The History of Impeachments - Impeachment of a U.S. President

The law of presidential powers and duties is ill-defined. Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote in 1952 that there is “a poverty of really useful and unambiguous authority applicable to concrete problems of executive power as they actually present themselves.”[6] Two U.S. Presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives—Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998—both later acquitted at trials held by the Senate. While articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon were passed by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974,[7] Nixon resigned the Presidency before the impeachment resolutions could be considered by the full House.[8]

When an impeachment process involves a U.S. President, the Chief Justice of the United States is required to preside during the Senate trial.[9] In all other trials, the Vice President would preside in his capacity as President of the Senate. Although it has been suggested that a literal reading of the Constitution would designate the Vice President to preside over his or her own impeachment trial,[10] the logic of this scenario has been used as an argument against such textualism.[11]

Impeachment of Bill Clinton

The impeachment of Bill Clinton was initiated by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998, against Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice. These charges stemmed from Clinton’s extramarital affair with former White House Intern Monica Lewinsky and his testimony about the affair during a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones. Clinton was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999.[1] Two other impeachment articles – a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power – failed in the House.

The trial in the United States Senate began right after the seating of the 106th Congress, in which the Republican Party began with 55 senators. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. Fifty senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge; no member of his own Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge. Clinton, like Johnson a century earlier, was acquitted on all charges.The Independent Counsel, Ken Starr, turned over documentation to the House Judiciary Committee. The Chief Prosecutor, David Schippers, and his team reviewed the material and determined there was sufficient evidence to impeach the president. As a result, four charges were considered by the full House of Representatives; two passed, making Clinton the second president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868, and only the third against whom articles of impeachment had been brought before the full House for consideration (Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974, while an impeachment process against him was underway).

The trial in the United States Senate began right after the seating of the 106th Congress, in which the Republican Party began with 55 senators. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. Fifty senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge; no member of his own Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge. Clinton, like Johnson a century earlier, was acquitted on all charges.

CREDIT: Wikipedia (Impeachment in the U.S.) & Wikipedia (Impeachment of Bill Clinton)

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