Impeachable Offenses Need not be Criminal Offenses

Despite what Trump’s supporters say, however, the president can commit an impeachable high crime without violating the federal criminal law. To conclude otherwise would be to ignore the original meaning, purpose and history of the impeachment power; to subvert the constitutional design of a system of checks and balances; and to leave the nation unnecessarily vulnerable to abusive government officials.

. . . .

A president who egregiously misuses the powers of his office or engages in conduct grossly incompatible with the dignity of his office has forfeited the right to continue to occupy his office and is subject to the constitutional judgment of the Senate acting as a court of impeachment. The House and the Senate might conclude that accusations of misconduct are ungrounded or that the remedy of removal is unwarranted, but the misconduct that they might assess need not involve violations of the criminal law.

Impeachable Offenses Need not be Criminal Offenses, by Keith Whittington, The Volokh Conspiracy, Nov. 19, 2019

Impeach / Impeachment (

The Impeachment and Trial of a Former President,” CRS Legal Sidebar LSB10565 (8-page PDFPDF)

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