Impeaching President Trump Would Cost Millions — Will a Democrat-Led House Take Action?

Costs have risen since Bill Clinton's impeachment 20 years ago.
  • According to a CNN exit poll, 40 percent of 2018 midterm voters want to see President Donald Trump impeached. Now that Democrats hold the House, that outcome is a possibility.
  • Impeachment work on President Bill Clinton’s case in 1998 cost $1.2 million.
  • With inflation, the cost of presidential impeachment today could be close to $2 million or more.

The midterm elections have concluded and Democrats have won control of the House of Representatives. With that swing comes much more power and responsibility — including investigating and impeaching the president. Four out of 10 voters in a CNN exit poll said they wanted to see Trump impeached, including more than three in four self-identifying Democrats. With the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation still pending and the newfound subpoena power of a Democratic-held house committees potentially unearthing more scandals, impeachment is certainly more possible than it was a week ago.

In September 2018, Trump tweeted that impeaching him would cause the country to collapse:

It might not cause the country to literally collapse, but an impeachment would cost the U.S. millions.

The Cost of a Presidential Impeachment

In 1999, The New York Times reported that five months of impeachment work on former President Bill Clinton’s case cost $1.2 million, according to records from the House Judiciary Committee. Adjusted for the cost of inflation, $1.2 million in 1999 would be equal to about $1.8 million in 2018 dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s consumer price index inflation calculator.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the individual legal costs connected to the Clinton case detailed by the Times:

  • Payments to Chief Republican Investigator David Schippers: as much as $20,000 per month
  • Payments to Democratic counsel Abbe Lowell: as much as $18,000 per month

See: From Assistant to Senior Adviser, Here’s How Much Trump’s Staff Makes

In 2018 dollars, those costs would be:

  • Chief investigator’s monthly salary: $30,179.05
  • Head counsel to represent the president: $27,161.15

Check Out: The 5 Highest- and Lowest-Paying Jobs in Government

Theoretically, in the exact same circumstances today — that is, five months of congressional proceedings — it would cost around $100,000 more to pay the lead investigator and counsel in a presidential impeachment case than it did in 1999, when Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial concluded. Add to that an inflated cost of paying for the work of entire legal teams on both sides, and you have a considerable increase over 1999’s $1.2 million in impeachment costs.

Also See: The Cost of the Mueller Investigation — See Who Actually Made Money on It

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Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article.