Donald Trump becomes the third US President to be impeached after Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1998). However, no President in the 243-year-long US history has been removed from office by impeachment.
The House of Representatives has voted to formally impeach US President Donald Trump on two grounds — abuse of power and obstructing Congress. He becomes the third President to be formally impeached. The two other Presidents who were impeached were Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. While Johnson was impeached in 1868, Clinton was impeached in 1998. However, no President in the 243-year-long US history has been removed from office by impeachment.
The House of Representatives charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction the Congress in its investigation. The first article accused Trump of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, as well as a theory that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to meddle in the 2016 election.
The second article accused Trump of obstruction of Congress by directing administration officials and agencies not to comply with House subpoenas for testimony and documents related to impeachment. The first article of impeachment was cleared by 230-197 votes. The second article of impeachment was cleared by 229-198 votes. All four Democratic Indian-American members of the House of Representatives voted for Trump’s impeachment.
According to the US Constitution, the impeachment process starts in the House of Representatives. If the House formally impeaches the President, it will go to the Senate for a final vote. This means the President will not lose the chair immediately. While a simple majority is needed in the House of Representatives to impeach the President, the Constitution mandates it for the Senate clear the trial with a two-thirds majority.
The impeachment now sets up a Senate trial. The Senate will take up the matter next week and decide whether Trump can remain in office. The Senate sitting will be presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice.
In the 100-member Senate, a two-thirds majority will be required to remove Trump from the Oval Office. It would be difficult for the Democrats to gain two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict Trump because it lacks numbers. The Republicans enjoy a brute majority in the Senate and therefore it is almost certain that the impeachment will fail and Democrats wouldn’t be able to unseat Trump.
Going by the strength, the Republican Party has 53 members against 43 of the Democratic Party. There are two Independents. Since a two-thirds majority is needed to dethrone Trump, at least 20 Republicans will have to join Democrats in voting against the incumbent President, which appears unlikely.
Meanwhile, the White House has described the impeachment as one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of the country.
Other than Johnson, Clinton and Trump, President Richard Nixon (1969 until 1974) also faced impeachment. But the impeachment never happened as he resigned before the House of Representatives had a chance to impeach him.