Magazine December 09, 2019, Issue

Impeachment Requires Consensus

Engraving depicting the 1868 impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)
The process is political, not legal

On impeachment, we are bipolar. In President Donald Trump’s case, Americans who hold diametrically opposite positions — passionate belief that he is unfit and must be removed, or intense conviction that he is just what America needs to tame the “deep state,” which has subjected him to a three-year “witch hunt” — can look at the same facts, draw antithetical conclusions, and claim total vindication.

How can that be?

It is because impeachment defies the story that we tell ourselves about who we are: a people dedicated, first and foremost, to the rule of law. To the contrary, we are a body

This article appears as “‘To Doom to Honor or Infamy’” in the December 9, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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Readers write in with fond memories of fatherhood, some long-held admiration, and some prefix pedantry.


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