A look at all the US Presidents who have been impeached so far

The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to make Donald Trump the first US President ever to be impeached twice, formally charging him for inciting an insurrection just a week after an armed an angry mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol. 

The House voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump, merely days away from President-elect Joe Biden’s formal inauguration. Ten Republicans, including the House’s third senior-most conservative leader Liz Cheney, joined the Democrats in voting for Trump’s impeachment. 

While Trump is the first US President to be impeached twice, he is most certainly not the first to face impeachment proceedings in the country’s history.

Here is a list of US Presidents who have been impeached so far

Andrew Johnson

Former President Andrew Johnson (Photo courtesy: Library of Congress)

The 17th President of the United States, Democrat Andrew Johnson, was the first to be impeached in the country’s history. In March 1868, the Republican-majority house voted in favour of impeaching Johnson for “high crimes and misdemeanours”. 

He was accused of violating the Tenure of Office Act, which made it virtually impossible for the president to dismiss government officials without the Senate’s permission. But Johnson defied the act by suspending the then-Secretary of War Edwin M Stanton — a move that infuriated the Republicans. 

He was impeached by the House on March 2, 1868 and his trial in the Senate began just three days later. However, after the motion failed to meet the two-thirds majority by just one vote, Johnson was acquitted. 

Bill Clinton 

Former US President Bill Clinton (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Former US President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House on October 9, 1998 for “high crimes and misdemeanours” on charges of lying under oath and obstruction of justice. 

The allegations were in connection with a lawsuit filed by civil servant Paula Jones in 1994, in which she alleged that he had sexually harassed her, as well as from his testimony, in which he infamously denied that he had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. 

When the trial reached the senate the following year, it fell short of the two-thirds majority of votes, and he was ultimately acquitted. He remained president until the end of his second term. 

Donald Trump

Trump was first impeached by the House in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his dealings with Ukraine, but was acquitted by the then-Republican-led Senate the following year. 

Democrats first launched an inquiry in September 2019 to look into whether President Trump abused his office for political gain when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice-President Joe Biden. Trump denied all wrongdoing and claimed that he was the victim of a Democrat-led witch hunt. 

On Wednesday, he was impeached by the House for a second time, a week after the siege on Capitol Hill. He was charged with “incitement of insurrection”, just days before President-elect Biden’s inauguration. 

Soon after the proceedings, Trump released a video condemning last week’s violence, but pointedly failed to acknowledge his latest impeachment. 

“Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,” he said. “The incursion of the US Capitol struck at the very heart of our Republic. It angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum. I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week.” 

Richard Nixon 

President Richard Nixon (in pic) was pardoned in 1974 by his successor Gerald Ford, who argued that the country should not have to witness a former President being prosecuted in federal court. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

In the face of near-certain impeachment proceedings following the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon became the first President in US history to resign from office on August 8, 1984.

After Nixon resigned, Gerald Ford — who was then serving as his Vice-President — ascended to the presidency and granted him a controversial pardon for his role in the scandal, in which a group of men tied to his re-election campaign broke into the Democratic headquarters in Washington DC’s Watergate complex.

 

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