In a recent op-ed in Slate, “Everything Trump Did Before Entering Office That Could Justify Impeachment,” Professor Frank Bowman writes, “a successful case for the impeachment of the president must rest not on any single event, but on a pattern of behavior that fatally damages the legitimacy of the president and/or amounts to subversion of the constitutional order.”
Electoral success put Donald Trump into office and gave him political legitimacy. However, presidential misconduct – such as presidential behavior that casts doubt on the validity of the election – may constitute an impeachable offense. But it would have to be outside the norms of political conduct and demonstrate the candidate’s contempt for the democratic process, putting the fair operation of democracy at risk.
The contacts with Russian sources for information about Hillary Clinton and Russian influence on the election via social media gave a foreign adversary leverage over Trump. Professor Bowman writes, “Taken as a whole, Trump’s behavior with Russia during the election was far outside the historical norms of American democratic politics and an egregious betrayal of American foreign policy interests.”