From the Constitution of the United States at Article 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.
So far there have been only two Presidents subjected to impeachment: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Johnson was impeached for violating the Tenure of Office Act, which was a law passed against Johnson’s veto to ensure that Republican allies stayed on the President’s Cabinet and attempted to limit his ability to remove those officers. Clinton was impeached on several counts related to his deposition during the Paula Jones lawsuit, including perjury which is a felony practically everywhere in the United States.
Yet before Trump was even sworn in, many were considering impeachment as a means of getting him out of power quickly. Not for anything he actually did, but only because Democrats didn’t want him in office. In other words, it was little more than a political hissy-fit by those who didn’t like the fact their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost.
On Facebook I left this observation a few days before Trump’s inauguration:
Impeachment is supposed to be for “high crimes and misdemeanors” committed while in office. And while the definition of that rests with the House of Representatives, it’s not a power to be thrown around just because. It doesn’t matter if Pence is favored by Republicans. They’d be risking losing their majorities if they just willy-nilly impeached Trump the moment he stepped into office.
Democrats are looking for any way to keep the will of the States from becoming reality. They tried lobbying the electors, and that didn’t work. They tried objecting to the electoral college count, and that failed. Democrats, specifically Maxine Waters, are the ones leading the calls for impeachment. It’s a last ditch effort, the Hail Mary play from the opposing goal line, the long bomb thrown out of the end zone. Impeach him before he has any chance to do anything.
Impeaching the President of the United States is a serious matter. And is to be used for serious matters. That is why the language of the Constitution says “high crimes and misdemeanors”. In other words, the President should only be impeached for demonstrated violations of the law. And impeachment being brought up with Trump before he was even inaugurated shows that, at least to Democrats, impeachment is a political tool.
But then the left has been screaming “impeachment” ever since Clinton was actually impeached. They screamed it with Bush, so no surprise they’re now screaming it with Trump.
Again, though, impeachment is not a political tool. It is a serious tool for serious matters, and should only be used for serious matters. Johnson was impeached because he was continually interfering with the Republican-led Congress, and his alleged violation of the Tenure of Office Act gave them what they needed to impeach him. Johnson had he highest veto percentage and highest veto override percentage as well. And with Bush, it seemed every little thing he did or said should’ve resulted in impeachment articles according to Democrats.
And now with Trump, apparently the mere fact he won the White House is an impeachable offense.