Home » Home » Blog 16. When Do President Trump’s Lies and Innuendos Become High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

Blog 16. When Do President Trump’s Lies and Innuendos Become High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

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There is no need to repeat all the lies and baseless insults and innuendos President Trump has made while in office. Article Two, Section Three of the Constitution states that the grounds for impeachment are conviction for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The salient question is how many lies does it take to become a “high Crime” or “Misdemeanor”?

From a comment attributed to President Ford: The House can impeach a President for whatever reason it chooses. There is little precedent for determining the meaning of “other High Crimes and Misdemeanors” as only Presidents Johnson and Clinton have been impeached. Eleven articles of impeachment were brought against President Johnson; precipitated by his dismissal of Secretary of War Stanton and an unpopular replacement. Clinton was impeached for alleged perjury committed while testifying at a deposition as a defendant in a private lawsuit. He denied having sexual relations with Paula Lewinsky despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. A second ground for impeachment arising out of his lies regarding Monica Lewinsky was a charge of obstructing justice of a federal criminal investigation.

The question naturally arises: If a President can be impeached for lying about extra-marital sex, why, does a President lying to the nation about numerous issues affecting the administration of his Presidency not constitute grounds for impeachment? President Trump’s lies affect the ability of citizens to be accurately informed regarding the actions of their government. In other words, a President’s lies affect the viability of democracy. How can a citizen be expected to make sound decisions regarding government when the President has no regard for objective truth?  If a President can obstruct justice, can a President obstruct democracy?

In both cases of presidential impeachment, members of the President’s opposing party brought articles of impeachment. Thus, the likelihood of a Republican-ruled House bringing articles of impeachment against President Trump for lying remains small. If Americans want to impeach a president for lying, Democrats will need to win the congressional elections of 2018. Until then it’s: “Liar, Liar, your country is on fire.”

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Next: Blog 17. The Essential Right to Safety.