Impeaching a president immediately after his election sets a dangerous precedent and should be avoided at all costs. While news of President Trump's alleged "obstruction of justice" continues to make the rounds, momentum is gathering to call for his impeachment and conviction. Such uncertainty worries investors and financial markets and the U.S. dollar's fate hinges on a resolution to this political uncertainty.
The core issue of impeachment that appears to be lost on the majority of observers and the American electorate in particular, is that the impeachment process is not a judicial one, it is a political one. There is no grand jury, prosecutor, or judge. The impeachment process is conducted by politicians that act in those roles.
The House of Representatives is free to interpret Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution as it sees fit and thus is the de facto grand jury. The house judiciary committee generally investigates any claim of wrong-doing and makes a recommendation to the House. Technically any member of the House can begin impeachment proceedings as the committee's vote is non-binding and the House may decide to proceed with impeachment whatever the committee's decision. It's role ends as it decides whether their is sufficient evidence for the Senate to try the president for a "high crime or misdemeanor." A simple majority of the House and a president is immediately "impeached," meaning he or she goes on trial for actions that the House deemed serious enough to remove him or her.
A "trial" in the Senate with the senators acting as the jury determines the fate of the president. If a two-thirds majority of senators believes the president deserves removal, he or she is removed making the vice-president the president. With Trump becoming the second president in the last two decades to lose the popular vote and win the electoral college, it is clear the majority of Americans do not side with him. So what? The U.S. Constitution does not give the majority of Americans a say. In fact, it doesn't even allow the removal of a president if nearly all Americans believed he should be removed. Only 67 senators have the power to remove a president. The United States doesn't have early elections and therefore every president is entitled to a four-year term barring his or her "conviction."
That's the entire impeachment process. So what is there to prevent a hostile Congress from impeaching and removing a president immediately after an election? The whole point of not calling for early elections is that Congress and the executive must respect the decisions of the people. The people also need to be aware of the magnitude of their decision. The country is stuck with a president for four years, whether the people like it or not and therefore the decision is one that shouldn't be taken lightly.
To the case of President Trump. His detractors argue he ordered FBI director James Comey to suspend his investigation into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Comey refused. Trump fired Comey. This is the gist of the current argument to impeach Trump. Maybe this is obstruction of justice. But how is this different from the president appointing an attorney general with the full knowledge that the AG won't prosecute despite the FBI's findings?
President Trump's blatant anti-Muslim stance with the Muslim flight ban isn't any less of a crime. Even though I believe there was a violation of civil rights, I would not support the impeachment of the president for this crime. He ran on this. The people approved of his discrimination. He won. That's it. I'm not disappointed in Trump, I'm disappointed in the American electorate. But we are now beyond that. Trump is the president. Talk of impeachment within the first 100 days reeks of bad faith.
The fundamental problem with impeachment and questions surrounding it is that there is very little precedent to back up any argument. No presidents have been convicted and removed and only two of 45 have been impeached. Perhaps definitive decisions by the Supreme Court on what constitutes a "high crime" would benefit the country for years to come. Decisions on delaying prosecution for crimes that do not materially effect the president's ability to execute his responsibilities in office are apparently urgently necessary. We are in unchartered territory here and the Supreme Court needs to prevent further uncertainty from taking hold.