So far Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the leadership of the U.S. House Democratic majority have approached the issue of impeachment cautiously; with politics on their minds. This is understandable, but also inconsistent with their constitutional duty.
The Constitution is being violated in plain sight. To protect the Constitution from this president, and future rogue presidencies, the House Judiciary Committee should wrap all the various investigations of Trump into a formal consideration of possible articles of impeachment. Now.
Americans have long debated what constitutes an impeachable offense, but it is clear that the standard for unacceptable presidential conduct is very different from the standard for prosecutable criminal conduct.
Writing in Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton said impeachable acts were:
Those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.
During the Nixon impeachment proceedings, the Judiciary Committee declined to vote an article of impeachment against Nixon for tax evasion, because they did not view this personal criminal act as an impeachable offense, but did impeach for obstruction of justice. The committee based its conclusion on a staff report, “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” which traced the history, precedents and grounds for impeachment. The report concluded:
Because impeachment of a President is a grave step for the nation, it is predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the president.