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Impeachment, Just and Unjust

What exactly did the framers mean by putting in the Constitution Article II, Section 4? This is the section that reads, “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.”

Treason is clearly defined in the Constitution: “making war on the United States or giving aid or comfort to her enemies.” Bribery is equally clear: “disregarding one’s duties to the country in exchange for personal reward.” But “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is much murkier. Indeed, at the time the language of the clause was written, “misdemeanors” did not mean a petty crime, it meant, rather, a significantly wrongful action, a misdeed. It appears, then, that impeachment is not necessarily about criminal acts.

The Democrats in power in the current House of Representatives appear to believe that it is cause for impeachment if a President seeks the aid of a foreign power in determining whether a former Vice President and his son were engaged in the impeachable crime of bribery. Their logic seems to be that, because that former Vice President is engaged in the contest for the Presidential nomination by the Democrats in 2020, to seek information on him is to use the current President’s office for personal political purposes, and not...

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