By Robert Longley
Historically, Congress has issued Articles of Impeachment for acts in three general categories:
- Exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office.
- Behavior grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office.
- Employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.
Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
To date, two federal judges have been impeached and removed from office based on charges of bribery. No federal official has ever faced impeachment based on charges of treason. All other impeachment proceedings held against federal officials, including three presidents, have been based on charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
According to constitutional lawyers, “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” are (1) real criminality — breaking a law; (2) abuses of power; (3) “violation of public trust” as defined by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers. In 1970, then-Representative Gerald R. Ford defined impeachable offenses as “whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”
Source and complete article: https://www.thoughtco.com/impeachment-the-unthinkable-process-3322171