Both impeachments have been rushed affairs, the first launched by the speaker’s decree rather than a vote of the House. As Sen. Mitch McConnell complained that first time ’round, “the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is breaking critical precedents, denying the administration important rights that were afforded other presidents, and violating basic rules of due process.” This time is no better. The ranking member of the House Rules Committee, Rep. Tom Cole, points out that Democrats chose “to race to the floor with a new article of impeachment, forgoing any investigation, any committee process or any chance for members to fully contemplate this course of action before proceeding.”
Adding to the aura of capriciousness is that the whole purpose of impeachment is to remove a president from office. Again, there exists a respectable argument that a president who has left office can still be impeached, if only to bar him holding office in the future. But there is also an argument that impeaching and trying a president after he has left is gratuitous and will set troubling precedents of its own.
Unfortunately, impeachment isn’t the only area where the extraordinary has become the order of the day in Mr. Biden’s Washington. From lawmakers’ calls to abolish the Electoral College or kill the filibuster to President Biden’s flurry of executive orders and the unprecedented move by Democrats to strip GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments over flaky statements she made before entering Congress, today’s Democratic majority has no patience for any rule, practice or convention that stands in its way.