Noah Feldman, one of the impeachment experts brought in by House Democrats as a witness during the impeachment hearings says that Trump actually hasn’t been impeached yet. “According to the Constitution, impeachment is a process, not a vote,” Feldman explains in an op-ed in Bloomberg. According to Feldman, Pelosi holding up the articles of impeachment indefinitely “would pose a serious problem.”
“Impeachment as contemplated by the Constitution does not consist merely of the vote by the House, but of the process of sending the articles to the Senate for trial,” Feldman explains. “Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution: The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial.”
On Thursday, the House of Representatives officially adjourned without sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. No more votes are expected to be held until January 7, 2020. Nancy Pelosi, however, has suggested she might delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate unless she is convinced the Senate will hold a fair trial.
According to Feldman, however long Nancy Pelosi holds up sending the two articles of impeachment to the Senate, Trump hasn’t been constitutionally impeached. “If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.”
Feldman, I should remind you, isn’t some Trumpster. Feldman has been calling for Trump’s impeachment since March 2017. If Nancy Pelosi has a notion to not send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, Feldman has a warning for her: “If the House never sends the articles, then Trump could say with strong justification that he was never actually impeached. And that’s probably not the message Congressional Democrats are hoping to send.”
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis