Presidential impeachment 101: What to know
Presidential impeachment 101: What to know 01:27

They’re using the threat of impeachment to get out the vote and almost daring Democrats: Go ahead, impeach this guy.

“I don’t even bring it up,” said Trump at a rally in Montana, as he launched into a riff on the subject. “Because I view it as something that, you know, they like to use the impeach word. Impeach Trump. Maxine Waters, ‘We will impeach him.’ But he didn’t do anything wrong. ‘It doesn’t matter, we will impeach him. We will impeach.’ But I say, how do you impeach somebody that’s doing a great job that hasn’t done anything wrong?”

Trump talks impeachment at rally
Trump talks impeachment at rally

The President warned that impeaching him would lead to a sort of impeachment-off against successive administrations. He also issued a warning to his supporters: If you don’t vote, he suggested, I’ll get impeached.

“But we’ll worry about that if it ever happens. But if it does happen, it’s your fault, because you didn’t go out to vote. OK? You didn’t go out to vote. You didn’t go out to vote. That’s the only way it could happen. I’ll be the only president in history — they’ll say what a job he’s done. By the way, we’re impeaching him.”

And McConnell’s impeachment reference came during an interview with the conservative host Hugh Hewitt, who asked about whether a President could be indicted.

“I’m a lawyer, but not a good one. … The Justice Department, I gather, has taken the position under a president of both parties that the appropriate remedy for presidential misbehavior is impeachment,” McConnell told Hewitt in a taped MSNBC interview. “I’m not an expert on this, but I hear that’s the case.”

Democrats, meanwhile, have shied away from the idea. Nancy Pelosi, who really wants to be speaker of the House again, and if Democrats took control of the House, would basically have the ability to quash an impeachment effort, said last month it would only help Republicans and Trump.

“I don’t think we should be talking about impeachment. I’ve been very clear right from the start,” Pelosi said recently on Capitol Hill. “On the political side I think it’s a gift to the Republicans.”

The country, by the way, has inched toward favoring impeachment for Trump, but they’re still a ways off from agreement.

Forty-nine percent of Americans supported beginning impeachment proceedings in an ABC News / Washington Post poll at the end of August. Democrats (75%) were strongly in favor and Republicans (82%) were strongly opposed. Independents were more evenly split.

There's nearly a Nixon '74 level of public support for impeaching Trump
There’s nearly a Nixon ’74 level of public support for impeaching Trump

In a CNN poll from June, 42% of Americans said Trump should be impeached. But that’s about the percentage who supported impeaching Nixon in 1974 when he resigned as the House moved against him. A larger percentage support impeaching Trump now than supported impeaching Trump then. But Nixon faced a hostile Congress controlled by Democrats. Impeaching Trump would, he’s right, basically require a Democratic majority and unanimity within the party. But removing him from office would take a Senate supermajority. Even if Democrats took control of the Senate in November, which is a long shot, they’d be nowhere near that 67 votes needed to remove him from office.

All of this is to say that while Trump wants to raise the specter of impeachment to fire up his base supporters before election day, we still feel a very long way away from a serious impeachment effort and it would almost certainly depend on what kind of report, if any, is released by special counsel Robert Mueller with regard to Russian campaign interference and possible collusion by Trump’s campaign or something else that could fall into the “high crimes and misdemeanors” category.

Considering how short the document is, the Constitution takes up quite a bit of space on the matter, spelling things out for the House, the Senate and the Executive in Articles I and II.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole…