What Exactly Are High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

In 1787, a few days before they finished writing the Constitution, the men working on it stumbled on an unresolved question: Under what circumstances should Congress be able to impeach the President? No doubt tired of parsing legalisms after months of work, they took only about five minutes to dispense with the constitutional crisis. They had already decided that treason and bribery were no-brainers--definitely grounds for impeachment--but George Mason of Virginia said he was concerned that those two crimes didn't capture "many great and dangerous offenses." So he suggested adding "maladministration" to the list of impeachable no-nos. When others complained that...

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