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How Many US Presidents Have Faced Impeachment?

October 21, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

The framers of the Constitution intentionally made it difficult to remove a sitting president from office.

Only two U.S. presidents have been formally impeached by Congress—

Donald Trump: Impeachment Inquiry Launched in 2019

On October 9, 2019 in Washington, D.C., President Trump answers questions on a pending impeachment inquiry.

On September 24, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump regarding his alleged efforts to pressure the President of Ukraine to investigate possible wrongdoings by his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

The decision to authorize the impeachment inquiry came after a leaked whistleblower complaint detailed a July phone conversation between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump allegedly tied Ukrainian military aid to personal political favors. The White House later released a reconstructed transcript of the phone call, which many Democrats argued demonstrated that Trump had abused his power.

As of this writing, the House Judiciary Committee has not yet passed articles of impeachment against the president, so the process is still in its early stages. The Trump case marks the fourth time in U.S. history that a president has been the subject of a formal House impeachment investigation.

Other Presidents Threatened with Impeachment

A significant number of U.S. presidents have faced calls for impeachment, including five of the past six Republican presidents. But few of those accusations were taken seriously by Congress.

There were even rumblings about impeaching the nation’s first president, George Washington, by those who opposed his policies. Those calls, however, did not reach the point of becoming formal resolutions or charges.

John Tyler was the first president to face impeachment charges. Nicknamed “His Accidency” for assuming the presidency after William Henry Harrison died after just 30 days in office, Tyler was wildly unpopular with his own Whig party. A House representative from Virginia submitted a petition for Tyler’s impeachment, but it was never taken up by the House for a vote.

Between 1922 and 1923, a congressman introduced two impeachment resolutions against Herbert Hoover. Both were eventually tabled by large margins.

More recently, both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were the subject of impeachment resolutions submitted by Henry B. Gonzales, a Democratic representative from Texas, but none of the resolutions were taken up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee.

George W. Bush faced a slightly more …read more


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