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Can Trump be impeached for his wiretap claims?

False accusations from the executive office could be an impeachable offense, writes one law professor.
Reuters

While some Democrats now look to President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia as the coup de grace for impeaching the real estate magnate, others think the president’s Twitter feed might hold the answer.

Last month — and without evidence —the president accused his predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower in the months leading up to the election. Calling former President Barack Obama a “bad (or sick) guy," Trump fired off rounds of accusations on Twitter, sparking the latest media frenzy.

Other tweets Trump posted the same day while at his Mar-a-Lago estate compared Obama's alleged wiretapping to McCarthyism and former President Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal.
Intelligence officials and members of Obama's inner circle were quick to deny the claims, calling them "simply false." But Trump persisted to hammer the former administration.
By Monday, the FBI spoke on the matter; it, too, had no evidence.
"With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets," Comey told a congressional panel.
Despite Comey’s comments, Trump isn’t backtracking from his wiretapping claims. If a private citizen made such a false claim, Obama could file a libel claim against that person. But Trump is now president, and making unsubstantiated allegations is, according toHarvard Law professor Noah Feldman, “a form of serious misconduct by the government official who makes it.”

To Feldman — and he said, the Constitution — the only way to handle presidential misconduct is an impeachment proceeding.

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Writing for Bloomberg earlier this month, Feldman said Trump’s claims, if proved false, could be a “major scandal” that “could get [him] impeached.”

Ordering domestic wiretaps, an overreach of power for the executive office, would be a "serious abuse" punishable by impeachment, Feldman says. So are accusations against political opponents without evidence, which, the professor says, "deform the democratic process."

This isn't the first talk of Trump's impeachment. Metro has explored other reasons for possible removal from office, including:

His campaign's ties to Russia
His mental state
Alleged violations of the emoluments clause

 
 
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