Why Trump is vulnerable to impeachment

tags: impeachment, Trump

Allan J. Lichtman, a distinguished professor of history at American University, last year correctly predicted Donald Trump’s victory based on his book The Keys to the White House. This column is excerpted from his new book The Case for Impeachment, published today.

To impeach or not to impeach, that is the question: If the president’s misdeeds are serious, not minor or technical, then the answer is yes. As students of history, the framers knew that power corrupts, and they established impeachment as a legal and peaceful means for escaping tyranny without having to resort to revolution or assassination.

Recognizing that presidential misdeeds can take many forms, the delegates set the criteria for impeachment and removal broadly, trusting in the judgment of America’s elected representatives. The resignation of Richard Nixon, who was faced with the prospects of impeachment and conviction, removed from office a president who threatened America’s constitutional order and likely had committed treason and crimes against humanity in Southeast Asia.

President Trump need not match the level of misdeeds of Nixon to warrant his impeachment. But Americans should be mindful of the distinction between that which merits punishment and that which is merely a matter of preference. For example, Trump’s unconventional style or his lack of “presidential” stature and demeanor might offend, but those are not offenses worthy of impeachment. Differences of policy and values do not make a case for impeachment, either. If Trump listens, he can yet change his ways.

Even so, Trump’s history and the path he has followed — as candidate, president-elect and president — show that he is uniquely vulnerable to impeachment. It took three years for the House to impeach Andrew Johnson and nearly five years for the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the near impeachment of Nixon. Yet in the early stages of his presidency, Trump has already begun matching the abuses of Nixon.

Is it shouting into the wind to make the case to a Republican Congress for impeaching a president of their own party? The answer is no. Once Trump becomes more of a liability than an asset to the GOP, the party may be willing to turn on him through impeachment. ...

Read entire article at USA Today

comments powered by Disqus