Understanding the Context of Impeachable Offenses in the U.S. Constitution

When four constitutional experts testified as part of the House Judiciary Committee’s deliberation of Donald Trump’s impeachable offenses, three of them agreed there was misconduct by the president in carrying out his sworn duty to protect the integrity of the constitution.

The three legal scholars invited by the Democrats, namely Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina, Noah Feldman of Harvard University, and Pamela Karlan of Stanford University, all continued to give emphasis on the grounds with which impeachment proceedings were founded

Although the fourth scholar in the person of Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, who was invited by the Republicans, agreed with the others’ statements about impeachable offense, he criticized the procedural aspect of the hearing as being conducted in haste. As if doing so will lessen the seriousness of the testimonies and evidence presented as proofs of Trump’s misconduct.

Professor Gerhadt remarked that

“Nothing else is impeachable, if what is being discussed is not impeachable.”

What Does the Constitution Say about Impeachable Offenses and What are the Remedies?

The framers of the U.S. constitution made it clear that when a man is elected as President of the United States (POTUS), he cannot act like a king or behave like a dictator. He is the highest political leader of the land but with limited powers to use in defending the sanctity of the constitution and in protecting the interest of the country.

If more actions are needed, he then turns to Congress to seek legislation that will support additional actions deemed necessary in carrying out his duties as POTUS.

As a matter of procedure, the oath taking or the swearing in ceremony is not just a rite. It basically seals the contract between the elected POTUS and the American people; to which his undertaking is to act in accordance with the powers given to him by the Constitution. Otherwise, Congress, which holds the power to impeach a misbehaving president, has the duty to use that power when necessary.

Carrying out a constitutionally prescribed duty is different from exercising a privilege granted by the Constitution. A duty, regardless of partisan, personal belief, or creed must be performed when the laws of the land are being challenged and disregarded.

In House Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler’s opening statement, he mentioned that there is enough damning evidence that made Donald Trump’s impeachment necessary. Trump committed acts meeting three conditions that make a president’s action as impeachable:

  • Betrayal of national interest,
  • Abuse of power, and
  • Interference in the conduct of elections.