THERE is a number of US Presidents who have faced removal from office by Congress.
The most recent impeachment was the one of Donald Trump following the December 2019 defeat.
What does impeachment mean and how does the process work?
In the US, impeachment is a formal charge of serious wrongdoing against the holder of public office.
It is one of the few ways a sitting president can be kicked out of the White House before an election.
The US Constitution states a President “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The “sole power of impeachment” is held by the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress.
A simple majority is required – i.e. more than half of Congress must vote to impeach the president.
Then the case would be tried by the US Senate, where a two-thirds majority is needed.
Has Donald Trump been impeached again?
Donald Trump became the first US President to be impeached for a second time when the House of Representatives voted against him on January, 13, 2021.
This was following the riots at the US Capitol earlier in the month.
Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden‘s win in November’s election.
The president has repeatedly made unfounded claims of voter fraud and brought numerous legal cases to try to contest the result of the election.
Senior figures from both parties have called for the president to be removed from office over his role in inciting the unrest – a move that would stop him running for a second term in 2024.
Trump was the third US President to be impeached by the House on December 18, 2019 when he faced charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – but was acquitted three months later.
Which other Presidents have been impeached?
Two other presidents in US history have been impeached, despite numerous threats on others.
The most recent was Bill Clinton, who was impeached in the House on charges of perjury and obstructing justice on December 19, 1998.
He was the second President to be impeached.
It related to his denials of an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
He infamously denied having “had sexual relations” with her to the public and federal investigators in January 1999.
However, when the trial reached the Senate in 1999, it failed to get close to the two-thirds backing it needed to remove him from office.
Many senators at the time agreed Clinton had behaved badly but ultimately decided his misconduct didn’t amount to “high crimes in misdemeanors.
Clinton finished his second term before he was succeeded by Republican George W Bush.
The first President to be impeached was Andrew Johnson, who served for four years from 1865.
He was impeached by the House in 1868, just 11 days after he got rid of his secretary of war Edwin Stanton.
The two-thirds majority needed in the Senate was missed by just one vote.
Was Richard Nixon impeached?
Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached over the Watergate Scandal.
The Watergate scandal refers to a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington DC and the subsequent chain of events.
Early in the morning of June 17, 1972, several burglars were arrested in the office of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate complex of buildings in Washington, DC.
The group were caught wiretapping phones and stealing documents, and it was later revealed that they were all connected to President Nixon’s re-election campaign.
In August 1972, Nixon gave a speech in which he swore that White House staffers were not involved in the break-in, winning the public’s confidence and securing him another term in office.
Nixon released damning tapes that undeniably confirmed his complicity in the Watergate Scandal on August 5, 1974.
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To avoid imminent impeachment by Congress, he chose to resign in disgrace on August 8, and left the White House the following day.
Six weeks later, Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as President and chose to pardon Nixon for any crimes he had committed while in office.
Nixon himself never admitted any wrongdoing and died in 1994.
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