Sunday, September 29, 2019

The impeachment that wasn't

The House of Representatives has announced an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Two presidents--Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton--have been impeached. Neither was removed from office.  The only president to leave office as the result of impeachment was never actually impeached.
According to Wikipedia, an impeachment process against Richard Nixon began in the on October 30, 1973, following the "Saturday Night Massacre" episode of the Watergate scandal. The House Judiciary Committee set up an impeachment inquiry staff and began investigations into possible impeachable offenses by Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States
The process was formally initiated on February 6, 1974, when the House of Representatives passed a resolution, H.Res. 803, giving the Judiciary Committee authority to investigate whether sufficient grounds existed to impeach Nixon[1] of high crimes and misdemeanors, primarily related to Watergate. This investigation was undertaken one year after the United States Senate established a select committee to investigate the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon Administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement.
Following a subpoena from the Judiciary Committee, in April 1974 edited transcripts of many Watergate-related conversations from the Nixon White House tapes were made public by Nixon, but the committee pressed for full tapes and additional conversations. Nixon refused, but on July 24, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered him to comply. On July 27, 29, and 30, 1974, the Committee approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon, for obstruction of justiceabuse of power, and contempt of Congress, and reported those articles to the House of Representatives. Two other articles of impeachment were debated but not approved. 
Before the House could vote on the impeachment resolutions, Nixon made public on August 5, 1974 a transcript of one of the additional conversations, known as the "Smoking Gun Tape", which made clear his complicity in the cover-up. With his political support completely eroded, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974. It is widely believed that had Nixon not resigned, his impeachment by the House and removal from office by a trial before the United States Senate would have occurred.
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