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A Quick Comparison of Impeachments

In my 65 years, there have been two cases where the House of Representatives have moved towards, or completed Presidential impeachment investigations.   The first, in 1974 involved the investigation of Richard Nixon for his actions involving the Watergate break-in.   The second in 1998, involved the investigation of Bill Clinton involving his actions related to a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinski.   I want to speak to the charges that were made towards each and compare them with the potential charges Donald Trump could be facing if the House of Representatives moves forward with their impeachment investigation.

Charges Against Richard Nixon in 1974

  1.  Contempt of Congress – this charge involved the fact that Nixon “failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives”.
  2. Abuse of Power  – this charge involved “Violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries and controvening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch.
  3. Obstruction of Justice – involved “conduct designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation into the Watergate break-in”.  It involved efforts to “conceal, cover up, and protect those involved in the break-in along with efforts to conceal the existence and scope of other covert activities.

Results of the Nixon Inquiry

Richard Nixon resigned after a group of politicians visited him to let him know that there was no way that the impeachment and the trial in the Senate would be favorable to him.  If he hadn’t resigned, he would have been impeached, tried by the Senate, and convicted.

It should be noted that there were many instances of individuals who were tried, convicted, sentenced and sent to prison during the process.

Nixon was pardoned of any criminal activity by the new President, Gerald Ford.


Charges Against Bill Clinton In 1998

  1.  Perjury – Lying to the Grand Jury regarding his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
  2. Obstruction Of Justice – Encouraging White House Staff to give false testimony.

Results of the Clinton Inquiry

The House of Representatives (Republican Controlled) voted to impeach Clinton on the two charges listed above.   However, the Senate overwhelmingly declined to convict Clinton after the Senate trial that was required after impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Oddly enough, Clinton earned very high favorable poll numbers after the impeachment and finished his second term in office.  Also note, it was determined that a fairly significant number of the Senators and Representatives who voted against Clinton were involved or had been involved in extra-marital affairs.  They were not put in front of a Grand Jury and never had the opportunity to make false statements about their affairs as did Clinton.

In my next post, I will delineate potential charges that could be brought against Donald Trump based upon the results addressed in Robert Mueller’s report if the House of Representatives moves forward with the impeachment process.


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