Presidential Impeachment: A Contemporary Analysis

66 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2018 Last revised: 13 Jan 2020

See all articles by Lawrence J. Trautman

Lawrence J. Trautman

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business; Texas A&M University School of Law (By Courtesy)

Date Written: November 12, 2018


Talk about impeaching President Donald Trump increases as the Democratic Party reclaims control of the House of representatives following the 2018 mid-term elections. The very next day Americans awake to learn of these developments and just hours later that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been fired, “replacing him with a loyalist who has echoed the president’s complaints about the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and will now take charge of the inquiry.”

As a Constitutional crisis looms large over the Trump Presidency, now is a good time to examine the history and role of impeachment in our constitutional system, how it works, and likely implication given what is now known about the Trump presidency. This Article proceeds in nine parts. First, is an examination of the Constitutional provision for impeachment. Second, is a look at the history of U.S. presidential impeachment proceedings in general. Third, a discussion about the impeachment proceedings of President Andrew Johnson is presented. Fourth, the unique situation in more recent history of Vice President Spiro Agnew is discussed. Fifth, President Richard Nixon and the impact of Watergate is offered. Sixth, the impact of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment is examined. Seventh, is a look at the mechanics of impeachment in a contemporary setting. Eighth, given facts now known, I look at the potential for President Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal, including arguments for nine currently identifiable impeachable offenses. And last, I conclude. I believe this Article comes at an important crossroads for the American democracy. The issues addressed here are timely and of profound importance to the United States, global community, and to the future of civilization. Seldom can these claims be made of a law review article.

Keywords: Bribery, Bill Clinton, Constitutional Law, Emoluments, Equal Protection, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Andrew Johnson, Mueller Investigation, Richard Nixon, Obstruction of Justice, Pardon Power, Presidential Impeachment, Removal, Tom Steyer, Treason,, Donald Trump, Watergate

JEL Classification: K10, K39, K40, K41, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Trautman, Lawrence J., Presidential Impeachment: A Contemporary Analysis (November 12, 2018). University of Dayton Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Lawrence J. Trautman (Contact Author)

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business ( email )

Prairie View, TX
United States

Texas A&M University School of Law (By Courtesy) ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States

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