The Facts on Impeachment

The Facts on Impeachment

The topic of impeachment has become commonplace in the media. Every president since Ronald Reagan has been investigated, but only two have ever been impeached. Many think impeachment is simply firing a president, but the government is never so simple. 

The definition of impeachment is “a charge of misconduct made

Infographic: What an Impeachment Would Look Like | Statista

 against the holder of a public office”. Impeachment is a practice dating back to the late middle ages of England where it was used to remove corrupt government officials and allowed them to be fined or even executed. In England, Parliament mostly used this to clear out mid-level court judges who became corrupt. The Founders, a term for the men who set up the American government around and following  the Revolutionary War, used this in the founding documents as corruption was a major concern from the beginning of our country.

Only nineteen officials have ever been impeached in the history of the United States. Most were federal judges, but one Senator and one Secretary of War, later called the Secretary of Defense,  have also been removed from office. As well as Two Presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Now we never got rid of any presidents so this might confuse you but an impeachment does not fire an official but merely sets them up for another trial by the senate where they must be found guilty by this second group to be removed from office. 7 of these 19 officials were acquitted meaning found innocent by the senate and 3 quit before they could go to trial and the one senator was expelled from the senate before the senate tried him. The closest case of impeachment of a president becomes impeached was with President Nixon though he resigned before the impeachment trial came to a vote.

Now that’s all history but how does the process work. It starts in the House where the president is accused and many facts, witnesses and documents will be shown. For presidents, this is highly publicized even for Andrew Johnson. Two-thirds of the House must vote to impeach and then the process moves to the Senate where again the official has tried and a super majority, the name for a two-thirds.