Donald J. Trump may have committed a monumental mistake by divulging highly classified information to visiting Russian diplomats.
He well might have put some intelligence operations in jeopardy; indeed, let us pray we don’t lose any lives as a result of whatever he might have told the Russians who he welcomed into the Oval Office.
Social media are buzzing with talk about impeachment, that the president might have committed a treasonous act.
Let hold on here.
I detest Trump as much as the next guy. However, it’s good to realize that in order to be impeached by the House of Representatives and tried by the Senate, a president needs to commit a “high crime and misdemeanor.” Trump likely didn’t do anything illegal.
You can bet that he might have done something that is far more “careless” and “reckless” than anything Hillary Rodham Clinton did when she used her personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state. Did the president commit an impeachable offense?
It’s not likely.
There well might be other grounds on which to impeach the president. I can think of obstruction of justice, for one thing, dealing with his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, who at the time of his firing was in the middle of an investigation into whether Trump had an improper relationship with Russian government officials.
The Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution also might prove problematic for Trump as he continues to have interests in businesses that have dealings with foreign governments.
As outrageous as Trump’s relationship with Russia is proving to be, his reported carelessness with classified information doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment.
The founders set a high standard for such an action, although President Clinton’s impeachment did seem to stretch far beyond what one would constitute grounds for impeachment. Congressional Republicans hung their impeachment vote on the president’s failure to speak the truth under oath to a federal grand jury which asked him about his relationship with that White House intern; U.S. senators, though, acquitted him in the trial that ensued.
It’s good to scale back the impeachment talk regarding Donald Trump as it relates to this latest bombshell. What he might have done stinks to high heaven and there well could be blowback. Impeachment? It doesn’t appear to be a natural consequence of what the president might have disclosed to his Russian guests.