Removal of a US president
Sir, – Some points need clarification in Suzanne Lynch’s article “Talk of impeachment in the air but process would not be simple” (May 18th). The sub-headline, not written by your reporter, is “Ousting of Trump can only begin with support of cabinet and vice-president”; this is not accurate in discussing impeachment. It refers instead to a provision of the US constitution’s 25th amendment (ratified in 1967) for dealing with a presidential disability. If a president becomes ill or injured and cannot “discharge the powers and duties” of the office, the vice-president and a majority of the cabinet are given authority under this amendment to take certain steps to remove that person from office. But this is not an aspect of the impeachment process.
As Suzanne Lynch correctly states, impeachment involves the president being charged with “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours” by the House of Representatives. The president would then face trial before the Senate. The vice-president and the cabinet do not have a role in the impeachment process.
The other president to be impeached by the House of Representatives, besides Bill Clinton, was Andrew Johnson (in 1868) and not Andrew Jackson, as stated in the article.
While Republicans did control Congress during proceedings against Johnson and Clinton (both Democrats), the uncompleted effort to impeach Richard Nixon (a Republican) was initiated in a Congress controlled by the Democrats. – Yours, etc,