While Donald Trump
was on his foreign trip last week, the support among voters for having Congress initiate an impeachment against the president rose from 38 to 43 percent, as a recent poll by Politico and Morning Consult
shows. Although not a single president in the history of the United States has ever been forced out of office due to impeachment, more and more people think that this could possibly happen during the course of Trump’s first term.
As our chart shows, an impeachment is a lengthy process and requires a simple majority from the House Judiciary Committee, the House of Representatives and a two-thirds majority of the Senate. While each step is quite explicitly described by the constitution, the possible indictments are worded rather vaguely. Consequently, most attempts to impeach the president are rejected by the House Judiciary Committee.
There were only two cases in which it went all the way to the senate vote. But the cases of Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998-99 both fell short of the two-thirds majority of the Senators. The only actual withdrawal from office came from President Richard Nixon in 1974 after he deflected a potential impeachment by resigning. In his case, the loss of trust from his own party essentially left him with no other choice.