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These are the past articles of impeachment faced by US Presidents

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December 10, 2019 | 4: 59pm

For the fourth time in American history, the House of Representatives has used its power under the Constitution to try and remove a sitting president and unveiled articles of impeachment.

The allegations of “high crimes and misdemeanors” brought Tuesday against President Donald Trump, bear some similarities to the impeachment charges of the past, as former presidents have also been accused of abuse of power and obstruction.

Here are the details of the historic impeachment charges brought against President Andrew Johnson, President Richard Nixon and President Bill Clinton.

Andrew Johnson (17th President, 1865-1869)

Andrew Johnson
Andrew JohnsonGetty Images

Following the tumult of the Civil War and battles over implementing Reconstruction, President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House of Representatives on March 2, 1868 on 11 articles, though only three were voted on in the Senate.

These articles of impeachment mainly focused on Johnson violating the Tenure of Office Act, which involved his firing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and replacing him with General Lorenzo Thomas, without the consent of the Senate.

Stanton had opposed Johnson’s lenient Reconstruction policies toward former Confederate states and generals. At the time, the Tenure of Office Act made it illegal for the President to replace a cabinet member without the consent of the Senate.

The three articles of impeachment the Senate voted on accused Johnson of:

  • Appointing Thomas Secretary of War despite “then and there being no vacancy in said office,” since the dismissal of Stanton was not valid in the first place.
  • Appointing Thomas Secretary of War ad interim “without the advice and consent of the Senate.”
  • Being “unmindful of the high duties of his office, and of his oath of office, and in disregard of the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

Johnson was acquitted in the Senate on May 16, 1868 and May 26, 1868 by three separate votes of 35-19, only one vote short of the 36 votes needed to convict and remove. Johnson completed his final year in office.

Richard Nixon (37th President, 1969-1974)

Richard Nixon
Richard NixonGetty Images

Nixon’s name is synonymous with the Watergate Scandal, which involved the arrest of burglars hired by the White House to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Office Building on June 17, 1972.

After a year-and-a-half of Congressional investigations and hearings the House approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon on July 27, 1974:

  • Obstruction of justice, where the House accused Nixon of using the powers of the presidency to “delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation” and to “cover-up, conceal, and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful convert activities.”
  • Abuse of power, where the House accused Nixon of knowingly misusing the executive branch — including the FBI and Justice Department — “in violation of his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
  • Contempt of Congress, where the House accused Nixon of failing “without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by” the House Judiciary Committee.

Nixon was not impeached though. He resigned from Congress on August 8, 1974 before the House could vote on impeachment.

Bill Clinton (42nd President, 1993-2001)

Bill Clinton
Bill ClintonAFP via Getty Images

The impeachment of Bill Clinton stemmed an independent council’s investigation into a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him, during which he was accused of lying under oath about a sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. This led the House to impeach Clinton on December 19, 1998:

  • Perjury, where the House claimed “William Jefferson Clinton willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury” concerning his relationships with Lewinsky and Jones.
  • Obstruction of Justice, where the House claimed Clinton obstructed justice and used his subordinates in “a scheme designed to delay, impede, cover up and conceal the existence of evidence related” to the Paula Jones Case.
  • Clinton was impeached by the House, but acquitted in the Senate on February 12, 1999 by a vote of 45-55 on perjury and 50-50 on obstruction of justice. He completed his term in office over the following two years.

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