How to Impeach a President
After recent events regarding the elections of the Unites States, the subject of impeachment has reached public opinion increasingly. People are wondering not only what impeachment is, but how they can impeach a president.
Impeachment is the act of prosecuting a member of the government or civil officer, thus forcing the member to quit his/her position. Impeachment can only be undergone if there is clear evidence that the person has committed a crime in the past. You may have heard about the concept of impeachment due to the Watergate and Monica Lewinsky scandals, what is impeachment all about? Do you want to know how to impeach a president? Keep on reading and find out.
Before we give you all the information on how to impeach a president, let's put things into context. Impeachment is an act contemplated by the United States of America's Constitution, more specifically, in Section 4 article II, which states that any civil Officers in the US, including the President and Vice President; can be removed from their position if they have been convicted for: "Treason, Bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors". More specifically, a president can be impeached if he or she has done any of the three:
- If the president has surpassed his/her power as the head of the State office.
- If the president has an attitude or behavior that is in no way compatible with his or her functions.
- Using his/her position as president of the United States for personal benefit and improper uses.
Therefore, the first step to impeach a president is to identify an action that involves any of the three actions above, being able to gather evidence to sustain the accusation.
So, who can impeach a President? Once there is evidence that can suggest an impeachment. it has to be presented by a member of the House of Representatives. This can be done due to the initiative of one sole member by presenting a full list of charges in front of the House, always under oath and referral of a committee.
The committee from the House of Representatives, which is decided depending on the type of impeachment, will analyse the evidence and determine if there are grounds to investigate the allegations presented.
Once the investigation is undergone and the committee has decided to carry the impeachment, a vote is held and, if won with simple majority of the House of Representatives (218 votes minimum) , an article for the President's impeachment will be approved officially.
However, if the House of Representatives has a simple majority of members belonging to the President's party, the most likely outcome is that they will vote against impeachment of their own president.
The House will then notify the Senate of their actions so that this institution can judge the impeachment. From this point on, the house will act as managers during the trial and having the duty of presenting the case.
The impeached President has the right to a private attorney and defense and, once the trial is held in front of the Senate and the witnesses and cross-examinations have been performed, the Senate is allowed to deliberate in private.
The Senate will then vote, needing 2/3 of this chamber in favor of impeachment (67 votes minimum) in order to impeach a president. The President is then convicted or acquitted depending on the vote's results.
If the president is convicted for impeachment, he/she is removed from office and will also be forbidden from presenting any future candidacies. The president can also face criminal prosecution if need be.
Now you know how to impeach a President, let's take a look at the actual facts that can tell us more about the probabilities of a President being impeached:
Have any Presidents been impeached?
There have been two ex-presidents in the History of the United States of America who have been impeached. In 1868, president Andrew Johnson was impeached for violation of the Tenure of Office Act; and Bill Clinton was also impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice due to the Lewinsky case. However none of the U.S presidents were finally convicted, as both cases were acquitted.
The most famous case of impeachment of a President is probably the Watergate scandal, when Richard Nixon was impeached. In this case, the president resigned before the House of Representatives could reach a decision.
What are the real probabilities of an Impeachment?
Due to Donald Trump's victory, many people are wondering whether it's a real possibility for this president to be impeached.
There are several factors that can be assessed when deducing if it's viable to impeach a President. The first is the public perception of a President. If the President is generally accepted by public opinion, it is very difficult for a member of the House to file a petition for impeachment.
On the other hand, until 2018, the House of Representatives and the Congress will both have a majority of Republican representatives, making it very unlikely for a majority vote in favor of Trump's impeachment. It will not be until the midterm elections, when there is a chance of the Democrat Party to have majority once again.
However, several experts say that impeachment is still a very drastic move. Thus, the accusations should be pretty severe in order for the impeachment to prosper.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Impeach a President, we recommend you visit our University degrees category.