The New York Times

Impeachment, the First Time Around

He had been a polarizing president, cherished as well as deplored for his excitability, his stubbornness, his gift for demagoguery. A hair-trigger sensitivity to slights made him self-pitying and prone to a corrosive paranoia. He railed against establishment elites and gave succor to white supremacists. He rejected congressional oversight and barreled forward, declaring that he could hire and fire whomever he wanted, even as his impetuous dismissals drew complaints that he was obstructing justice.

By February 1868, President Andrew Johnson had forced the moment to a crisis. As Brenda Wineapple recounts in her new book, “The Impeachers,” Johnson had been goading legislators with his

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