Impeachment Then and Now: What Three Presidential Sites Can Teach Us

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tags: presidential history, impeachment, presidential sites

The first president to be impeached stood in the way of Reconstruction, fired a Cabinet member without the then-required Senate approval and brought “disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach” on Congress. The second who faced impeachment covered up the wiretapping and break-in at the opposing party’s headquarters. The third disgraced president had an affair with a White House intern, and then lied about it.

We visited the presidential museums, libraries and sites dedicated to the three former presidents who faced impeachment — Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. We talked to visitors about the impeachment facing President Trump, and whether those earlier episodes have something to say about the proceedings unfolding in Washington.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The big banner adorning the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum advertises an innocuous pop-culture exhibit — “THE ’90s ARE BACK!” — though it seemed to do double-duty, in recent days, as a commentary on the familiar drama unfolding in Washington.

The 1998 impeachment of Mr. Clinton, and his subsequent acquittal by the Senate, is addressed in the second-floor permanent exhibit dedicated to Mr. Clinton’s eight years in office, though the story is told from a decidedly pro-Clinton perspective.

Most of the discussion of impeachment is confined to one of about a dozen information-stuffed alcoves that line a grand hall on the second floor of the long, light-filled contemporary building on the banks of the Arkansas River. Impeachment is dissected in the alcove titled, “The Fight for Power.”

Read entire article at NY Times

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