Congress impeached and tried my ancestor after he left office. Trump could be next.

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Congress impeached and tried my ancestor after he left office. Trump could be next.

I can already hear the debate over President Donald Trump’s (second) impeachment. Can Congress even impeach someone who is no longer in office? Wha

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I can already hear the debate over President Donald Trump’s (second) impeachment. Can Congress even impeach someone who is no longer in office? What’s the point of voting to impeach and try a man who is headed out the door in a few days’ time? 

The answer to the first question is an emphatic yes. I do have some expertise here; it’s in my last name. 

I was in seventh grade when my class was silently reading a section of Reconstruction-era American history. I came across the name William Worth Belknap, a former United States secretary of War impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 2, 1876. The paragraph recounted how Belknap had tearfully resigned his cabinet position to President Ulysses S. Grant just two hours prior to his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives. I had never heard of the man, but I was mortified. There are few things that aren’t embarrassing to a 12-year-old.

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