We all knew that the US Constitution is largely ignored by Congress, but you would think that when it comes to something as important as impeachment, it would pay at least lip service to proper procedure. Apparently with the current Democrat-controlled Congress, even that is too much to ask.
The Constitution in Article II, Section 4 states that: “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.”
Article I, Section 3 states: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”
Donald Trump is no longer the President. Nor is he the Vice President or a civil officer of the United States. Therefore he cannot be removed from office since he has no office from which to be removed. And since he has no office from which to be removed, he cannot be convicted because the opportunity to try or convict him ended on January 20.
The reason Democrats are trying to convict him is because they think that convicting him will result in his inability to be elected in the future. But that is something that isn’t certain, as it isn’t clear that the Presidency, Vice Presidency, or other elected offices are offices of honor, trust, or profit under the Constitution.
Those terms weren’t defined in the Constitution, but based on the language of the Constitution, there is a very strong case to be made that elected officials aren’t officers of the United States. After all, Article I, Section 6 states that no Senator or Representative may hold a civil Office under the authority of the United States, and no one holding office under the United States may be a Member of Congress.
At the very least, the President and Vice President can be argued not to be officers of the United States. Article II, Section 2 gives the President the authority to appoint the officers of the United States, therefore implying that he himself is not one. Other elected officials, since they aren’t appointed by the President, can be argued not to be officers of the United States either.
Democrats may think that this is splitting hairs, but this is vitally important. Congress, by engaging in this egregiously partisan and biased impeachment is turning itself into a kangaroo court, and doing a great disservice to the Constitution. While Donald Trump will likely not be convicted just due to the fact that there aren’t enough votes in the Senate, the fact that a trial was even called is a disservice not just to Trump but to the rule of law in the United States, and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.