• President Donald Trump is now embroiled in a broad impeachment inquiry that could conceivably end his presidency.
  • It set the stage for a showdown between the president and Democrats who accused him of abusing his power after Trump tried getting Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, and his son Hunter Biden.
  • But Trump’s odds of fending off impeachment are strong, given there’s been no mass defection of congressional Republicans who have voiced support for the Democrat-led proceedings in the House.
  • Any trial in the Senate would require at least 20 Republicans to turn on Trump, and join 45 Democrats and two independents to reach the two-thirds majority that’s necessary to convict and expel him from office.
  • Trump also has one key historical detail working in his favor: No American president has ever been removed from office after being impeached.
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President Donald Trump is now embroiled in a broad impeachment inquiry that could conceivably end his presidency. It sets the stage for a showdown between the president and Democrats who accused him of abusing his power after Trump tried getting Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, and his son Hunter Biden. He sought to weaken his political rival ahead of the 2020 election.

But Trump’s odds of fending off impeachment are strong, given there’s been no mass defection of congressional Republicans who have voiced support for the Democrat-led proceedings in the House. Most Republicans have fallen in line to defend Trump, save for some tepid criticism from a few GOP senators like Mitt Romney.

Read more: A majority of the House now supports some form of impeachment inquiry, reaching the magic number that could be decisive in impeaching Trump

Any trial in the Senate would require at least 20 Republicans to turn on Trump, and join 45 Democrats and two independents to reach the two-thirds majority that’s necessary to convict and expel him from office.

But Trump also has one key historical detail working in his favor: No American president has ever been removed from office after being impeached.

2 US Presidents have been impeached, but the Senate didn’t convict them.

The closest any president ever came to being removed from office was over 150 years ago. President Andrew Johnson was the first US president to confront impeachment after illegally dismissing his Secretary of War Edward Stanton.

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The House moved to impeach him in February 1868 and it moved to the Senate for the trial. The Senate tried Johnson but after 11 weeks, the high chamber fell short by a single vote to remove him from office.

Andrew Johnson

Foto: Andrew JohnsonsourceLibrary of Congress

Over a century passed when the constitutional mechanism to oust presidents was nearly tested again. Richard Nixon faced all-but-certain impeachment after bugging the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate scandal, but he resigned before the floor vote in the House took place in August 1974.

Then President Bill Clinton dealt with impeachment proceedings in 1998 after denying under oath he didn’t have an affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern at the time.

Read more: 71 current members of Congress were there for the Clinton impeachment inquiry. Here’s where they stand on impeaching Trump.

The Republican-led House impeached Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, moving the proceedings to the Senate. It voted in February 1999 among party lines to acquit him on both, and no Democratic senators voted to convict him.

clinton impeachment

Foto: President Clinton reacts to being impeached by the House of Representatives outside of the oval office in the White House Rose Garden.source(Photo credit should read GEORGE BRIDGES/AFP/Getty Images)

Now Trump is the fourth US president to face formal impeachment proceedings. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry, capitalizing on growing outrage among Democrats and the public over Trump’s interactions with Ukraine.

A new Insider poll found that nearly half of respondents backed the decision to launch an impeachment inquiry in the House. And additional polls from Morning Consult and YouGov are showing voters starting to swing in favor of impeaching Trump amid reports that he tried pressuring Ukraine into probing a leading 2020 political rival.

However, 91% of Republican voters in a recent Gallup poll still supported Trump, a key hurdle for Democrats hoping to draw support from GOP lawmakers to cast impeachment in a bipartisan light. And in any Senate trial against Trump, Republican Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell would call the shots – and one of the president’s reliable defenders would be in charge of drafting rules and procedures governing it.