Impeachment proceedings in the United States are rare. Presidential impeachments are even rarer. Since 1789, the House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings only 62 times, and just 19 of these have led to full impeachments. Eight federal judges have been convicted and removed from office by the Senate, but thus far no president has met the same ignominious fate.
Andrew Johnson was the first president to have impeachment proceedings initiated against him in 1868 for violating the since-repealed and little-known Tenure Office Act. Bill Clinton’s impeachment charges in 1998 followed a wide-ranging investigation by Independent Counsel Ken Starr encompassing a variety of alleged wrongdoings, including Clinton’s actions while defendant in a 1994 sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones. Richard Nixon’s presidency is also inextricably linked to impeachment, although Nixon resigned from office before the House of Representatives could vote on articles of impeachment.
One of these rare impeachment proceedings has been brought against the 45th president of the United States. For now, Donald Trump’s fate remains unknown as subpoenas are issued and testimony given. To help researchers understand these always fascinating historical events, HeinOnline now offers a new collection, U.S. Presidential Impeachment Library.
About the U.S. Presidential Impeachment Library
Organized around the four affected presidents, this collection brings together a variety of documents both contemporaneous and asynchronous to each president’s impeachment, presenting both a snapshot of the political climate as each played out and the long view history has taken of past proceedings. Congressional Research Service reports round out a general discussion of presidential impeachment, and a curated list of scholarly articles, external links, and a bibliography provide avenues for further research on this topic. We are especially pleased to include the ever-growing resource Whistleblower Complaint on Ukraine, compiled by Kelly Smith at UC San Diego, which brings together official documents related to the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. This library will continue to grow as we add new material, particularly as it becomes available for the current investigation into Donald Trump. Research not just the past but our fascinating present with HeinOnline.
Users can locate this new collection two different ways. First, it can be found on the HeinOnline welcome page, listed alphabetically. Alternatively, users can find this as a subcollection within the U.S. Presidential Library. Simply click the Impeachment tab.
From the U.S. Presidential Impeachment Library homepage, users then have the option to browse by President, search Scholarly Articles, browse the Bibliography, view Other Related Works, and continue researching with our External Links.
Searching the Whistleblower Documents
Upon entering the Donald Trump portion of the U.S. Presidential Impeachment Library, users can find the Whistleblower Complaint on Ukraine. Either browse the documents or use the conveniently located search bar to research specific words or phrases.
The whistleblower complaint that is the center of the impeachment inquiry also alleged that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, led a cover-up of the Ukraine scandal. Enter “Rudy Giuliani” into the search bar provided for the whistleblower documents. This will bring up 15 results. To see any time Rudy Giuliani’s name was mentioned, simply click All Matching Text Pages.
Alternatively, while browsing through these documents, users can also use the magnifying glass as a search tool. For example, click on Trump Telephone Conversation with Zelensky (Declassified and Released 9/24/19). Next, click the magnifying glass icon found above the document. Let’s say we want to see when Joe Biden’s name (or his son’s) was mentioned. Simply enter “Biden” into the search box and click This Section.
Results show one page where Biden’s name is mentioned in this document. Click on Turn to page 4 view the result.
We would like to thank Kelly Smith of UC San Diego, who compiled the Whistleblower documents. She hosts the documents on her LibGuide and granted us permission to use her research for our newest collection. We are very grateful for her contribution! View Smith’s LibGuide below.
To learn more about how to research impeachment using HeinOnline, check out this recent blog post.
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