House Judiciary Committee releases report on constitutional grounds for impeachment
Photo credit: Stephanie Sundier
House Judiciary Committee releases report on constitutional grounds for impeachment

The US House Judiciary Committee released a report on Saturday outlining the constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment. The report does not refer to specific allegations against President Donald Trump but rather, lays out the history and constitutional law of presidential impeachment. A similar report was issued during Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton’s impeachment inquiries.

The report states the purpose of impeachment is “not to inflict punishment for past wrongdoing, but rather save the Nation from misconduct that endangers democracy and the rule of law.” The main issue therefore, is whether leaving Trump in office “imperils” the constitution.

The report further states what constitutes impeachable offenses. The framers declared impeachable offenses are “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The report defines treason as an “unforgivable betrayal of the Nation and its security.” Bribery is defined as an “abuse of power.” Impeachable bribery occurs when the president “offers, solicits, or accepts something of personal value to influence his own official actions.” High crimes and misdemeanors are defined as 1) abuse of power, 2) betrayal of the nation through foreign entanglements, and 3) corruption of office and elections.

According to these standards, the House must determine whether the “president’s misconduct is grave enough to require impeachment.” The House Judiciary Committee released this report ahead of Monday’s impeachment hearing involving arguments from lawyers on both sides.