Hans von Spakovsky on Impeachment: Constitution ‘Limits Removal to Current Office Holders’

Demonstrators hold a banner calling for impeachment of US President Donald Trump during a protest outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on January 7, 2021 a day after pro-Trump mob stormed and trashed the Capitol. - President Donald Trump faced a growing chorus of calls January 7 to …
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The Constitution reserves impeachment for those currently holding public office, explained Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative and a senior legal fellow of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, on Monday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.

“It is simply improper under our Constitution to hold an impeachment trial in the Senate when someone is now a private citizen,” von Spakovsky stated. He added, “The whole purpose of impeachment is to get a current federal official out of office so they can’t abuse their powers. Well, when you’re a private citizen, there aren’t any powers for you to abuse.”

Those supporting impeachment of former President Donald Trump “are being blinded by their their hatred for the former president,” von Spakovsky added.

Von Spakovsky noted Article II the Constitution’s parameters for who can be impeached.

“]The Constitution] says who can be removed and who can be barred from future office holding,” remarked von Spakovsky, “And it limits removal to current office holders.”


Von Spakovsky held that impeachment of a former president opens the door to future impeachments of other formers presidents, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

“Even folks who can’t stand President Trump ought to understand what a bad precedent this shapes,” von Spakosvky said. “If it is proper to go after a private citizen, then there would be nothing to stop a future Republican Congress from impeaching and holding a trial on Bill Clinton over the very corrupt pardons that he issued right before he left office, when he pardoned Mark Rich — the fugitive financier year who had given lots of money to him — or the Puerto Rican terrorists that he pardoned to help his wife in her Senate race.”

Von Spakovsky held that a precedent set by impeaching a former president would allow for future impeachment pursuits against Obama over the 44th president’s role in the Fast and Furious operation and his administration’s surveillance of Trump’s first presidential campaign and transition team.

Von Spakovsky concluded of impeaching former office holders, “It’s just not constitutional.”

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