So what exactly is impeachment?

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The constitution allows Congress to remove sitting presidents from their office if they vote that the president has committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

When the constitution was ratified, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers that impeachment was applicable to “those offenses 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.”

Team Trump argues that a high crime or misdemeanor means something like treason and that Democrats are politicizing the issue, but the phrase actually goes back to common law tradition in Britain and can be boiled down to an abuse of power by an elected official.

 

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