One of the most misunderstood relationships between Congress and the president is the impeachment process. Two presidents have been impeached, none removed from office. One, Richard Nixon, was ousted with the threat of impeachment and removal. Impeachment is simply a political process to determine if the president violated Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution: by committing “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Under the Constitution the House conducts an investigation to determine presidential wrongdoing. Here is a video clip of the House Judiciary Committee when it voted to recommend Nixon’s impeachment in 1974. Before the full House could vote on impeachment, President Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974.
1. Why did the framers assign the power of impeachment to the House and the power of removal to the Senate?
2. Why do you think Democrats on the committee wanted to have Republicans’ support for impeachment? Why or why not?
3. Do you think it was wise for Nixon to resign? Why or why not?