The Constitution says presidents can be impeached for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Trump lawyer Bruce Castor, Jr. suggested Tuesday that “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” must be “criminal” offenses, urging the Senate to “understand” that “a high Crime is a felony and a Misdemeanor is a misdemeanor; the words haven't changed that much over the time.”
Facts First: Castor is inaccurate. There is widespread agreement among constitutional scholars that the Framers of the Constitution did not believe “high Crimes and Misdemeanors" had to be violations of criminal law.
While there is no definition of the phrase in the Constitution, which leaves it up to Congress to determine what qualifies, there is a long history of the phrase being interpreted by Congress to include abuses of the public trust that did not necessarily violate a criminal statute.