Impeachment: The Constitutional Procedure, Histori

Impeachment: The Constitutional Procedure, Historic Cases, Clinton’s Case

I. The Constitutional Procedure

Article II, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution specifies the procedures to be used to remove the president, vice president or other officials from office. The rarely used procedure is complex, reflecting 18th - century formalities.
The process opens in various ways through the House. In one process, the House votes on an inquiry of impeachment which would direct the Judiciary Committee to investigate the charges against the president. If a member of Congress takes the more serious step of introducing a resolution of impeachment, all other work must stop until a decision is reached.
Either the president is cleared of the charges through an investigation, or the committee votes to send articles of impeachment to the full House.
If the House approves articles of impeachment, a trial is conducted in the Senate, presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. At the conclusion, the Senate may vote to simply remove the official from office, or to remove him or her from office and bar from holding any other federal office. Removal requires a two - thirds majority in the Senate.

II. Historic Cases

Ticket of admission to the U.S. Senate galleries for the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson

In 1868 President Andrew Johnson was saved by one vote in the Senate after the House approved articles of impeachment against him over a dispute on the post - Civil War reconstruction of the South.
Besides Clinton, only one president has been impeached: Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth chief executive. Johnson, a Southern Democrat who became president after Lincoln's assassination, supported a mild policy of Reconstruction after the Civil War. The Radical Republicans in Congress were furious at his leniency toward ex - Confederates and obvious lack of concern for ex - slaves, demonstrated by his veto of civil rights bills and opposition to the Fourteenth Amendment. To protect Radical Republicans in Johnson's administration and diminish the strength of the president, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act in 1867, which prohibited the president from dismissing office holders without the Senate's approval. A defiant Johnson tested the constitutionality of the Act by attempting to oust Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. His violation of the Act became the basis for impeachment in1868. But the Senate was one vote short of the two - thirds majority needed to convict, and Johnson was acquitted May 26, 1868.
In 1974 President Richard Nixon chose to resign in disgrace rather than face impeachment for his role in the cover - up of the Watergate break - in.
Of thirty - four attempts at impeachment in the nineteenth century only eight have come to trial. Because it cripples Congress with a lengthy trial, impeachment is infrequent. Many officials, seeing the writing on the wall, resign rather than face the ignominy of a public trial.
The most famous of these cases is of course that of President Richard Nixon. After five men hired by Nixon's reelection committee were caught burglarizing Democratic party headquarters at the Watergate Complex on June 17, 1972, President Nixon's subsequent behavior —his cover - up of the burglary and refusal to turn over evidence - - - led the house Judiciary to issue three articles of impeachment on July 30, 1974. The document also indicted Nixon for illegal wire tapping, misuse of the CIA, perjury, bribery, obstruction of justice, and other abuses of executive power. "In all of this," the Articles of Impeachment summarize, "Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States." Impeachment appeared inevitable, and Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974. The Articles of Impeachment, leave no doubt that these charges qualify as "high crimes and misdemeanors," justifying impeachment.

III. Clinton’s Case

Sum. 95: After college Lewinsky works as an unpaid intern for White House chief of staff
Nov. 95: Lewinsky began sexual affair with Clinton, according to the conversation recorded on tape.
Dec. 95: White House legislative office hires Lewinsky
April 96: Lew. takes job on Pentagon public affairs staff; Tripp becomes her friend and confidante.
Dec. 97: Lew. subpoenaed to testify in investigation of Paula Jones’ harassment allegations against Clinton. Lewinsky has job interviews with Revlon and Young & Rubicam, arranged by Clinton advisor Vernon Jordan.
Jan. 7 Lewinsky testifies in a sworn affidavit to Paula Jones's lawyers she had no relationship with Clinton; continues confiding in Tripp.
Jan. 12 Tripp gives Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr 20 hours of tapes on which Lewinsky allegedly says she had an affair with Clinton, beginning in Nov. 1995.
Jan. 13 Lewinsky allegedly tells Tripp, who is secretly wired with an FBI recording device, that Clinton had asked her to conceal their relationship.
Jan. 14 Lewinsky reported gives Tripp "talking points" for questions in the Paula Jones harassment case.
Jan. 17 The president, in the office of his lawyer Robert S. Bennett, undergoes nearly six hours of questioning under oath by Jones's attorneys. Jones's lawyers question Clinton about several other women who allegedly had sexual relations with Clinton or were propositioned by him, including Lewinsky, Willey and Gennifer Flowers. He denies any sexual affair with Lewinsky. Los Angeles attorney William H. Ginsburg takes over from Carter as Lewinsky's attorney and begins to seek immunity or a plea agreement for his client from Starr. Newsweek, which has obtained copies of some of the Lewinsky - Tripp tapes, holds off on publication of a story about them in part because Starr says publication would jeopardize his investigation.
Jan. 18 Clinton meets with his personal secretary, Betty Currie, to compare her memory of his interactions with Lewinsky with his own. Matt Drudge, Web gossipmeister, uploads a story on the Drudge Report about the spiking of the Newsweek story.
Jan. 20 After three days of rumors, reporters at The Washington Post and elsewhere confirm that Starr has expanded his inquiry to investigate the possibility of subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice related to Lewinsky. The story breaks at midnight.
Jan. 21 Clinton says his relationship with Lewinsky was "not sexual" and he emphatically denies that he encouraged Lewinsky to lie under oath. Revlon withdraws its job offer.Jan. 26 Clinton publicly denies affair and cover - up. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," he says.
Jan. 27 Starr opens grand - jury probe into Lewinsky allegations.
Jan. 16 Starr receives formal approval from Attorney General Janet Reno and the three - judge panel that oversees independent counsels to expand his inquiry to investigate the possibility of
subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Jones case. Starr receives formal approval from Attorney General Janet Reno and the three - judge panel that oversees independent counsels to expand his inquiry to investigate the possibility of subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Jones case. Starr's deputies have Tripp arrange to meet Lewinsky again. FBI agents and several U.S. attorneys question Lewinsky for as much as 10 hours in an effort to get her to cooperate.

Lewinsky’s attorney files her affidavit. That night, Tripp secretly meets with a lawyer for Jones at her home in Columbia for two hours. She fully briefs him about Lewinsky's purported affair with the president.
Feb. 3 Logs show Lewinsky was cleared 37 times to visit the White House between April 1996 and December 1997, while she worked at the Pentagon.
Feb. 10 Marcia Lewis, Lewinsky's mother, testifies before the grand jury. At question is whether Lewis was aware of her daughter's alleged affair with President Clinton.
March 3 Clinton friend Vernon Jordan testifies before grand jury.
March 10 Kathleen Willey, a former White House volunteer who accused the president of fondling her, testifies before the grand jury
March 21 Clinton invokes executive privilege to limit testimony of aides Bruce Lindsey, Sidney Blumenthal
April 1 Judge Susan Webber Wright dismisses Jones' suit
April 16 Jones announces she will appeal
May 5 Judge Norma Holloway Johnson strikes down claims of executive privilege
May 22 Johnson rules Secret Service agents must testify
June 4 Supreme Court denies Starr's request that it bypass lower courts to hasten rulings on Secret Service and White House claims of privilege.
June 30 Tripp begins testifying before grand jury
July 7 Federal appeals court rules that no privilege protexts Secret Service agents from testifying
July 17 Chief Justice William Rehnquist refuses to block Secret Service agents from testifying; they report to grand jury
July 26 Starr reportedly subpoenas Clinton
July 27 Federal appeals court rules Lindsey's testimony not shielded
July 28 Starr grants Lewinsky immunity
July 29 Clinton agrees to testify voluntarily; Starr's office withdraws the subpoena.
Aug. 6 Lewsinky testifies before the grand jury
Aug. 17 Clinton testifies via closed - circuit TV, becoming the first sitting president to appear before a grand jury investigating his conduct. That night, on national TV, the president admits to having an inappropriate relationship with Lewinsky.
Aug. 20 Lewinsky makes her second appearance before the grand jury.
Sep. 9 Starr sends his final report - - which encompasses 18 boxes of supporting documents - - to the House.
Sep. 11 Starr's report is made available to the public on the Internet.
Sep. 21 Clinton's videotaped testimony is released to the public.
Oct. 8 House votes to authorize an impeachment inquiry.
Nov. 3 Democrats pick up five House seats in the election. Exit polls show almost two - thirds of voters don't want Clinton impeached.
Nov. 13 Clinton agrees to pay Mrs. Jones $850,000 to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit, with no apology or admission of guilt on the president's part.
Nov. 17 The House Judiciary Committee releases 22 hours of tapes, recorded by Mrs.Tripp, of her conversations with Ms. Lewinsky.
Nov. 19 In a nationally televised committee hearing, Starr defends his investigation under insistent questioning from Democratic lawmakers and the president's private attorney. Clinton's own conduct scarcely is mentioned.
Nov. 20 Starr's ethics adviser, Sam Dash, resigns, objecting to Starr's testifying in support of the report.
Nov. 27 Clinton writes the committee that his testimony in the Lewinsky affair is ''not false and misleading.'' Answering 81 questions put to him by Chairman Henry Hyde, R - Ill., Clinton reveals little or no new information.
Dec. 1 From judges and retired military officers to two women prosecuted for lying in sex cases, the committee hears from witnesses who say perjury undermines the court system.
Dec. 2 House investigators armed with a court order review secret memos on alleged fund - raising abuses in Clinton's 1996 campaign.
Dec. 3 Republicans decide against including campaign fund raising in the impeachment inquiry.
Dec. 8 The president's lawyers present a two - day defense to the Judiciary Committee that includes testimony from former Watergate - era committee members and impeachment scholars.
Dec. 9 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee introduce draft articles of impeachment accusing Clinton of perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power, and committee Democrats counter with a draft censure resolution.
Dec. 11 House Judiciary Committee approves impeachment articles I, II and III, which accuse the president of perjury in the Paula Jones deposition and in his grand jury testimony and obstruction of justice in the Jones case.
Dec. 12 Committee approves the fourth and final article of impeachment, which is amended to strike charges that the president abused his office by asserting executive privilege and to add charges of perjury regarding Clinton's responses to the 81 questions posed by the committee. The committee rejects a resolution backed by Democrats that would censure Clinton for ''reprehensible conduct'' in his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.
Dec. 15 House members prepare for a vote Thursday or Friday on the articles of impeachment. While Clinton is on his way back from a trip to the Middle East, the White House struggles to counteract announcements by key moderate House Republicans saying they will support impeachment

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