Since the first impeachment of a federal official in 1797, there have been a total of 21 impeachments. In eight cases, it led to removal; in another three, the official resigned. The most recent is the second impeachment of President Donald Trump. He is yet to be tried by the Senate.

Go to the list of all federal officials impeached in US history.

What does impeachment mean?

Impeachment means charging a public official with misconduct. Like in the justice system, charges alone do not lead to consequences. Instead, there is a trial, during which the official is convicted or acquitted.

What does the Constitution say about the impeachment process?

The Constitution outlines the federal impeachment process across several sections, though Article II, Section 4 describes its purpose and use: "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

The "sole Power of Impeachment" rests with the House, as stated in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Senate then conducts a trial and has the power to convict or acquit, according to Article I, Section 3. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court oversees the proceedings, and conviction occurs only if two-thirds of present senators concur with the charges. If someone is convicted, they are removed from office and barred from holding any government office. There are no criminal consequences, though the person may still be "liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."

Article II, Section 2 states that the president has the power to pardon "except in Cases of Impeachment."

Who can be impeached?

While the Constitution explicitly names the president and vice president, it also states that all federal civil officers are impeachable. Historically, that has led to the impeachments of multiple federal judges and one cabinet-level appointee.

Members of Congress are not subject to removal by impeachment. In 1797, Senator William Blount became the first person impeached by Congress; two years later, the Senate concluded that he was not a civil officer and dismissed the charges. By then, Blount had already been expelled from the Senate under Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, which grants the House and Senate separate processes by which a two-thirds majority can remove a member.

Who has been impeached?

Congress has impeached 15 judges, three presidents, one secretary of war, and, as mentioned, Senator Blount, whose charges were dismissed. President Trump is the only person to have been impeached twice.

In 11 out of the 21 impeachments, the official left office either through resignation or conviction, but none of them were presidents. Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump — in his first impeachment — were all acquitted. President Richard Nixon resigned before the House concluded its impeachment proceedings and so is not counted.

Of the judges, 13 were from district courts, one was from the US Commerce Court, and one was an associate justice of the Supreme Court. The charges range from intoxication on the bench to waging war against the US government — for which West Hughes Humphreys, a district judge from Tennessee, lost his office after supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Eight of the 21 cases took place in the past 35 years, indicating that impeachment continues to be an active tool of US government.

Prior to this year, the House impeached 20 government officials.

Name Position Impeachment date Charges Result in the Senate
William Blount US Senator from Tennessee July 7, 1797 Conspiring to attack Spain-held Florida and Louisiana to hand over to the British. Dismissed: He was already an expelled senator and the Senate did not
consider him an impeachable officer.
John Pickering Judge, US district court, District of New Hampshire March 2, 1803 Misconduct and intoxication while on the bench Guilty and disqualified from future office
Samuel Chase Associate Justice, US Supreme Court March 12, 1804 Behaving "in an arbitrary, oppressive, and unjust way by announcing his legal interpretation on the law of treason before defense counsel had been heard" Acquitted
James H. Peck Judge, US district court, Western district of Tennessee April 24, 1830 Abuse of the contempt power Acquitted
West H. Humphreys Judge, US district court, Western district of Tennessee May 6, 1862 Accepting office under the Confederacy and disloyalty Guilty and disqualified from future office
Andrew Johnson President February 24, 1868 Violating the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of War Edwin
Stanton from office
Acquitted
Mark H. Delahay Judge, US district court, Kansas February 28, 1873 Intoxication on the bench Resigned
William W. Belknap Secretary of War March 2, 1876 Accepting payments in exchange for
making official appointments
Acquitted
Charles Swayne Judge, US district court, Northern district of Florida December 13, 1904 Abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office Acquitted
Robert W. Archbald Associate judge, US Commerce Court July 11, 1912 Misconduct and improper appointment of a juror Guilty and disqualified from future office
George W. English Judge, US district court, Eastern district of Illinois April 1, 1926 Abuse of power Resigned
Harold Louderback Judge, US district court, Northern district of California February 24, 1933 Misconduct in administering bankruptcy cases Acquitted
Halsted L. Ritter Judge, US district court, Southern district of Florida March 2, 1936 Bringing the judiciary into disrepute, tax evasion, practicing law while a judge and showing favoritism in bankruptcy cases Guilty and disqualified from future office
Harry E. Claiborne Judge, US district court of Nevada July 22, 1986 Income tax evasion and remaining on the bench following criminal
conviction
Guilty and disqualified from future office
Alcee L. Hastings Judge, US district court, Southern district of Florida August 3, 1988 Perjury and conspiring to solicit a bribe Guilty and disqualified from future office
Walter L. Nixon Judge, US district court, Southern district of Mississippi May 10, 1989 Perjury before a federal grand jury Guilty and disqualified from future office
William J. Clinton President December 19, 1998 Lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstruction of justice Acquitted
Samuel B. Kent Judge, US district court for the Southern district of Texas June 19, 2009 Sexual assault, obstructing and impeding an official proceeding, and
making false and misleading statements
Resigned
G. Thomas Porteous, Jr. Judge, US district court, Eastern district of Louisiana March 11, 2010 Accepting bribes and making false statements under penalty of perjury Guilty and disqualified from future office
Donald J. Trump President December 18, 2019 Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress Acquitted
List of individuals impeached
Constitution of the United States

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