Trump Becomes 1st US President To Be Impeached Twice

Trump Becomes 1st US President To Be Impeached Twice

With Donald Trump achieving the milestone of becoming the first President to be impeached twice, let us look at what impeachment is, what led to the one of Trump, as well as its former cases.

Crux of the Matter

“Milestone” Achieved
On 13 January 2021, Donald Trump became the 1st US president to be impeached twice and only the 3rd US President to be impeached.

The House of Representatives formally charged him with “incitement of insurrection” after his supporters sieged the Capitol and committed violence.

What Is Impeachment?

  • Impeachment is the formal charging of President with certain crimes.
  • Impeachment is a part of the process of officially removing the President for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.
  • Impeachment is done by the House (lower house).

Impeachment is succeeded by the Senate (upper House) trial, where 2/3rd majority is required to convict and remove the President. However, no President in history has been removed by the Senate.

Impeachment After Trump Leaves?
As per experts, late impeachment (after Trump leaves the office) is also possible.

  • Notably, impeachment may also be used to “disqualify” from office in future.
  • Meaning: Trump’s impeachment may prohibit him from contesting in the 2024 Presidential election as well as deny ex-President benefits.

Previous Instances Of Impeachment

Donald Trump (2019)

  • Impeached on charges of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress”.
  • Trump reportedly pressurized the Ukrainian President to “investigate” Joe Biden and his son Hunter to aid him in 2020 elections.

Bill Clinton (1998)

  • Impeached on charges of “lying under oath to a federal grand jury” and “obstruction of justice”.
  • Clinton lied about having “sexual relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
  • Impeachment not for the extramarital affair, but for perjury (lying about the issue under oath) and using power to hide the matter.

Andrew Johnson (1868)

  • Impeached on charges of “violating the Tenure of Office Act”.
  • Done so by removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from office.

Curiopedia
  • Dilma Vana Rousseff is a Brazilian economist and politician who served as the 36th president of Brazil. She was the first woman to hold the Brazilian presidency. On 31 August 2016, the Senate voted 61–20 to impeach, finding Rousseff guilty of breaking budgetary laws and removed her from office.
  • The charge of high crimes and misdemeanours covers allegations of misconduct by officials. The impeachment of the King’s Chancellor, Michael de la Pole, 1st Earl of Suffolk in 1386 was the first case to use this charge.
  • Other than impeachment, no other penalty can be given to a president in position for the violation of the Constitution under Article 361 of the Indian constitution. No Indian President has faced impeachment proceedings. Hence, the provisions for impeachment have never been tested.

End to Impeachment Saga of Donald Trump

After US President Donald Trump was impeached in December 2019 on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress; he was found not guilty in his impeachment trial with the final vote of 48-52.

Crux of the Matter
  • 48 senators voted to convict Trump whereas 52 voted to acquit him. For a successful impeachment two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes were required.
  • It has happened for the first time in the US history that a Republican has voted to impeach the President from his own party. Sen. Mitt Romney voted to impeach the President in Trump’s trial.
  • Apart from Mitt Romney; two other moderate Republicans, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were not supporting Trump but they did not vote against their party.
  • Republicans sided with Trump by saying ‘it was not a serious enough offense to remove him from office’.
  • Democrats expressed concern over Trump’s acquittal being a threat to US democracy. They also raised concerns over Russia interfering in another US election.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Mr. Trump remains an ongoing threat to American democracy and that Senate Republicans had normalized lawlessness.”

Timeline of Donald Trump’s Impeachment

On September 14, 2019, an anonymous whistleblower complaint was lodged accusing Donald Trump of using the power of his office to seek interference from Ukraine in the 2020 U.S. election over a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019.

The complaint included call details of Trump withholding nearly $400 million military-aid package to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

On 24 September, a formal impeachment inquiry was announced by Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Trump also released a copy of the rough transcript of the 25 July call. By the end of September, Mike Pompeo was suspected to have taken part in the 25th July phone call.

In early October; US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was testified.  Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert on the US National Security Council highlighted some crucial omissions in the transcript of the call released by the White House.

On 31 October, The House voted 232-196 on the impeachment inquiry, which formalized the process for the public hearings.

In November, acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, Deputy Assistant secretary of state George Kent faced an inquiry and were testified. Also, Marie Yovanovitch (Former US ambassador to Ukraine), Fiona Hill and David Holmes also testified.

On December 5, Speaker Pelosi announced the drafting articles of impeachment which were unveiled on 10th December and approved by the panel with a 23-17 vote.

On December 18, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the two articles of impeachment related to his efforts to pressurize Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election while he withheld $400 million military aid.

On January 16,  Trump’s trial in the senate began after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn into his presiding role. He also swore in the Senate’s 100 representatives who acted act as jury in the trial.

On January 21, the Republicans voted to reject 11 amendments proposed by Democrats. The prosecution made its opening arguments from January 22 to 24, and the defense from January 25 to 28. This was followed by a period of questions, answers, and debate. 

On 5 February 2020 – The trial ended as the Senate voted to acquit Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Curiopedia

Impeachment Procedure in US
Article One of the United States Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of officers of the U.S. federal government. In the US, impeachment is only the first of two stages, and conviction during the second stage requires ‘the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present’. Impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office; it is only a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment in criminal law. More Info

History of Impeachments of US Presidents
The House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings only 64 times since 1789. Out of which only 19 proceedings actually resulted in the House’s passing Articles of Impeachment, and of 19 only 8 resulted in removal from office who were all federal judges.

Three United States presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Donald Trump in 2019

All three were acquitted and not removed from office by the Senate. An impeachment process was also initiated against the 37th President Richard Nixon, but he resigned in 1974 to avoid likely impeachment.

Impeachment Trial: Trump Demands Immediate Trial in the Republican-led Senate

Donald Trump, who became the third President in US history to be impeached, does not want to delay his Senate trial. Speaker, Nancy Pelosi mulled over delaying the Senate trial until there was surety of impeachment in the Republican-led Senate.

Crux of the Matter
  • Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives over allegations of colluding with Ukraine and obstructing the congressional investigation into the Ukraine matter. No Republican voted in favour of impeachment.
  • Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are of the opinion to delay the Senate trial as they do not have the surety whether Republican-led Senate would hold a fair trial and allow key witnesses to speak.
  • According to Democrats, Trump and the Republicans have denied the testimony of four key witnesses from the White House Aides.
  • Trump has been blaring onto Twitter, demanding an immediate trial. He accused Democrats of unpreparedness and called the impeachment a “witch hunt“.
Curiopedia

Impeachment in the United States is the process by which a legislature brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. The Federal Level impeachment is a three-stage procedure:
1. Congressional Investigation
2. Vote in House of Representatives
3. Senate Trial
More Info

Trump Impeached… finally

President of USA, Donald Trump, has been impeached by the House of Representatives. The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives voted in favour of impeachment, except two Democrats, on two motions: 1. Trumps’ collusion with Ukraine to defame Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden, and 2. Trumps’ alleged obstruction in the investigation.

Crux of the Matter
  • House of Representatives, led by Democrats, voted in favour of impeachment on two articles.
  • One article was over Trumps’ alleged collusion with the Ukranian government – misusing the power incumbency – to investigate and defame Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. It is alleged that Trump traded $391 mn, to be used as an aid by Ukraine to combat Russian separatists, for the purpose mentioned.
  • The other article alleged Trump of hindering into Congressional investigation by coercing incumbents to not comply with subpoenas and documentation.
  • The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has said that the impeachment articles will be handed over to the Republican-led Senate only on the assurance that impeachment will move forward.
  • After Trump’s victory in 2016 presidential elections, there were serious allegations about him colluding with Russia to interfere with the election process. However, the matter never escalated to impeachment.
Curiopedia

Impeachment of Andrew Johnson – He was the first American President to be impeached. However, the Senate failed to impeach him, adjourning and the trial. He finished his tenure of Presidency. More Info

Impeachment of Bill Clinton – He is the second American President to face impeachment. He was charged on grounds of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’. However, the Senate could not charge him and he finished his second term as President. More Info