Published: 15th January 2021
What the FAQ: Trump becomes first-ever US president to be impeached twice, who were the others and what does impeachment mean?
We explain what impeachment means, why Trump is being impeached twice and a lot more
US President Donald Trump is being impeached for the second time — which is a first in the history of the United States. However, he isn't the first one to face impeachment proceedings. Not by a long shot. Here we look at the other US presidents who were impeached and answer the most important FAQs related to impeachment.
What is impeachment?
Ans: The universally accepted definition of impeachment would be: "Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body addresses legal charges against a government official. National legislations differ regarding the definition and consequences of impeachment." According to the US Constitution, impeachment is a tool used to punish grave misconduct from the country's president. The misconduct can be classified into treason, bribery, and can even fall into wider and vaguer categories explained as "other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." The House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach a president in power just with a simple majority. The constitution states, "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
What happens after impeachment? Do you lose your job as POTUS?
However, the act of impeachment alone cannot remove the president from office. The Senate has to hold a fair trial, following which a vote is conducted on its verdict. It takes two-thirds of the Senate, a supermajority, in order to convict the president. If convicted after this, the president can be removed from office.
Who are the other US presidents who have been impeached before Trump?
Ans: Donald Trump is the third US president to be impeached and he is the first one to be impeached twice — Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Trump in 2019. All of them were acquitted thereafter. After the Watergate Scandal, Richard Nixon in 1974 resigned to avoid near-certain impeachment and conviction.
What was each of them impeached for?
Andrew Johnson: He was the 17th President of the United States and a Democrat. Johnson was the first president to be impeached in the country’s history.
Bill Clinton: 42nd 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.
Donald Trump: Trump was first impeached by the House of Representatives in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his dealings with Ukraine, but was later acquitted. He was impeached the second time following the unprecedented riots at the Capitol building last week.
Does the House have the sole power to impeach?
Ans: Yes. The US Constitution grants the House the “sole Power of Impeachment.” The House has, in the past decade, taken decisions after lengthy investigations into a president's impeachment and come to a final decision. Trump's first impeachment had come after a three-month congressional inquiry, while Clinton's happened after an independent counsel investigation on various things.
Why is Trump the first-ever US president to be impeached twice?
Ans: Trump's second impeachment came after the tragic riots at Capitol Hill last week. With just days for his presidency to end and leave office, he now awaits trial for his impeachment. For his removal, even 10 Republicans broke ranks and joined the opposition — Democrats.