Trump says he 'can't imagine the courts allowing' him to be impeached even though it's up to Congress, not the courts

  • President Donald Trump appeared to misunderstand how the process of presidential impeachment works, saying on Thursday that he “can’t imagine the courts” would allow Congress to impeach him.
  • Asked by a reporter if he thinks he’ll be impeached by Congress, Trump replied, “I don’t see how. They can because they’re possibly allowed, although I can’t imagine the courts allowing it.”
  • Impeachment experts were quick to point out that Congress can vote to impeach the president without the involvement of the courts.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump appeared to misunderstand how the process of presidential impeachment works, remarking to reporters on Thursday morning that he “can’t imagine the courts allowing” Congress to impeach him, despite the fact that Congress can impeach the president without judicial involvement.

Asked by a reporter if he thinks he’ll be impeached by Congress,Trump replied, “I don’t see how. They can because they’re possibly allowed, although I can’t imagine the courts allowing it.”

Impeachment experts were quick to point out that Congress can vote to impeach the president without the involvement of the courts.

“The Framers quite deliberately vested the power of impeachment in the House, and of trial in the Senate,” Yoni Appelbaum, a historian and writer at The Atlantic, tweeted. “‘The courts’ have no role to play here whatsoever.”

Trump went on to call the term impeachment “a dirty, filthy, disgusting word” that has “nothing to do” with him and argued that, in order to be impeached, he would have to be found guilty of both “high crimes” and “misdemeanours.” The constitutional standard defines impeachable offenses as “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours.”

“It’s high crimes and – not ‘with’ or ‘or’ – it’s high crimes and misdemeanours,” Trump said. “There was no high crime and there was no misdemeanour, so how do you impeach based on that?”

Appelbaum argued that the Constitution doesn’t require the president to commit both categories of offenses and that not all impeachable offenses are technically crimes.

“The president says, “It’s high crimes AND misdemeanours, not high crimes OR misdemeanours.” Which is true! But it’s not a dual requirement, it’s an eighteenth-century legal term of art,” he wrote. “Not all impeachable offenses are statutory crimes; not all statutory crimes are impeachable offenses. The president is making a basic category error here.”

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