U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Trump became the third president to be impeached.

Reuters

  • President Donald Trump is set to become the first president in American history to be impeached twice with the House expected to pass an article charging him with inciting an insurrection on the Capitol. 
  • Trump was also impeached by the House of Representatives in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate acquitted him on both articles on February 5, 2020.
  • No sitting president has ever been convicted, but Trump could be the first over his role in provoking the deadly Capitol riot.
  • Only three US presidents have faced impeachment before him — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were both impeached, while Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached in 1974.
  • Here's how the process went for them and how it compares with today.
  • Read Insider's coverage of Wednesday's impeachment debate on the House floor.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump became the third president in the history of the United States to be impeached at all in December 2019, and is now set to become the first president in American history to be impeached twice.

On Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection on the US Capitol on January 6. 

In addition to the vast majority of Democratic House members expected to vote to impeach Trump, five House Republicans, including the third highest-ranking House Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, plan to vote to impeach him as well. 

Then, the House will transmit the articles to the Senate, which will hold a trial on whether to convict Trump. The proceedings will be overseen by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Senators will act as jurors. Reuters reported on Wednesday that the trial could begin as soon as Friday, January 15.

The Senate will soon be made up of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans when incoming Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia are sworn in, but a two-thirds majority of 67 Senators is required to vote to convict a federal officer. 

Read more: GOP kicks Trump to curb after deadly Capitol insurrection, leaving president to fend for himself during his historic second impeachment

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly livid with Trump over last week's events at the Capitol as well as over Republicans' loss of control of the Senate. He is "pleased" by the prospect of Trump being impeached and is now leaning towards a vote to convict, The New York Times and Axios reported on Tuesday night. 

The Senate can still vote to convict Trump even after he leaves office, and also has the option to bar Trump from holding a federal office ever again by a simple majority vote of 51 senators. Vice-president elect Kamala Harris will be able to cast the tie-breaking 51st vote.

The House impeached Trump on two articles on December 18, 2019. This was based on Congress' investigation into whether Trump attempted to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

On February 5, 2020, the Senate voted to acquit Trump, voting largely along party lines.

Congress has the power to impeach or remove presidents or other federal officials from office if enough lawmakers find that they have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Three other presidents have faced impeachment proceedings, but only two have been successfully impeached.

In 1868, Andrew Johnson was impeached, charged with breaching the Tenure of Office Act, but the Senate narrowly acquitted him by one vote. In 1974, Richard Nixon faced an impeachment inquiry, but he resigned before the House could impeach him. In 1998, Bill Clinton was impeached, but he too was acquitted by the Senate.

Here's how the process went for each of the presidents who were impeached:

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson
Former President Andrew Johnson.

Library of Congress

Johnson was the first sitting president to ever face impeachment proceedings.

It all began when he removed his Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from office in 1867, which breached the Tenure of Office Act. The law meant he couldn't fire any important officials without first getting Senate's permission. At first, he had suspended Stanton and replaced him, but when Congress intervened and reinstated Stanton, Johnson fired him on February 21, 1868.

Three days later, on February 24, 1868, the House of Representatives impeached Johnson by a vote of 126-47. The House said he'd violated the law and disgraced the US Congress.

From March to May 1868, over 11 weeks, the Senate tried Johnson's case and finally voted to acquit him. The vote was 35 guilty to 19 not guilty. One more guilty vote would have met the required two-thirds that's necessary for a conviction.

Bill Clinton

bill clinton
Clinton in the Oval Office.

Time Life Pictures/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Clinton was the second president to face impeachment proceedings. From early 1994, he was dealing with scandals, beginning with a financial investigation known as "Whitewater."

That same year, Paula Jones sued him, accusing the president of sexual harassment. Clinton argued he had presidential immunity from civil cases, but in 1997, the Supreme Court rejected his argument.

In January 1998, during Jones' case, Clinton denied under oath that he'd ever had an affair with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky. But news of Clinton's affair with Lewinsky got out.

In July 1998, Clinton testified about the allegations that he'd committed perjury by lying about his affair with Lewinsky. And by August, he'd acknowledged having an affair with Lewinsky.

Lewinsky had also recorded conversations of her talking about the affair, and the transcripts of the conversation went public in October 1998.

On October 8, 1998, just days after the tapes were released, the House of Representatives voted for impeachment proceedings to begin against Clinton. In a report released in September by the independent counsel Kenneth Starr, there were 11 grounds for impeachment.

On December 11, 1998, the House approved three articles of impeachment along party lines - charging Clinton had lied to a grand jury, committed perjury by denying his relationship with Lewinsky, and obstructed justice. The next day, a fourth article was approved, which accused Clinton of abusing his power.

On December 19, 1998, the House impeached Clinton for two of the articles - perjury and obstructing justice. The votes were 228-206 and 221-212, respectively, also largely along party lines. Despite being impeached, Clinton refused to step down.

Clinton was tried by the Senate and acquitted on February 12, 1999.

His perjury charge had a vote of 55 not guilty to 45 guilty, and his obstruction-of-justice charge was 50 not guilty to 50 guilty. They didn't meet the two-thirds majority necessary to convict.

Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Trump welcomes Guatemala's President Morales at the White House in Washington

Reuters

Trump became the third president to be impeached in December 2019. He was impeached on two counts: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The House of Representatives launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump on September 24, following a whistleblower complaint claiming that the president abused his political power in exchange for an investigation into a political opponent, 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

House investigators were looking into whether or not Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country into conducting an investigation into the Bidens for corruption.

Trump has vehemently denied that there was any "quid pro quo" in his conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and has since blasted House Democrats for the impeachment investigation, equating it to the Salem witch trials.

On December 18, 2019 the House voted along party lines, earning a majority to charge the president on both counts. The House passed the abuse of power article by a vote of 230 to 197 to 1, and the obstruction of Congress article by a vote of 229 to 198 to 1.

The House voted for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to formally submit the articles of impeachment to the Senate on January 15. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over the impeachment trial.

Senators failed to approve a motion to call witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial with a vote of 49-51.

For Trump to be removed from office, two-thirds of the Senate - 67 members - must vote to convict him. The Senate consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats.

On February 5, Trump was cleared on both articles of impeachment. On abuse of power, senators voted 52-48, with Sen. Mitt Romney breaking from the Republican party to vote to convict. Every other Republican voted to acquit, while every Democrat voted to convict. On obstruction of Congress, senators voted straight down party lines, 53-47.

James Pasley and Pamela Engel contributed to a previous version of this article. 

Read the original article on Business Insider