Maxine Waters: “Impeachment Is . . . Whatever The Congress Says It Is”

1024px-Congresswoman_Waters_official_photoRep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has become an icon for the left in her unrelenting calls for impeachment of President Donald Trump and tapping into the blind rage across the country.  That appeal to the base however took a worrisome turn this week as Waters rallied supporters around the assurance that impeachment is anything they want to say it is.  As I stated recently to the Rolling Stones, this view was made popular by Gerald Ford and has been uniformly condemned by constitutional experts.  Waters is dismissing the constitutional obligation to find “high crimes and misdemeanors” in assuring supporters that they can simply get rid of Trump on a muscle vote.  Political convenience has long been the enemy of constitutional principle, but this effort is highly dangerous for our country as a whole.  We are living in an age of rage and Waters’ approach would create an channel to direct that lethal rage into the heart of our political system.

Gerald_Ford_-_NARA_-_530680.tifIn 1970, when Gerald Ford was still a member of the House of Representatives, he  said, “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be.”  It was a reckless and inaccurate statement.  On a very superficial level it is a political decision in the sense that it’s a decision that is ultimately made by politicians. However, that does not make the basis for decision purely political.  It is akin to saying that, since a priest can grant absolution on his own authority, sin is a discretionary pastoral question.  The Framers struggled to establish a standard and process to make impeachment both difficult and substantive.  They did not want a parliamentary system where impeachment was just a variation of a vote of no confidence as I discussed recently in a column.

Waters is advocating precisely this type of dangerous approach to impeachment.  She told the Congressional Black Caucus Town Hall on Civil Rights:

“Don’t come here and tell me, ‘Maxine, you keep on doing what you do.’ But when you gonna give me some support? How many of you in your organizations have said, ‘Impeach 45’ ? . . . Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is. There is no law that dictates impeachment. What the Constitution says is ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ and we define that.”


It is precisely the same constitutional short selling that has characterized the Democratic leadership for a decade — trashing constitutional values to achieve short-term gains.  During the eight years of Obama, Democrats supported the unilateral actions taken by the president in circumventing Congress. That resulting uber presidency was then handed to Trump — only to have Democrats denounce the very unilateral powers that they endorsed previously.

Waters and her supporters would unravel the delicate balance struck by the Framers and remove any real limitations on political impeachments for future presidents.  Trump will not be our last president, but Waters would create precedent for future members to discard their obligations and simply vote their political agendas.  It is a system that few should relish and most would come to regret.

203 thoughts on “Maxine Waters: “Impeachment Is . . . Whatever The Congress Says It Is””

  1. Is M. Waters not daily engaged in cantankerous, partisan, anti-Trump rhetoric? Is she not a disgrace to her own constituents? If not, should she not be? Has she not provoked racial divide for decades? Has she not been elected by playing the berating, divisive race card? In short, if only we could legally find her guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanor.”

    1. According to Waters, the LA rioters (anyone remember that something like 53 people died during the riots and the Marine Corps had to restore order?) were all single mothers trying to loot stores for formula. To paraphrase Michael Jackson, if you can’t feed the baby don’t have the baby.

      1. I thought that Michael Jackson said, if you can’t molest the baby, then don’t have the baby.

        1. I do know for a fact Jackson never received 21 months of weiner in prison under his real name or the assumed name Carlos Danger. And I wonder, is there a Jackson song in which “impeesh fodie fie” fits the tune? Who is Fodie Fie anyway and what does impeesh mean? 🙂

    2. She is not mentally or emotionally fit for Congress. The level of immaturity is disturbing considering her elevated years. Perhaps her wig is too tight.

  2. “…[T]he Constitution says, ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ and we define that.”

    Yes; but the definitions have to be enshrined into law in advance. The Constitution also has a provision against ex post facto laws, so Rep. Waters should understand that the laws President Trump (or any other President in the future) would be charged with have to already be crimes before the start of the trial. And I seriously doubt that any Congress would pass an “Anyone Opposed to Maxine Waters’ Ideas Law” would get even a single co-sponsor.

    After all her rants, I still haven’t heard her articulate any law that President Trump has violated. I have heard her say that the President didn’t release his past tax returns, which I don’t think is a requirement to be eligible to run for President. I also would seriously doubt that more than a handful of national news reporters would be able to understand and explain his returns fairly. I witnessed the effort a guest from the New York Times (who was knowledgeable about tax returns) attempt to explain the one page which purported to be from one of his tax returns, and there were no revelations exposed.

    Other than that, what else does Rep. Waters believe was a crime committed by the President?

    Reversing some of President Obama’s executive orders? The problem with governing by executive order is that the next occupant can reverse them without consequence.

    I don’t know where this talk is going, but I have a preference for where it ends: In the trash.

    1. Yes; but the definitions have to be enshrined into law in advance. The Constitution also has a provision against ex post facto laws, s

      Which would never apply. There isn’t any superordinate provision against which to test any exercise of discretion by Congress.

    2. Similarly, I have yet to hear anyone on the Democrat side of the aisle articulate what happens AFTER an impeachment of Trump and Pence. I’ve asked numerous times here and in other forums. Thus far? Crickets.

      I suspect Democrats can’t answer because they are among those in the Annenberg poll that can’t name the branches of government, list the rights enshrined in the First Amendment, etc.

  3. Worth watching in case you missed it Natacha and want to better understand why your girl Hillary — an intensely disliked, deranged, corrupt, incompetent, sociopath lost to the supposedly ‘worst candidate of all time,’ Donald Trump. Hint: It wasn’t because of James Comey or The Russians…

      1. Sure and can you define what “hacked” means? Did the ‘Ruskies’ change any vote tallies?

          1. So you heard that the Ruskies hacked the election and changed votes? You know that Hillary won the popular vote, right? So you think Putin made sure to go in and change votes in the states that Dems haven’t lost in decades to help Trump win those states? Can you hear yourself?

            Watch and learn a little something Ken:

              1. Ken, those hacks may be for future use. John R. Schindler at Observer reported that Russian “diplomats” [spies] have been mapping the fiber-optic cable system in America looking for remote locations to tap in. Rex Tillerson is doing nothing about it. The FBI had to pick up the slack from The State Department.

        1. So what did their “hack” of 20 states result in? Quote me links to websites that convey your claim…


          We can look forward and you can answer a question I’ve posed dozens of time here and elsewhere and to date have not received an answer: let’s say Trump and Pence are both impeached. What happens next?

          1. Ken answered that question a page or two ago. If you missed it, Ken’s answer was President Ryan. If you read it, pleas explain why you reject that answer–since you keep repeating the question incessantly. Indeed, why don’t you just go ahead on and answer your own question, already.

            Why this coyness of yours, andrewworkshop?

  4. When characters like her and McCain get elected and reelected in a system then that’s the time to overhaul the system

    1. There is no constitutional requirement for you to live in your district. You merely have to live in the state wherein your district is. Many states will treat you as a resident if you just rent an apartment there a certain distance in time from the election.

      Barriers to entry make most members of Congress impregnable. The one’s who are not face two things: someone of note in their area willing to challenge them and a history of stepping on the toes of neuralgic constituencies. Black political culture is highly conformist, so you see even less of the former than you might ordinarily. As for the latter, Maxine’s peeps are the neuralgic constituency. Cynthia McKinney was primaried successfully because a local judge was willing to challenge her and because there were just enough non-black voters in the district that blacks embarrassed by stupid and emotionally unstable people could put her over the top.

  5. She simply wants the publicity. It would be instructive to examine her on Constitutional law.

  6. yo, enigmainblack –why not get with it and tune in to what the REAL, intelligent and engaged brothers are talking about versus the establishment Dim bs.. Starting around 5 minutes

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