On Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) called on the black community to support impeaching President Donald Trump. She told a Congressional Black Caucus town hall that Congress can use any pretext for impeachment, and that “there is no law” restricting the practice.
“Impeachment is about whatever Congress says it is. There is no law that dictates impeachment,” Waters declared.
While the congresswoman admitted that the Constitution says “high crimes and misdemeanors,” she argued that the founding document suggests members of Congress could “define that.”
“Bill Clinton got impeached because he lied,” Waters declared. “Here you have a president who I can tell you and guarantee you is in collusion with the Russians, to undermine our democracy. Here you have a president who has obstructed justice, and here you have a president that lies every day.”
“When is the black community going to say, ‘Yeah, impeach him!’ It’s time to go after him,” she declared.
Waters has become one of the most vocal advocates for a Trump impeachment, starting a catchphrase “Impeach 45.” Many of her fellow Democrats have been rather hesitant to jump on board.
To some extent, Waters is correct that Congress determines the full meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” She was wrong to suggest that “there is no law that dictates impeachment.” The Constitution is the highest law of the land and its position on impeachment is clear.
Specifically, Article II Section 4 stipulates the reasons for impeachment.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Unless Trump can be accused of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” he cannot be impeached.
While Waters claimed Clinton was impeached for “lying,” he was actually impeached for perjury — lying under oath.
Words have meanings. Liberals may bandy about the word “treason” like it’s going out of style, but that crime is expressly defined in the Constitution, and neither the nebulous “collusion” nor withdrawing from the Paris agreement foots that bill.
The Russia “collusion” investigation would have to prove a great deal more damning — to Trump and his motives specifically — than it appears right now.
Even “obstruction of justice” would be a hard pill to swallow. It sounds reasonable at first, except when liberals consider the fact that if Trump obstructed justice by directing FBI Director James Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn, Obama was just as guilty of the same, when he delivered a not-so-veiled message that Hillary Clinton ought not be investigated. Andrew C. McCarthy has a solid, pithy, and poignant piece on this very point at National Review.
Interestingly, while many Americans agree with Waters that Trump should be impeached, they actually admit he doesn’t deserve this, a poll from May found.
While 43 percent of voters said they want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, which represents an increase from 38 percent last week, a full 54 percent of these people said he should be impeached for reasons other than those stipulated by the Constitution.
These activists for impeachment agreed with the statement, “President Trump has proven he is unfit to serve and should be removed from office, regardless of whether he committed an impeachable offense or not.”
In May, a grand total of 18 percent said Trump has actually done something worthy of impeachment under the Constitution.
Ultimately, impeachment is a political question, and it is rather telling that only 18 percent of Americans agreed with Waters that Trump has actually done something worth being impeached over.