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20 federal officials have been impeached in US history ' here are the wildest reasons why

Published by Business Insider on Fri, 24 Jan 2020


The House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump following a whistleblower scandal involving a Trump call to the leader of Ukraine, and his trial is currently underway in the Senate.Congress holds the Constitutional power to charge federal officials with crimes and remove them from office.In US history, just 19 federal officialsone senator, one cabinet secretary, three presidents, and 15 judgeswere impeached.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.In a historic move on December 18, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump.In US history, just 20 federal officialsone senator, one Cabinet secretary, three presidents, and 15 judgeswere impeached. Of those impeachments, just seven have occurred in the past 80 years.President Richard Nixon, the only president to resign from office, was actually never impeached. He stepped down before proceedings had begun. The two presidents who were impeached by the House, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, were both acquitted by the Senate. No president has ever been convicted by the Senate.Here are the stories behind the 20 federal officials who were impeached in US history:An earlier version of this article was written by Allan Smith.SEE ALSO:Here are the nearly 200 congressional Democrats and other lawmakers who want to begin an impeachment inquiry against TrumpWilliam BlountThe first federal officialto be subject to impeachmentwas Blount, a Tennessee senator, in 1797.Blount was accused of conspiring to allow Britain to gain control of Florida and Louisiana in exchange for American access to the Mississippi River and New Orleans. A letter outlining the plan was turned over to President John Adams, who came to the conclusion that what Blount was trying to pull off amounted to a crime.The House voted to hold impeachment hearings, but the Senate, taking responsibility for one of their own, took control of the matter and voted to essentially expel him from the governing body.John PickeringPickering, a district judge in New Hampshire, was impeached in 1803 and convicted by the Senate in 1804 for, among other things, being drunk.President Thomas Jefferson accused Pickering of having bad morals because he was drunk while on the bench. Jefferson also accused the district judge of making unlawful rulings, but Pickering's drunkenness is what he'smore remembered for."I shall be sober tomorrow," Pickering said at the start of a November 1802 hearing, according to Politico. "I am now damned drunk."Samuel ChaseChase was an associate judge on the US Supreme Court. He was impeached in March of 1804 for "arbitrary and oppressive" conduct during trials. Chase was ultimately acquitted for the charges by the Senate.Source: House of Representative's History, Art and ArchivesJames H. PeckPeck was a district court judge in Tennessee. He was impeached in 1830 on charges of abuse of the contempt power, but was later acquitted.West Hughes HumphreysWest Hughes Humphreys was impeached for something that no federal official could find themselves subjected to in modern times: serving simultaneously as a US district court judge in Tennessee and as a Confederate judgein the same state at the beginningof the Civil War.Impeached in 1862, Humphreys was subsequently convicted on charges including calling for secession from the union, aiding an armed rebellion, and serving as a Confederate judge.One charge he was not convicted on' Confiscating property belonging toPresident Abraham Lincoln-appointed Tennessee Military Governor Andrew Johnson,the future president.Speaking of Johnson...Andrew JohnsonPresident Johnson, one of only three US presidents to be impeached, was famously loathed by many in Congress. So much so that Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which curtailed the president's ability to fire members of his own Cabinet.Johnson went ahead and tried to fire his secretary of war anyway, and was subsequently impeached by the House in 1868. He avoided conviction in the Senate by one vote.The Tenure of Office Act was repealed in its entirety in 1887.Mark W. DelahayDelahay was a district judge in Kansas who was impeached in 1873 on charges of intoxication on the bench. He resigned prior to the Senate trial.William BelknapBelknap served as the US Secretary of War when he was impeached in 1876 on charges of "criminal disregard for his office and accepting payments in exchange for making official appointments." He was acquitted by the Senate.Source: House of Representative's History, Art and ArchivesCharles SwayneSwayne was a judge serving the northern district of Florida. He was impeached in 1904 on charges of abuse of contempt power and other "misuses of office." He was acquitted by the Senate.Source: House of Representative's History, Art and ArchivesRobert W. ArchbaldArchbald was an associate judge on the US Commerce Court. He was impeached in 1912 for inappropriate business relations with litigants. He was removed from his position and disqualified from holding future office.George W. EnglishEnglish was a district court judge in Illinois when he was impeached in April of 1926 on charges of abuse of power. The Senate trial began in late April, but English resigned in November of that year.Harold LouderbackLouderback was a district judge for the northern district of California, when he was impeached in February of 1933 on charges of "favoritism in the appointment of bankruptcy receivers." Louderback was acquitted by the Senate after a week-long trial in May of that year.Source: House of Representative's History, Art and ArchivesHalsted L. RitterRitter was a judge for the Southern district of Florida when he was impeached in 1986 on charges of "favoritism in bankruptcy receivers and practicing law as a sitting judge."Ritter was found guilty later that year by the Senate and removed from office.Source: House of Representative's History, Art and ArchivesHarry E. ClaiborneClaiborne served as the district court judge of Nevada when he was impeached in 1986 for income tax invasion and "of remaining on the bench following criminal conviction."Claiborne was found guilty and removed from office.Source: House of Representative's History, Art and ArchivesAlcee L. HastingsHastings, who currently serves as a Democratic representative in Florida, was impeached as a district court judge in the southern district of Florida in 1988. Hastings was found guilty and removed from his position the following year.Walter L. NixonWalter Nixonnot to be confused with former President Richard Nixon who resigned before he was impeachedwas a district judge in Mississippi when he was impeached on charges of perjury in front of a federal grand jury in 1989.He was found guilty and removed from office later that year.Bill ClintonFormer President Bill Clinton became the second impeached president in history after he was impeached on charges of lying under oath and obstruction of justice in 1998. He was acquitted by the Senate the following year.Samuel B. KentKent was a district court judge in Texas. He was impeached in Juune of 2009 on charges of "sexual assault, obstructing and impeding an official proceeding, and making false and misleading statements." He resigned late that month before the completion of his trial.Source: House of Representative's History, Art and ArchivesG. Thomas Porteous, Jr.Porteous was a district judge in Louisiana was impeached on charges of accepting bribes and perjury in 2010. He was found guilty by the Senate later that year, removed and disqualified from holding future office.Donald J. TrumpPresident Donald Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in December 2019.The current president's impeachment trial began in January 2020 as the impeachment managers make their case to the Senate on whether or not to remove the president.
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