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The first President who was impeached was President Andrew Johnson. Andrew Johnson was Vice-President when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865. ( Editor’s Note: Readers should not confuse Andrew Johnson with Andrew Jackson who was our seventh president and served as President from 1829 to 1837.)
The impeachment of Andrew Johnson was initiated on February 24, 1868, when the House brought eleven articles of impeachment against him. After the House formally adopted the articles of impeachment, the trial began in the U.S. Senate as required by the U.S. Constitution. In the Senate, 35 senators voted for impeachment and 19 senators voted against impeachment. The impeachment failed because 2/3 present did not vote for impeachment. Historians view this impeachment as a vast power struggle between the legislative and executive branches of government rather than a trial of criminal behavior of a U.S. President.
Many people believe that Richard Nixon was the second President to be impeached. While the impeachment process began in the House on October 30, 1973, President Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, BEFORE the House took the vote on impeachment. The process was bipartisan and Gerald Ford became President when Mr. Nixon resigned. It was clear that if Nixon had not resigned, he would have been impeached and convicted and removed by the U.S. Senate. A Select Committee took testimony and most of the hearings were broadcast on TV.
The impeachment of President Bill Clinton was initiated on October 8, 1998, when the U.S. House voted to commence the impeachment of the 42nd. President of the U.S. Clinton was impeached on December 19,1998, for: 1) Lying under oath and 2) Obstruction of Justice.
Clinton’s impeachment trial began in the U.S. Senate and was presided over by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Clinton was acquitted on all charges because there was not the 2/3 vote required for conviction. Indeed, Courts of legal Jurisdiction did determine that Clinton did lie under oath and his license to practice law was revoked, but Clinton resumed his presidency and finished his second term. The impeachment investigation was broadcast on TV.
An impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began on September 24, 2019. An alleged whistleblower stated that President Trump had abused the power of the Presidency in a call made to the President of the Ukraine. The entire House never voted on a resolution of impeachment and the Democrat Party is in the majority in the House. Secret meetings were held where republican members were excluded. The republicans were clearly not allowed to call witnesses during the investigative hearing.
While Nixon and Clinton both had committed criminal acts, the allegations against President Donald Trump are vague and diaphanous. Also, some Democrat members began to call for the impeachment of Donald Trump even before Mr. Trump was sworn in as President. Many political experts believe that President Trump would be greatly helped in the 2020 election if he is impeached by the U.S. House. If impeached, Mr. Trump would then be entitled to a trial in the U.S. Senate where the republicans are in the majority. This would insure that republicans could subpoena individuals that would give testimony that would help the President.
Also, the long overdue report by the Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, is due to be released on December 9, 2019. The report is alleged to be about 500 pages in length. Does it not seem likely, that sections of this report will outline the criminal actions taken against President Trump both before, during, and after the 2016 Presidential campaign ? Does it not seem likely that damaging sections of the Horowitz report would be examined minutely during any Senate trial of impeachment against Mr. Trump ?
Conservatives and Donald Trump supporters believe that the Democrat party in the House has acted in a vile, reprehensible, and illegal manner. These same supporters believe that the vile manner of the Democrat party was emboldened by the hearings of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice. Many conservatives and Trump supporters refer to the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee as cowardly, sniveling, whining, and pusillanimous individuals because they allegedly lacked the common sense, decency, and the backbone to tell Christine Blasey Ford that her story was a lie and difficult to believe because of lack of factual information.
Only Senator Lindsey Graham displayed a scintilla of courage when he stated that he found Ms. Ford’s story difficult to believe. Trump supporters and conservatives hope that Senator Lindsey Graham and the republican members of the Judiciary Committee will display the same courage recently displayed by members of the U.S. House at the impeachment inquiry. The analysis and Senate investigation of the Horowitz report will be under the direction of Senator Lindsey Graham and many of the same members who were on the Judiciary Committee during the Kavanaugh hearings.
R. Van Conoley