The House has voted to impeach Donald Trump. House Democrats are flirting with not sending the articles of impeachment over to the Senate, which they say isn’t preparing to hold a fair trial. Given this, some have set about arguing that this means Trump hasn’t been impeached. Trump’s lawyers are apparently looking at making this argument. They got a much-needed rhetorical boost Thursday when Harvard University professor Noah Feldman, one of the Democratic witnesses in the House impeachment proceedings, endorsed the idea.
The House didn’t technically vote on the resolution by itself, but the rules of impeachment as passed by the House declared that “the adoption of the resolution , as amended, shall be divided between the two articles.” Thus, by approving the two articles, they effectively adopted House Resolution 755. And that resolution says that Trump “is impeached,” not that he will be impeached after the second part of the resolution — the transmission to the Senate — is acted upon.
Trump really wants plausible deniability. If he can convince himself and his supporters that he hasn’t been impeached, they at least have something to base that on. The problem is it’s not the actual rules or anything directly stated in the Constitution.