In the history of the United States, three presidents have fully gone through impeachment proceedings, as of 2019. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both successfully impeached; Richard Nixon also went through impeachment proceedings but resigned before he was removed from office. No president has been removed from office because of impeachment.
Why Was President Bill Clinton Impeached?
President Clinton was impeached based on charges referred to as “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This was in part from his affair with Monica Lewinsky and the scandal that followed, in addition to a lawsuit against Clinton by Paula Jones, who claimed she had been sexually harassed by Clinton. Counsel
Ken Starr wrote a report on behalf of the House Judiciary Committee. That report, known as the Starr Report, was the basis for Clinton’s impeachment trial.
Why Did Clinton Remain in Office?
President Bill Clinton was formally impeached on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives. After his impeachment, arguments were then heard on the United States Senate floor. The process was overseen by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The Senate
voted to acquit Clinton of the charges. It did not have the two-thirds vote needed to remove him from office.
How Does Impeachment Work?
To impeach a sitting president, impeachment proceedings take place in the House of Representatives. This body decides either to impeach or not to impeach. Afterward, if the House votes for impeachment, the process then moves to the Senate. In the Senate, impeachment works like a criminal trial. The Senate acts as jurors. The Chief Justice presides like a judge. The only way to remove a sitting president from office is to have the Senate vote with a two-thirds majority for removal.
What Are Impeachable Crimes?
The House of Representatives can begin impeachment proceedings if a sitting president is charged with bribery, treason, or high crimes and misdemeanors. In the case of President Clinton, he was charged with high crimes and misdemeanors because of his affair and accusations of sexual misconduct.
What Happens If a President Is Impeached by the Senate?
If both the House and the Senate impeach a sitting president, punishment must be decided. There are two types of punishment: one that removes the president immediately from office, and another that prevents him or her from ever holding another government position. The Senate must vote on these two punishments separately. Since no president has ever been removed from office, these punishments have never come to a vote.
What Else Can the Senate Do During Impeachment?
Because the Senate has the power to try impeachments, it can also
change the rules before the trial. If the Senate wanted to, it could throw out the two-thirds majority rule in favor of a simple majority to find a president guilty of impeachment. It could also dismiss the case before trial if it wanted to. However, while the Senate has the power to do this, this has never happened.