Despite what the president’s defenders say, the answer is no.
Keith E. Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He teaches and writes about American constitutional theory and development, federalism, judicial politics, and the presidency. He is the author most recently of "Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech."
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Despite what White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have argued, it is constitutionally acceptable for the House to initiate an impeachment without a formal vote.
President Trump has suggested periodically that the Supreme Court would intervene to block a hypothetical impeachment and trial since (he argues) he has not committed a high crime or misdemeanor. Of course, Trump does not just make this stuff up.
Donald Trump has stoked new fears of an imperial presidency. His obvious fascination with the powers of foreign autocrats is unprecedented for an American president.
From the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, people have been arguing that he should be impeached. That effort faced some rather serious obstacles. Not everyone was convinced that any impeachable offenses had been committed. Not everyone was convinced that impeachment was the right remedy, even if the president had committed impeachable offenses.
There is a tendency to think of impeachable offenses as like landmines. If the president accidentally or purposefully steps on one, then it explodes and he must suffer the consequences. Constitutional lawyers might find this line of thinking particularly attractive because it would allow them to get to work on identifying a finite set of actions as high crimes and misdemeanors and to set Congress about the business of determining whether the president has actually committed such offenses.
Are high crimes cumulative? This is not a question that either Congress or scholars have had much reason to consider, but President Trump’s failings have made it relevant. Moreover, the answer to that question might well matter for conscientious Republican senators faced with an impeachment trial. It is the accumulation of instances of significant misconduct that might justify the impeachment and removal of President Trump rather than a single identifiable act of abuse of power that by itself demands the immediate truncation of the president’s term of office.