Impeachment does not "overturn" an election

Against that backdrop, it’s difficult to see how removing Mr. Trump would “overturn” the results of the election, since the same party that won would remain in control of the White House. But there’s a deeper and more important point here: The founders wrote the impeachment and removal power into the Constitution at a time when that wasn’t true — when there was no 12th Amendment, and so it was entirely possible that removing the president from office would hand power over to one of his rivals.

That’s exactly what would have happened, for instance, if the Democratic-Republicans had taken over Congress in the 1798 midterm elections instead of in 1800, and then removed Adams in favor of Jefferson. But even in the face of that possibility, the founders still gave the House the power to impeach and the Senate the power to remove — because it was more important that the legislature should have a check on the executive.

Checks and balances run in both directions. To that end, the Constitution’s drafters took away the vice president’s power to preside over presidential removal trials in the Senate (and gave it to the chief justice). And although a bare majority of the House has the power to impeach, the founders required a two-thirds vote of the Senate for removal — to ensure that a geographically representative supermajority agreed with the House’s determination that the president had engaged in misconduct that should disqualify him from office.

Trending on HotAir Video