Impeachment Explained: how the process works

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Impeachment Explained: how the process works

A chart showing the impeachment process.

A chart showing the impeachment process.

Courtesy of needtoimpeach.com

A chart showing the impeachment process.

Courtesy of needtoimpeach.com

Courtesy of needtoimpeach.com

A chart showing the impeachment process.

Gabi Dufrenne, Reporter

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Impeachment is a very prevalent topic in today’s media, however, this raises questions as to what is the impeachment process, and what are the possible outcomes. There have only been two times that the United States government has impeached a president, President Clinton, and Johnson. With the 2020 elections quickly coming up, it is important to know what is going on in the government and how we can possibly improve in the next election.

The definition of impeachment is “the action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something”, more specifically in the United States it’s defined as “a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office”, many misconceptions of impeachment are that it removes the president from office, in fact that is what Taylorsville High senior, Kevin Mendez answered with when asked what impeachment was.

The House of Representatives is in charge, if they decide to start the impeachment process, of building a case against the president. Impeachment can lead to the removal of the president from office, but does not necessarily mean that it will be the result of the process. The constitution gives the House the sole power to impeach an individual, and the senate the sole court for the impeachment trials according to House.gov

“The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

— U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 4

This shows the possible offenses it would take for the house to start the process. To begin the process, the House must first announce an impeachment inquiry, which is the announcement that they are opening an official investigation. After the announcement, a group of the house gets assigned to specifically investigate the president. This group will either be the House Judiciary Committee or the House Select Committee. The House Judiciary Committee is a “standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is charged with overseeing the administration of justice within the federal courts, administrative agencies and Federal law enforcement entities” according to Wikipedia. On the other hand, the House Select Committee is a “committee established by the Senate for a limited time period to perform a particular study or investigation. These committees might be given or denied authority to report legislation to the Senate” according to senate.gov

The committee is assigned specifically to investigate the president, which COULD lead to articles of impeachment being drafted. According to uslegal.com, “[t]he articles of impeachment state the charges against the official and the reasons why the official should be removed from office”.  If the articles are drafted, then each article drafted will be debated on the House floor. Then if the simple majority votes on any article of impeachment, then the President (or any official under investigation) has been impeached. Which, once again, impeachment doesn’t necessarily mean the official is removed from office.

After the house has officially impeached the President has been impeached, the Senate holds a trial to debate the articles that the House voted to approve. The Senate ultimately decides whether to convict or dismiss the charges placed upon the official in question. The President can be removed from office, if two-thirds of the Senate vote to convict them.

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