Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

What happened to the other impeached US presidents?

Bill Clinton, left, and Andrew Johnson, right. Credit: PA

Donald Trump is just the third president to be impeached after the House of Representatives voted in favour of proceedings.

Here we look at the other two president to suffer the same fate and Richard Nixon who jumped before he was pushed.

  • Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached. Credit: PA

Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached after removing Secretary of War Edward Stanton from office, which breached the Tenure of Office Act back in 1867.

Johnson wanted to remove Stanton as he was a staunch Republican left over from Abraham Lincoln's presidency and Johnson want to replace him with a fellow Democrat.

Law ruled that Johnson was not permitted to sack any top officials without the permission of the Senate.

Stanton was first suspended and then replaced but Congress reversed the decision and reinstated the Secretary of War, only for Johnson to sack him.

The House of Representatives voted 126-47 in favour of impeachment a few days later.

An 11-week trial ensued and he was ultimately acquitted as the vote was 35 to 19 in favour of guilty but this fell one short of the two-thirds required to convict, luckily for Johnson.

Richard Nixon is the only president to resign. Credit: PA
  • Richard Nixon

Although not actually impeached, Richard Nixon quit before the inevitable happened.

It all started with the infamy of the Watergate scandal: five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters in Washington DC in June 1972.

They were caught trying to plant bugs in the building.

The trial into the matter began in January of following year and by April two senior White House officials and the attorney general had resigned in relation to the incident.

Nixon refused to hand over a number of taped recordings of phone calls he was part of, these would become to be known as the "Nixon Tapes".

The then-president claimed executive privilege as the reason he would not give them to Congress.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled he had to give them up.

Archibald Cox was put in charge of the investigation into Nixon, who wanted him fired.

A number of White House officials resigned rather than support Nixon.

In November 1973, Nixon said the infamous line "I am not a crook" in a speech, which will go down in history.

Impeachment proceedings started in April the following year, when the House of Representatives voted 410-4 in favour of the proceedings.

The House Judiciary Committee ruled Nixon had obstructed justice, misused power, and was in contempt of Congress.

The three charges were set to be voted on by the House but rather than face the disgrace of being found guilty in the Senate, he resigned on August 8, 1974, becoming the only president to ever do so.

Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. Credit: PA
  • Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton is the most recent president to be impeached, back in 1994.

The matter began with the Whitewater financial investigation into property investments made by the Clintons (for which they were never prosecuted), but the president was also sued for sexual harassment by Paula Jones.

Clinton claimed he could not face civil action due to presidential immunity but the Supreme Court ruled this was not the case in 1997.

Clinton was accused of lying under oath during the Jones case, having claimed he did not have an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

In July 1998, Clinton testified regarding accusations of perjury over lying about the affair.

By August he had admitted to the infidelity and Lewinsky had made tapes where she discussed the infidelity, which were released two months later.

The House of Representatives voted in favour of impeachment proceedings in October.

Monica Lewinsky had an affair with Clinton. Credit: PA

There were three separate grounds for impeachment; the accusations were that Clinton lied to a grand jury, committed perjury by denying his relationship with Lewinsky, and also obstructed justice, followed a day later by a fourth allegation of abusing power.

In December, Clinton was impeached on two counts - perjury and obstructing justice - but refused to step down and was ultimately acquitted by the Senate in February 1999.