Within the first two centuries of the US authorities, the Home of Representatives performed solely two presidential impeachment proceedings.
By the point the solar set on Wednesday, it had performed three in simply 25 years — with two of them prior to now yr and a half, in opposition to the primary president ever to be impeached twice.
Welcome to historical past.
With a majority of the Home voting on Wednesday afternoon to question President Trump on a cost of inciting an insurrection, simply 13 months after the chamber impeached him on costs of abuse of energy and obstruction of Congress, right here is an summary of what occurred the earlier occasions.
Donald Trump, 2019
In September 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the Home would open an impeachment inquiry in opposition to Mr. Trump.
She took that step — one she had beforehand resisted — in response to a phone call through which Mr. Trump had pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to research former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., then a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Mr. Biden’s son Hunter. The decision got here shortly after Mr. Trump had frozen nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine.
The ensuing costs said that Mr. Trump had abused his energy through the use of authorities help as leverage to steer Ukraine to assist him electorally, and that he had obstructed Congress by refusing to offer paperwork and telling administration officers to not testify. The Home impeached him on Dec. 18, 2019, voting 230 to 197 to approve the abuse of energy cost and 229 to 198 to approve the obstruction cost.
After weeks of hearings, lawmakers break up nearly solely alongside occasion traces: No Home Republican voted for impeachment on both cost, all however two Democrats voted for the abuse of energy cost, and all however three Democrats voted for the obstruction cost.
On Feb. 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted Mr. Trump on each costs: 52 to 48 on abuse of energy and 53 to 47 on obstruction of Congress. Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, joined Democrats in voting to take away him from workplace on the abuse of energy cost, turning into the primary senator ever to vote to convict a president of his personal occasion.
Invoice Clinton, 1998
The impeachment course of in opposition to President Invoice Clinton, a Democrat, started in October 1998 in response to the revelation that he’d had a sexual relationship with a White Home intern.
The fees pertained not on to his misconduct with the intern, Monica Lewinsky — who was 22, practically three a long time youthful than Mr. Clinton, when it started — however to the allegation that Mr. Clinton had lied about it beneath oath and inspired others to do the identical.
“I didn’t have sexual relations with that girl,” Mr. Clinton stated in January 1998, earlier than admitting months later that he had. “I by no means advised anyone to lie, not a single time. By no means.”
On Dec. 19, 1998 — 21 years, nearly to the day, earlier than a Democratic-controlled Home would vote to question Mr. Trump — the Republican-controlled Home impeached Mr. Clinton on costs of perjury and obstruction of justice. The votes have been 228 to 206 on the perjury cost (with 5 Democrats voting for impeachment and 5 Republicans voting in opposition to it) and 221 to 212 on the obstruction cost (with 5 Democrats voting for and 12 Republicans voting in opposition to).
The Home voted in opposition to impeachment on a second perjury cost and on an abuse of energy cost.
On Feb. 12, 1999, the Senate acquitted Mr. Clinton 55 to 45 on the perjury cost, with 10 Republicans becoming a member of all Democrats, and 50-50 on the obstruction cost, with 5 Republicans becoming a member of Democrats. A two-thirds majority would have been required to convict Mr. Clinton and take away him from workplace.
Richard Nixon, 1973
Congress by no means voted to question President Richard M. Nixon, a Republican, however solely as a result of he resigned earlier than it might.
The present impeachment proceedings are testing the bounds of the method, elevating questions by no means contemplated earlier than. Right here’s what we all know.
- How does the impeachment course of work? Members of the Home consider whether to impeach the president — the equal of an indictment in a legal case — and members of the Senate take into account whether or not to take away him, holding a trial through which senators act because the jury. The take a look at, as set by the Structure, is whether or not the president has dedicated “treason, bribery, or different excessive crimes and misdemeanors.” The House vote required solely a easy majority of lawmakers to agree that the president has, in actual fact, dedicated excessive crimes and misdemeanors; the Senate vote requires a two-thirds majority.
- Does impeaching Trump disqualify him from holding workplace once more? Conviction in an impeachment trial doesn’t robotically disqualify Mr. Trump from future public workplace. But when the Senate have been to convict him, the Structure permits a subsequent vote to bar an official from holding “any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.” That vote would require solely a easy majority of senators. There is no such thing as a precedent, nonetheless, for disqualifying a president from future workplace, and the difficulty might find yourself earlier than the Supreme Court docket.
- Can the Senate maintain a trial after Biden turns into president? The Senate might maintain a trial for Mr. Trump even after he has left workplace, although there isn’t any precedent for it. Democrats who management the Home can select when to ship their article of impeachment to the Senate, at which level that chamber must instantly transfer to start the trial. However even when the Home instantly transmitted the cost to the opposite aspect of the Capitol, an settlement between Republican and Democratic leaders within the Senate can be wanted to take it up earlier than Jan. 19, a day earlier than Mr. Biden is inaugurated. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said on Wednesday that he would not agree to such an agreement. On condition that timetable, the trial in all probability won’t begin till after Mr. Biden is president.
The impeachment proceedings stemmed broadly from the Watergate scandal, which began in 1972 when Nixon associates broke into the Democratic Nationwide Committee headquarters. That break-in was a part of an enormous, coordinated effort to affect the approaching election, which Nixon ended up profitable in one of many largest landslides in American historical past.
The instant catalyst for the Home Judiciary Committee’s determination to start the impeachment course of, on Oct. 30, 1973, was the so-called Saturday Night time Bloodbath 10 days earlier. That was the evening Nixon, enraged by the Watergate investigation, ordered the firing of the particular prosecutor, Archibald Cox. Two officers whom he ordered to fireplace Cox refused to take action and resigned; the third, Solicitor Normal Robert Bork, obeyed.
The committee finally authorised three articles of impeachment — obstruction of justice, abuse of energy and contempt of Congress — and referred them to the Home ground in July 1974. The articles have been authorised in three separate votes, with the abuse of energy cost garnering essentially the most assist: 28 to 10, with seven Republicans on the committee becoming a member of all 21 Democrats.
However earlier than the complete Home might full its hearings and vote on impeachment, Nixon announced his resignation on Aug. 8, 1974 — someday after Republican leaders in Congress advised him that his assist in his personal occasion had crumbled, and that he would nearly definitely be each impeached and convicted.
Andrew Johnson, 1868
Greater than any president impeached after him, Andrew Johnson was impeached not likely for a selected violation of regulation, however due to a broad energy wrestle between the White Home and Congress.
Johnson — a Democrat and white supremacist who was Abraham Lincoln’s vp and have become president when Lincoln was assassinated — had spent a lot of his time period clashing with the Republican-controlled Congress over Reconstruction. Amongst different issues, he vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau invoice and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which aimed to offer U.S. citizenship to former slaves; Congress subsequently overrode his veto of the Civil Rights Act.
In March 1868, the Home authorised 11 articles of impeachment in opposition to Johnson. The principle cost was that he had violated the Tenure of Workplace Act of 1867, which Congress had enacted in an express effort to stop him from firing pro-Reconstruction officers whom Lincoln had appointed. The act said that the president wanted Senate approval to fireplace Senate-confirmed government officers, and Johnson defied it by firing Secretary of Conflict Edwin M. Stanton.
In Might 1868, Johnson got here inside a single vote of being faraway from workplace. The Senate — then composed of 54 members, as a result of there have been solely 27 states on the time — voted 35 to 19 in favor of conviction, however wanted 36 votes for the required two-thirds majority.
He served out the rest of his time period, just a little beneath a yr.