How to impeach a president

How to impeach a president

What we can learn from Reconstruction, Watergate, and the Clinton saga.

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[2:31] CORRECTION: Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, not 1863.

The founding fathers included impeachment in the constitution so that Congress would have a way to remove leaders who had “rendered themselves obnoxious,” in the words of Benjamin Franklin. But the way they set up the process, it’s nearly impossible to remove a president from office without substantial support from the president’s own party. That’s what happened during Watergate: some congressional republicans protected Richard Nixon, but others demanded to know the extent of his involvement in a break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, and the subsequent cover-up. In the words of then-Senator Howard Baker, a Republican from Tennessee, “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” It was pressure from Republican leaders like Barry Goldwater that made Nixon resign before the House could vote on articles of impeachment– Goldwater convinced Nixon that too many Republicans were willing to vote to remove him from office, he’d never survive a Senate vote.

The opposite was true during the impeachment proceedings for Bill Clinton. After it became clear he lied during a deposition for a sexual assault suit brought by a former employee, Paula Jones, about his relationship with a different employee, Monica Lewinsky, Republicans in Congress argued the offense was serious enough to be impeachable. Democrats disagreed, and although the House voted to impeach Clinton on a party-line vote, not a single Democratic senator voted to remove him from office. If a President still has the support of a majority of his political party, history suggests the chances for impeaching and removing him from office are slim to none.

While legal scholars, activists, and some Democratic members of Congress have pushed for articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, it seems unlikely at this point that a substantial number of Republicans would break rank in the Senate to create a 2/3 majority in favor of removal from office.

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20 Responses

  1. Mahen Nowzadick says:

    If Hilary was president, would videos like this be posted ?

  2. Jess Osborn says:

    Trump supporters are so mad

  3. Calyx says:

    Impeachment has never been more necessary. Trump ticks the ‘treason’ and ‘bribery’ boxes, soooooooo…

  4. Johnny Sythe says:

    Nice timing vox but trump will get himself impeached. He’s already starting.

  5. Talal Imran says:

    But how do you impeach an orange?

  6. el jay says:

    Nixon was going to be impeached on lesser charges of breaking into Watergate. Yet Trump has the Russians hack the DNC publicly and doesn’t get impeached…why would the Republicans back such a treasonous mess as trump is anybody’s guess. Maybe they didn’t just hack the DNC, more than likely the RNC and trump tower.

  7. Adi says:

    To all the people whining “durr you only ever cover stuff about Trump” this is relevant as today the Korean president was impeached.

  8. Xiānshēng Lee says:

    Democracy is a joke hahah

  9. Jevvy Media says:

    Vox is really capitalizing on all this Donald Trump hype 😂

  10. 양지원 says:

    Today the president of s.korea park gun hae was impeached. The timing.

  11. Shaheer Rahman says:

    beware the comment section is hell

  12. Steven Lee says:

    This video came right after a Korean president was impeached for fraud and other crimes that she committed. What are they suggesting?

  13. zEropoint68 says:

    if i were in charge at vox, i would close comments on the youtube channel. the audience you’re actually trying to appeal to is being discouraged from interacting with your content here because your imprint is too popular with nazis.

  14. kysenpikaya says:

    There is a glaring error in the video. The impeachment of Andrew Johnson occurred in 1868, not 1863. Abraham Lincoln was president in 1863, and reconstruction only began in 1865, when the Civil War ended.

  15. Aaron MG says:

    1863? Andrew Johnson? Poor fact checking…

  16. egg plant says:

    the south korean president got impeached and removed today!

  17. Petrichor says:

    I did not.. have.. sexual relations.. with.. that.. woman

  18. Caleb Smith says:

    can’t impeach him if he’s not your president

  19. Light Bulb! says:

    Y’all can’t impeach trump just cause you don’t like him

  20. Zero says:

    Dear Trump supporters,
    Just because something has facts, and/or evidence, that shines a rather negative light on Trump, does not make it biased or propaganda.
    It just shows that some people choose to not ignore the facts, and actually research on a person before showing them support.

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