Presidential impeachments are vanishingly rare in American constitutional history: in the 230 years since ratification, only three presidents have faced serious attempts to remove them from office. And yet, as President Donald J. Trump’s tumultuous tenure continues, it seems increasingly plausible that we’ll see a fourth.
In ordinary times, in ordinary presidencies, impeachment talk is considered taboo: the “I-word” is heard only on the political fringes, if it’s heard at all. Yet Trump’s first year in office saw four resolutions, containing a total of nine articles of impeachment against him, formally introduced in the House. Recent polls reveal strong support for an impeachment inquiry among the Democratic base. Should the Democrats recapture the House in the 2018 midterms, even reluctant members may find that pressure difficult to resist.