This is the first of a series of posts that I hope will make up the daily bread of this site. The other key components are three: (1) a bibliography of sources on impeachment generally, to which you can find a link in the sidebar to the left; (2) a set of essays that attempt to explain impeachment basics and issues particular to the situation of Mr. Trump, which will also be accessible by links in the left sidebar; and (3) daily postings of relevant articles and editorial commentary from other sources, sometimes accompanied by commentary.
It will take some time to get all these sections and functions up and running smoothly, but once operational, I hope they will be useful to readers.
Until then, a few opening remarks.
The Trump presidency is already unique in American experience, not least because it is, to my knowledge, the very first in which moderately serious discussion of the possibility of impeachment began before the president took the oath of office. Some of this was, and remains, as Mr. Trump’s defenders insist, merely sour grapes from those shocked by Trump’s ascendancy to the office. On the other hand, Mr. Trump’s outré pre- and post-election behavior has been so far outside American political norms that early impeachment talk was probably inevitable.
It might be argued that the instantaneous blossoming of impeachment talk is merely another regrettable manifestation of the extraordinary political polarization of the past few years. While there is some truth to that suggestion, it is equally true that the presidency of Donald Trump could not have occurred without that polarization and that, once in office, Mr. Trump eschewed the traditional post-election rituals of reconciliation and consciously stoked sentiments of division. Therefore, those who profess anger that Mr. Trump has not received the deference at least initially accorded other new presidents stand on tenuous ground. They want to claim the safe harbor of traditional political norms for a man who consciously based his electoral campaign and his post-election behavior on the appeal of abandoning precedent and shattering norms.
Fair or not, impeachment talk is now common currency. The question that this site will discuss is whether all the talk can, as a matter of constitutional law, and should, as a matter of sound stewardship of the American nation, be translated into removal of Mr. Trump from office.