In the 243-year history of the U.S., only two Presidents have ever been impeached. Could Donald J. Trump be the third?
Now, before we go any further, let’s be reminded of what impeachment really is. Impeachment is simply the process of stating charges against a government official — similar to an indictment in criminal law. Impeachment does not actually remove the official definitively from office. According to the U.S. Constitution, impeachable offenses include “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” If impeached, the official faces potential conviction of charges. An official can be removed from office if convicted.
In 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached for violating the Tenure of Office Act. He was later acquitted.
In a case many are more familiar with, impeachment of President Bill Clinton was initiated in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice, which falls under “high crimes and misdemeanors.” He was also acquitted.
Though many often associate President Richard Nixon with impeachment, he was not actually impeached. Before he could let that happen, he chose to “peace out” and resign in 1974.
Lately, Trump has been under the incandescent impeachment spotlight. In a Democrat-controlled House, an impeachment inquiry was opened Sept. 24, which revolves around alleged efforts by Trump to bully Ukraine and other foreign countries into providing damaging information about 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
Trump has referred to the ongoing process as “the greatest witch hunt in American history,” which alludes to fairy tales and fabricated nonsense he believes Democrats are plotting against him.
Well, Thursday the witch hunt got real. The House “formalized” the impeachment process against Trump with a 232-196 vote — no Republican voted for the measure. In doing so, the House sets the stage for public hearings, witness testimonies and a roller coaster ride that will not be ending any time soon.
I’m not quite sure what to make of the impeachment proceedings. I don’t know if Trump will be charged of any crimes, and I don’t know if he’ll eventually be dragged out of the Oval Office.
What I do know, however, is that none of this mess looks good for our great United States of America.
Taylor Beck is managing editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.