Donald Trump is the first former president in history to face a criminal indictment. But throughout American history, several former presidents have found themselves entangled in legal matters, whether during or after their terms in office. These encounters with justice provide fascinating insights into the complexities of the American legal system and the accountability of those who have held the nation’s highest office.
- Ulysses S. Grant: Following his presidency, Ulysses S. Grant faced financial difficulties and became involved in a financial scandal known as the “Whiskey Ring.” While not personally implicated, some of Grant’s close associates were involved in corrupt practices. Grant cooperated fully with investigations, and although the scandal tarnished his reputation, he was never charged with any wrongdoing.
- Richard Nixon: Perhaps the most well-known case involving a former US president is that of Richard Nixon. Facing impeachment over the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned from office in 1974. Subsequently, he was issued a pardon by President Gerald Ford, which prevented any criminal charges from being filed against him related to the Watergate affair.
- Bill Clinton: During his presidency, Bill Clinton faced impeachment proceedings stemming from a perjury scandal related to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and completed his term. After leaving office, he faced legal battles and was temporarily suspended from practicing law in Arkansas for making false statements under oath. However, he ultimately regained his law license.
- George W. Bush: While George W. Bush did not face legal consequences during or after his presidency, there were calls for his administration to be held accountable for controversial policies such as the Iraq War and the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. However, no criminal charges were filed against Bush or his administration members.
- Barack Obama: Barack Obama’s tenure did not involve any significant legal controversies. However, some critics accused his administration of executive overreach and violating constitutional limits. These matters were subject to political and legal debates, but no criminal charges were brought against Obama or his administration.
Trump has survived numerous scandals, before, during and since his presidency. His approval in polls has generally stayed at near 40%, dipping about 5 points after the Jan. 6 insurrection set off by his attempts to overturn the presidential election, noted the LA Times.
As The Times’ David Lauter wrote last week, Trump has been in the public eye since at least the 1980s, and most people have a fixed opinion of him.
HI, Haiti Hebdo