The sitting president has accused his predecessor of an act that could have gotten the past president impeached. That’s not your ordinary exercise of free speech....But impeachment is not available as a solution to excessive innuendo.
In a rule of law society, government allegations of criminal activity must be followed by proof and prosecution. If not, the government is ruling by innuendo....
Breaking the law by tapping Trump’s phones would have been an abuse of executive power that implicated the democratic process itself. Impeachment is the remedy for such a serious abuse of the executive office....Why would that make impeachment the right remedy for saying that Obama did it?
The Constitution speaks of impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”... Suffice it to say that what makes crimes “high” is that they pertain to the exercise of government office. That’s exactly what accusations by the executive are: actions that take on their distinctive meaning because they are made by government officials....So the power available to be used against the President must equal the President's power? We need symmetry, an equal-playing-field fight? If that's the theory, we won't have a presidency anymore. The fact that seems to escape Feldman is that Trump was elected President. THAT was the procedure. The trust was put in him.
Obama is the best-known and most popular Democrat in the country. The effect of attacking him isn’t just to weaken him personally, but to weaken the political opposition to Trump’s administration.
Given how great the executive’s power is, accusations by the president can’t be treated asymmetrically. If the alleged action would be impeachable if true, so must be the allegation if false. Anything else would give the president the power to distort democracy by calling his opponents criminals without ever having to prove it.
I know some people are having a terrible time accepting that. Trump wasn't supposed to win. But he did, and the people who voted for him are entitled to their victory, and those who did not still need a President, and those about to devote themselves to the next campaign need elections to maintain their meaning.
Trump may be outright lying about Obama, but Obama told lies too, and all Presidents tell some lies, sometimes for good reason. We made a human being President. We always do. This person will say many things, and we'll be saying many things against him too. Like Professor Feldman, we can say that the President ought to be impeached. But to say the President should be impeached for lying about a political opponent is too much drama.