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The History of US Impeachment

POSTED February 19, 2020

The Founding Fathers feared a corrupt leader that would undermine the Constitution or abuse his/her powers in office.  They laid out the process of impeachment in order to show that no leader is above the law. Under the constitution, impeachment is dealt out to those “committing treason, bribery, or a high crime or misdemeanor[s].”  There have only been three presidents impeached in US history. Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Donald Trump in 2019.

Andrew Johnson, the 17th president, was implemented into office after the Lincoln assassination.  Andrew Johnson was wildly unpopular with the post-Civil War, Republican run congress. Johnson would delay Lincoln era reforms and implement his own policies, most of which went against Abraham Lincoln’s policies to ensure freedom for slaves.  On February 24th 1868, Johnson was impeached for “11 High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Although impeached, Johnson remained in office to finish his term and did not run for re-election.

Bill Clinton was the 42nd president of the US and was inaugurated January 20, 1993.  Bill Clinton was a controversial figure in the white house due to his alleged promiscuity, starting an affair with Monica Lewinsky.  Clinton repeatedly denied the affair infamously saying “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky” Lewinsky was subpoenaed during the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, where she testified against Clinton.  Clinton was tried and impeached for 2 accounts of Perjury, Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power.  He was impeached by the house, but was not removed by the Senate.

Donald Trump was elected the 45th president.  His presidency was full of alleged abuses of power and controversial conduct.  His behaviour and conduct led to the infamous Mueller investigation, a 2-year long investigation into the Russian collusion controversy led by former FBI director, Robert Mueller.  After it was released tensions were raised, lies were thrown around and more investigations were started, and after months of investigations Nancy Pelosi released the two articles of impeachment to the house. On December 18th 2019, Trump was impeached for Obstruction of Congress and Abuse of Power.  Although the articles of impeachment were withheld from congress they soon were voted on, and Trump was acquitted for both articles. He is currently running for re-election.

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