Impeachment is the nuclear weapon in the constitutional arsenal of the United States. It is supposed to be deployed only in the most exceptional circumstances, when a prima facie case can be made against a president for “high crimes and misdemeanours”.
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The procedure was imported into the US constitution by the founding fathers from Britain, and until yesterday had been used against just two incumbents – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. There were also attempts to impeach John Tyler in 1842 and Richard Nixon in 1974, though the latter resigned before proceedings began.
Now Donald Trump’s name must be added to this list. The House of Representatives, which has a Democratic majority,…