In this light, it isn’t crazy to worry that in the current polarized political environment, presidential impeachment will be transformed into a political weapon — and that Trump’s impeachment and trial will create impeachment-happy future Republicans, seeking to unseat Democratic presidents.

A less-than-ideal response to that worry would be to hope that the precedent would be set instead by the preposterous argument proffered by Starr and the retired criminal law professor Alan Dershowitz: that presidential wrongdoing is not impeachable unless it is also a statutory crime or other violation of law.

That argument is a grotesque betrayal of the Constitution, because the key phrase of the impeachment clause (“other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”) was clearly understood to include egregious abuses of power, such as violations of civil liberties and misuse of the pardon power.