The Impeachment of President Donald Trump

Mei Bradford

The Trump Impeachment Trials shook the nation, but less so than expected. There is no hiding the fact that Donald Trump’s presidency has changed the nation. Whether you are a Trump supporter or not, there is no denying that America will never be the same again. 

Recently, President Donald Trump has been impeached. Now, an essential part of that sentence is that President Donald Trump has been impeached in the House. The ending of that sentence is the most important. When the impeachment was released, history was made, but many people did not understand why. Impeachment isn’t a word Americans throw around lightly. To many, it is a different word for “fired.” They assume if a government official is “impeached” it means that they are fired, removed from office, and stripped of their power. But, not in a president’s case. Similar to Clinton, Trump has not been removed from office but is still impeached. 

There have been two prior presidents who have been impeached. The lesser-known one was Andrew Johnson in 1868.  Johnson was impeached under Section 4 Article 2 of the US Constitution “high crimes and misdemeanors.” According to the Constitution, “conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” are all impeachable offenses, but what does that really mean? In Johnson’s case, the “high crime and misdemeanor” was Johnson deliberately ignoring a piece of Senate approved legislation that was a check on the president’s power. But in Clinton’s case, the “high crime and misdemeanor” was him having a sexual affair and lying about it which falls under perjury. He was also charged with obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Aside from Trump, there have only been two other successful impeachments and both have been for drastically different reasons. So between ignoring the Senate and lying about an affair where does Donald Trump fall? 

When talking to the AP United States Government teacher Ginger Fritz about the similarities and differences, it became clear that all three cases were so different it was hard to compare. The main similarity between Clinton’s Trial and Trump’s Trial was the process. As far as logistics, things like speaking and questioning times were similar as well as the fact that both the president’s approval rating increased after the impeachment. One of the main differences between the two cases is witnesses. During the Clinton impeachment, the Senate voted for witnesses. They used video testimony but called 3 witnesses in the Senate. During the Trump impeachment, the Senate elected to not call witnesses. Many saw this as a form of corruption, while others saw witnesses as a waste of time. 

Fortunately, there haven’t been many impeached presidents, but this means that it is an unprecedented situation. The United States Constitution is very vague about impeachable crimes that leave the government and the people’s interpretation of the historic document to be so important. Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will be referenced and referred to in the future. The way the US senators and representatives acted and voted during this time will be taken into account during the next impeachment trial and be recorded in history books for future generations.