USA TODAY College – Jan. 24, 2017
On Friday morning, as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, a website to impeach him went live: ImpeachTrumpNow.
The site is run by two civil rights groups — Free Speech for People, a non-partisan and non-profit organization, and RootsAction, an online interactive. Since its launch, the petition has received more than 100,000 signatures.
Still, keep in mind: We have a Republican Congress, so the petition isn’t likely to go anywhere.
“Sign here to impeach Donald Trump now,” the homepage of the site says. “From the moment he assumed the office, President Donald Trump has been in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. The President is not above the law. We will not allow President Trump to profit from the presidency at the expense of our democracy.”
“We are calling upon Congress to pass a resolution calling for the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States,” said Free Speech for People and RootsAction on the website.
The “Impeach Trump Now” campaign describes what the nation is witnessing with Trump to be worse than Nixon and the Watergate scandal, in which former President Richard Nixon was found tampering with the election. (Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.) They claim that President Trump’s personal and business holdings in the United States and abroad are unprecedented conflicts of interest and therefore are grounds for impeachment.
Out of 45 presidents of the United States, only two have ever been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States, was formally impeached by the House of Representatives on Feb. 24, 1868. With a vote of 126 to 47, Johnson was charged with violation of the Tenure of Office Act. Ultimately, the Senate voted to acquit him by a margin of 35 guilty to 19 not guilty, one vote short of the necessary two-thirds needed for conviction.
Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, was charged with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. On Dec. 19, 1998 the House of Representatives impeached Clinton, over one hundred years since the last impeachment of a President the second time in history this ever occurred.
The trial began in Jan. of 1999 and resulted in Clinton being acquitted on both articles of impeachment. From this trial, came the infamous Clinton quote, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Whether or not this campaign will be successful in making President Trump the third President of the United States to be impeached is unclear.
The campaign urges citizens to take action. “Congress has the responsibility and authority to impeach the President when, as here, he has violated the Constitution and federal law. But it is up to every American – every one – to ensure that Members of Congress do their job,” said the campaign.
The campaign says they will deliver millions of signatures to Congress to convince members to introduce articles of impeachment.
But this is highly unlikely because, as legal scholar Jonathan Turley has noted, impeachment is as much about politics as about crimes and legalities, if not more. Because of that, as the New Republic reported, the best hope the Trump impeachment campaign has is the Democrats winning control of both the House and Senate after the 2018 midterm elections — “a near impossibility.”