Past Impeachments

Impeachment of a President is a rare event. Only two Presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached. Both were acquited and remained in office. Articles of Impeachment for Richard Nixon were drawn up but Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. Congress started to impeach John Tyler over State's Rights issues but the measure failed. Articles of Impeachmnent for George W. Bush were introduced in the House but died in committee.

Andrew Johnson

After the Civil War, Johnson and Congress repeatedly butted heads over the rights of freed slaves. Johnson vetoed several bills intended to expand the rights of the former slaves. Johnson then dismissed Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. This prompted Congress to impeach Johnson.

There were eleven Article of Impeachment filed against Andrew Johnson. The first nine related to firing Stanton and replacing him with Lorenzo Thomas. Congress claimed this violated the Tenure of Office Act, which forbade the president from removing certain officeholders without the approval of the Senate. Johnson was impeached for this but found not guilty because Stanton had been appointed by Lincoln and the Tenure Act did not protect officeholders held over from a previous term.

The tenth included the charge that Johnson did "make and declare, with a loud voice certain intemperate, inflammatory, and scandalous harangues, and therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces, as well against Congress as the laws of the United States duly enacted thereby, amid the cries, jeers and laughter of the multitudes then assembled in hearing". Later in the same article, "said utterances, declarations, threats, and harangues, highly censurable in any, are peculiarly indecent and unbecoming in the Chief Magistrate of the United States, by means whereof said Andrew Johnson has brought the high office of the President of the United States into contempt, ridicule and disgrace, to the great scandal of all good citizens, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did commit, and was then and there guilty of a high misdemeanor in office." So there is a precedent for impeaching a President just for being a rude bully.

Articles of Impeachment for Andrew Johnson

Richard Nixon

Nixon was not actually impeached. But the Judiciary Committee approved Articles of Impeachment and sent them to the House for a floor vote. Nixon then resigned rather than face an actual impeachment and trial.

Articles of Impeachment for Richard Nixon

William Clinton

When Clinton was testifying in a sexual harassment lawsuit by Paula Jones he stated that did not have "sex" with Monica Lewinsky. When he later revealed that he had oral sex with her, the Republicans impeached him for perjury. Clinton was eventually acquitted when it was found that his crimes did not rise to the level of "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" and that the term "sexual relations" as used by Clinton only referred to intercourse and did not include oral sex.

Articles of Impeachment for William Clinton

George W. Bush

An impeachment movement was active for most of Bush's time in office. Dozens of cities and towns sent official petitions to the Speaker of the House. These petitions were entered into the Congressional Record. The Democractic leadership blocked most attempts to initiate impeachment. But on June 10, 2008, Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. It took about 5 hours to read all of the charges. The House then voted to send the bill to the Judiciary committee. The committee sat on it until Bush left office.