Founders, impeachment

Having just finished Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, my interest in the debate of impeaching President Trump was especially piqued.

Just imagine: It was 229 years ago on Sept. 17, 1787 when the founding fathers ratified our Constitution at Independence Hall.

To Hamilton, the impeachment power was critical because a president must not be above the law. Chernow recently wrote a Washington Post article about why Hamilton pushed for impeachment powers.

Trump is what he had in mind, Chernow writes: “Hamilton harbored an abiding fear that a brazen demagogue could seize the office.”

That worry helps explain why he analyzed impeachment in such detail: He viewed it as a crucial instrument to curb possible abuses arising from the enlarged [presidential] powers he otherwise championed.

From the outset, Hamilton feared an unholy trinity of traits in a future president: ambition, avarice and vanity.

Hamilton felt the impeachment power was an important link in the strong chain of checks and balances that would keep the separation of powers between the three branches: judiciary, legislative and executive in balance.

What President Trump is accused of fits squarely into what the founders intended to be impeachable.

Robert Anderson

Marquette

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