Impeachment is both the cause and the effect of a too-powerful presidency

Another option would be to limit the power of the presidency. This approach is also difficult, but it can be done. In today’s case, the problem could have been avoided by the simple expedient of making it impossible for any president to control the disbursement of millions of dollars to foreign leaders at his own discretion, and by making that restriction on his authority so clear that favor seekers could have no plausible misunderstanding about who holds the purse strings.

There are matters that are genuinely the business of the executive, the all-important Supreme Court appointments among them. But it is not the case that, as Trump has asserted, “I have an Article II where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

In pursuing impeachment to the exclusion of all else, Congress has muddled the message about its own prerogatives and complicated its defense of them, all while dramatically reducing the time and energy available to actually exercise those prerogatives in a responsible manner.

Impeachment, at least as it is currently being practiced, does not restrict the vast powers of the president—it’s merely an attempt to wrest those powers from a particular man.

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