Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), in a recent Newsmax interview, emphasized specific criteria for impeaching a president. He stated, “We don’t want to play politics with impeaching a president like the Democrats did with Trump. So if they send us a case, make sure it’s convictable”.
“And the bar’s real high, there’s no question about it, it’s got to be a misdemeanor, high crime, or treason, and the other part, it has to be committed while he was in office, the current office he holds.”
Constitutional Process of Impeachment
According to the U.S. Constitution, the House of Representatives has the authority to impeach a president or other federal officers for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
This process involves the House approving charges and the Senate conducting a trial to decide on conviction or acquittal.
Reflecting on past events, former President Donald Trump faced impeachment twice but was acquitted by the Senate both times. The House requires a majority for impeachment, while conviction in the Senate needs a supermajority.
Historical Context and Legal Opinions
The notion that impeachable offenses must be committed during the current term in office is not new. Evan Davis, a former member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment inquiry, supports this view.
In an op-ed, Davis wrote, “Impeachment of a President is a grave step for the nation, it is to be predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office.”
This interpretation underscores the importance of the timing of the offense in relation to the presidential term.
Recent Developments in the Biden Impeachment Inquiry
The House has recently approved an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), a key figure in the probe, expressed a commitment to accountability, stating, “Our impeachment inquiry will continue to follow the facts and hold President Biden accountable for his lies, corruption, and obstruction.”
This inquiry scrutinizes President Biden’s actions during his vice presidency and the period between 2018 and 2020.
Evidence and Allegations Against President Biden
The investigation has brought to light allegations contradicting President Biden’s previous claims about not engaging with his son Hunter Biden’s business associates.
A former associate of Hunter Biden testified about the President’s involvement with these associates, including Russians. The focus of the Republicans has primarily been on the actions of the Bidens during the vice presidency and the years following.
Political Reactions and Statements
President Biden has dismissed the inquiry as a “baseless political stunt” lacking factual support. Sen. Markwayne Mullin reiterated the necessity of adhering to the impeachment criteria, saying, “If it’s an impeachable offense … then we absolutely should convict him regardless of the politics behind it.” He also mentioned that some moderate Democrats might support a conviction if the evidence is compelling.
Democratic Senators’ Response to the Inquiry
Democratic senators have criticized the Republican-led investigation, prioritizing other urgent legislative matters. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) referred to the impeachment as a “sham,” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer contrasted the Senate’s focus on national security with the House Republicans’ impeachment efforts.