Bipartisan-ness of United States presidential impeachment verdicts

Yesterday the United States Senate voted on whether to convict former President Donald Trump of the impeachment charge brought against him by the House.

I have heard two claims being made about this verdict:

  • This is the “most bipartisan” impeachment in US history
  • This impeachment “brought the most guilty votes” in US history

There have been four impeachment verdicts against United States Presidents by the United States Senate. Here’s the data:

  • Andrew Johnson, 1868
    • Verdict: not guilty on all counts
    • 54 Senators
      • 45 Republican
      • 9 Democratic
    • Vote: 35 guilty, 19 not guilty
      • Guilty: 35 Republican
      • Not guilty: 10 Republican, 9 Democratic
  • Bill Clinton, 1999
    • Verdict: not guilty on all counts
    • 100 Senators
      • 55 Republican
      • 45 Democratic
    • On the “perjury” count
      • 45 guilty, 55 not guilty
        • Guilty: 45 Republican
        • Not guilty: 45 Democratic, 10 Republican
    • On the “obstruction of justice” count
      • 50 guilty, 50 not guilty
        • Guilty: 50 Republican
        • Not guilty: 45 Democratic, 5 Republican
  • Donald Trump, 2020
    • Verdict: not guilty on all counts
    • 100 Senators
      • 53 Republican
      • 45 Democratic
      • 2 Independent
    • On the “abuse of power” count
      • 48 guilty, 52 not guilty
        • Guilty: 45 Democratic, 1 Republican, 2 Independent
        • Not guilty: 52 Republican
    • On the “obstruction of justice” count
      • 47 guilty, 53 not guilty
        • Guilty: 45 Democratic, 2 Independent
        • Not guilty: 53 Republican
  • Donald Trump, 2021
    • Verdict: not guilty (on the sole count)
    • 100 Senators
      • 50 Democratic
      • 50 Republican
    • 57 guilty, 43 not guilty
      • Guilty: 50 Democratic, 7 Republican
      • Not guilty: 43 Republican

The “most bipartisan” claim is mostly true though it ignores the role of the two Independent Senators in Donald Trump’s 2020 impeachment verdict.

The “most guilty votes” claim is misleading. Yes, it is technically true that Donald Trump 2021’s 57 guilty votes is more by count than Andrew Johson 1868’s 35 guilty votes – but as a percentage Andrew Johnson’s 65% guilty is higher than Donald Trump 2021’s 57% guilty.

So Andrew Johnson still has the honor of being the President who came closest to being convicted by the Senate.