothing appears to stand in the way of the House’s intemperate and unreasonable vote to impeach. In Hamilton’s words, events are proceeding “more by the comparative strength of parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” It will be left instead to the U.S. Senate sitting as a court of impeachment with the “requisite neutrality” and the nation’s best interests in mind to render judgment and put a stop to what is an undeniably, and all but exclusively, partisan effort to remove this President from office. Only then can the country return to the business at hand, which is the fast-approaching 2020 election, now less than a year away, and the other important and pressing matters before the nation.

Article URL : https://time.com/5720748/impeachment-trump-flawed-legal-theory/

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