Boundaries of ‘Treason, bribery, high crimes & misdemeanors”
Received Jan. 11
It seems that David Adler and I are in agreement that an impeachable offense is limited to presidential conduct during office. But what are the boundaries?
Actually, the constitution itself provides guidance. Article II, section 4 lists them: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Professor Alan Dershowitz (Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and revered champion of civil rights) has repeatedly made the point that any U.S. president has constitutional control of the Justice Department (after all, it belongs to the Executive Branch).
Therefore, the U.S. president can legally and legitimately direct the conduct of its personnel. Arguably, President Trump could legitimately fire Mueller, unless Mueller’s dismissal was designed to derail the investigation of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” when committed by the president himself, while in office.
So far, the President has prudently refrained from interfering with the Mueller investigation.
(Word count: 149)