President stand trial for the accusation in the

President William J. Clinton sealed his fate when he declared under oath, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” (“Quote of the Day”).   Former President Clinton was impeached shortly after the statement was released due to Article Two, Section Four, which states, “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” (Mount).  The article gives the House of Representatives the power to remove officials, who commit high crimes and misdemeanors such as Clinton.  (“Article II Section 4”)  Impeachment originated from Great Britain, which granted parliament a way to hold the king’s ministers accountable for their public actions, and while the founding fathers were in the process of writing the United States Constitution, the founders valued impeachment, thus adding the article directly into the U.S. Constitution, because they feared that without impeachment the executive power would abuse its resources.  (“Impeachment”)  The framers constructed the constitution in such a way that the House of Representatives would vote to impeach the government official, and the official in question would stand trial for the accusation in the Senate.  Then, for the accused official to be removed from office, they must be convicted by two-thirds of the Senate.  (Sunstein 40-46, “Article II Section 4”)  Article Two, Section Four of the United States Constitution upholds the president and all civil offices of the United States to impeachment if the officials commit high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery, or treason.             For the first several decades of the Republic of the United States, the House of Representatives took no interest in impeaching the president, but when the Reconstruction Era arose, tension between the House of Representatives and the president grew to an ultimate high.  President Andrew Johnson was left with big shoes to fill after the assassination of President Lincoln, and while Lincoln held his own in the White House, Johnson took the back burner during his presidency.  When Johnson did stand up to the House of Representatives, they passed the Tenure of Office Act, which stated that a president could not dismiss appointed officials without Congress’s approval.  Thus, when President Johnson fired Edwin Stanton, U.S. Secretary of War, from his cabinet, the Tenure of Office Act was breached.  Soon after, Johnson was brought to trial and became the first president to be impeached by the House of Representatives under Article Two, Section Four, but the Senate acquitted him of the charges.  (Cohen 24, “The Impeachment of Andrew”) Decades passed and so did the presidents, but in 1999, William Clinton was impeached for charges of high crimes and misdemeanors.  (Fineman et al. 28, “List of Individuals”)  In the 1990s, Clinton was being sued for sexual harassment by Paula Jones, and she pleaded with Monica Lewinsky to testify about having an affair with Clinton.  In Jones’ case, Clinton, in his deposition, denied under oath any involvement with Lewinsky.  This caught Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s attention, who had been previously investigating Clinton.  Starr assembled a grand jury and granted Lewinsky an immunity for her testimony, and while Clinton gave evasive answers, he admitted the affair to the public on the same night of the trial.  The House of Representatives soon impeached Clinton for lying under oath, high crimes and misdemeanors, but the Senate acquitted the charges.  (Eilperin, “The Impeachment”)             In addition to high crimes and misdemeanors, Article Two, Section Four also protects citizens from government officials who commit bribery.  (“Impeachment”)  On March 2, 1876, William Belknap, U.S. Secretary of War, was impeached on charges of accepting payments in exchange for making official appointments.  After the trial was conducted, the Senate acquitted Belknap of his crimes.  (“List of Individuals”)  Not only was Belknap impeached for bribery but also U.S. District Court Judge, G. Thomas Porteous, Jr.  On January 12, 2009, the House of Representatives voted to investigate Porteous due to allegations of judicial misconduct stemming from four articles such as presiding over a trial in which the lawyers involved had bribed him, used a false name to escape creditors, and had given a misleading testimony in front of the Senate.  (“Thomas”)  The Senate found Porteous guilty under Article Two, Section Four, removed him from office, and disqualified him from holding future office.  (“List of Individuals”)        Bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors are not the only crimes punishable by impeachment but also treason.  Treason can be described as “the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government” (“Treason”).  For over 200 years, only two government officials have been impeached for treason.  In 1797, William Blout became the first official to become impeached by the House of Representatives for treason.  Blout, U.S. Senator from Tennessee, was accused of conspiring to assist in Great Britain’s attempt to seize Spanish territory.  Once on trial, the Senate dismissed the charges due to expelling him from the Senate before trial.  (“List of Individuals”)  Eighty-three years later, West H. Humphreys was impeached for waging war against the U.S. Government – treason.  When Tennessee seceded from the Union, Humphreys supported his state, which led to him being tried on seven articles of impeachment, which included the following: “publicly called for secession, given aid for the armed rebellion, conspired with Jefferson Davis, severed as a judge for the Confederacy and, acting in that capacity, ruled for the confiscation of the property of Military Governor Andrew Johnson and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Catron” (“West”).  The Senate found Humphreys guilty of high treason for which he was removed from office and disqualified from future office.  (“List of Individuals”)            Article Two, Section Four has protected United States citizens from corrupt government officials for over two hundred years whether it be from high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery, or treason.  With this article in place, presidents answer for their crimes whether it be lying under oath or breaching a law.  Government officials such as the Secretary of War or a judge pay the price of being bribed, and treason committed by civil offices results in punishment, which shows no one is above the law.  Thus, Article Two, Section Four upholds any and all government officials to impeachment for committing high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery, or even treason.     


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