Impeachment doesn’t require a crime; President should serve with utmost integrity

Posted 17 February 2020 at 11:50 am


A gentlemen from Medina wrote that President Trump should not have been impeached as the President had not committed a crime. I am not going to get into the weeds with him over the definitions of crimes and historical texts that indicate otherwise. (That includes the primary authority Dershowitz read to Congress which was the explanation of the “rouge view”  rather than the author’s actual conclusion.)

It’s not necessary to get into those weeds since the standard for removing Article 3 Federal Judges is exactly the same as for the President  – “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Looking at those matters is instructive enough to show that argument is specious.

Among other non-criminal matters judges have been impeached and ended up without jobs include:

  1. being drunk on the bench;
  2. wanton levy of fines without trial;
  3. neglect of duty bypresiding over a lawsuit the judge had instigated;
  4. imprisoningsomeone with intent to injure him; and
  5. voiding a will by a person leaving some of his money to the Catholic Church because of the judge’s prejudice against Catholics.

We are a English “common law” county. In “civil law” countries most things are presumed to be illegal unless specifically allowed! Here we take the opposite view.

Our traditional view in new situations is to look at law, examine the fundamental human rights/ “natural law” on which the Country was founded in Declaration of Independence and then carefully find a way to balance the demonstrated needs of a properly functioning democracy.

Our case-by-case approach is why each impeachment is treated as unique and not like pulling out a cook book of federal crimes to determine the result. Each is a serious matter which needs to be judged on its own merits – crime or no crime.

In that light consider: Nixon had his “enemies list” for IRS harassment. He also had his “dirty tricks team” to gin up derogatory reporting and character assassination. What happens if a President wakes up and starts the day with his first of several fifths. Or, as Trump is doing now can keep starting and later reopening investigations his own people have investigated and closed.  Nixon at least knew the founders did not mean to permit any of this.

So it is one thing for the Senate to keep a President in office and quite another to think the presidency does not require the utmost integrity and fealty to our country’s best interests. It’s an important distinction that’s now going to have to be sorted out by the next administration.

Conrad F. Cropsey