Keith E. Whittington

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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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Should the House Impeach If the Senate Won’t Convict?

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.

Donald Trump

When Is Impeachment the Right Remedy?

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.


Should Congress Treat Impeachable Offenses Cumulatively?

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.

Federal Law Enforcement

Don’t Subpoena Testimony from the President

Discussions between the president’s legal team and special counsel’s legal team about whether the president will sit down to answer questions have apparently gotten serious—serious enough that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has discussed an extensive list of possible questions with the president’s attorneys.