KEY POINTS

  • Trump was impeached for the second time on Jan. 11
  • Clinton was impeached in 1998 after lying about his relationship with a White House intern
  • in 1868, Johnson narrowly avoided impeachment in the Senate by a single vote

The House of Representatives on Wednesday made history after voting to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, making him the first president to be impeached twice in a single term. 

Throughout the history of the United States, only three presidents have been formally impeached by the House of Representatives. However, no president has ever been removed from office. 

Donald Trump (2019, 2021)

Trump is the latest president to be impeached by the House of Representatives. In September 2019, the House opened an impeachment inquiry against Trump after the president allegedly pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. The inquiry also addressed allegations about Ukraine's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

The impeachment inquiry came after a July phone conversation between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelenky was leaked. The White House released a transcript of the call that Democrats believe showed a violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

“I would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Trump told Zelensky. “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.”

On Dec. 18, 2019, the House impeached Trump in a 230 to 197 vote for abuse of power and 229 to 198 for obstruction of Congress. 

On Feb. 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted Trump on both charges in a 52 to 48 vote on abuse of power and 53 to 47 vote on obstruction charges. 

House Democrats introduced a second impeachment legislation on Jan. 11, 2021, days after thousands of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. Lawmakers accused Trump of inciting the violence. He was impeached on Wednesday, with 10 Republicans breaking ranks and voting in favor of impeachment. 

Bill Clinton (1998)

Clinton’s administration was plagued with scandals. In 1993, the former president and first lady Hillary Clinton were involved in a financial investigation known as the “Whitewater Controversy.” A year later, Paula Jones sued the president for sexual harassment after he allegedly exposed himself to her in a hotel room in 1991. 

In January 1998, Clinton denied under oath that he had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, an intern at the White House. However, lawyers for Jones received 20 hours of recorded phone conversation where Clinton alluded to the relationship. 

On Dec. 19, 1988, the House impeached Clinton for committing perjury by denying his relationship with  Lewinsky and obstruction of justice. He was acquitted by the Senate after a five-week trial. 

Andrew Johnson (1868)

Democrat Andrew Johnson was elected as vice president under Abraham Lincoln’s administration. He took power after Lincoln’s assassination, leaving him in charge of a Reconstruction plan that allowed whites to regulate the move from slavery to freedom but which didn't give blacks a role in Southern politics.

Johnson often clashed with the Radical Republicans, a faction of the Republican Party, after he called for pardons for Confederate leaders and vetoed a bill that protected the rights of freed slaves. 

Johnson’s impeachment trial came after he fired his secretary of war, a known ally of the Radical Republicans. The firing violated the Tenure of Office Act, which barred presidents from replacing Cabinet members without the approval of the Senate. 

On Feb. 24, 1868, the House of Representatives impeached Johnson in a 126 to 47 vote. However, he avoided a conviction in the Senate by a single vote.  There are worries that pursuing the impeachment of Donald Trump could distract from Joe Biden's first few months in office and his push for new stimulus There are worries that pursuing the impeachment of Donald Trump could distract from Joe Biden's first few months in office and his push for new stimulus Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN