"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."
~Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution
~Impeachment Trial of President Andrew Johnson
Presidential Impeachment is a two stage Constitutional process. The full power of Impeachment resides within Congress. The House of Representatives starts the Impeachment process by publicly investigating the charges and holding hearings. If the House of Representatives votes against Impeachment the process is over and the President is not Impeached. If the vote is for Impeachment of the President, the process moves forward with the drawing up of the Articles of Impeachment (The official criminal charges for removal from office). The President has now been officially Impeached per the United States Constitution. Once the Impeachment process is final, trials are then held in the U.S. Senate to convict or acquit the President of the Articles of Impeachment drawn against him.
In 1867 President Andrew Johnson became the first President in American History to be Impeached. President Bill Clinton is the second and only other President in American History to be impeached. Bill Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998. In both Presidential impeachments the Articles of impeachment were
drawn and a criminal trial in the U.S. Senate proceeded. However, both Johnson and Clinton were acquitted of the charges and were not removed from office. Johnson was spared removal of the high office by only one vote.
In 1974 the House of Representatives were in talks about the impeachment of Richard M. Nixon in connection to the Watergate scandal and decided to bring it to a vote on three Articles of impeachment: Obstruction of justice, Misuse of powers and violation of his oath of office, and failure to comply with house subpoenas. On August 9, Richard Nixon resigned as President before the vote of impeachment could be cast on the House floor. Had Nixon not resigned, it is believed the vote would have gone against him and a criminal trial in the Senate would have followed. Richard Nixon is the only President in American History to resign as a sitting President.
AMERICAN PRESIDENTS OATH OF OFFICE
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
~United States Constitution, Article II, Section I, Clause 8