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The Impeachment Process

The United States constitution devised the impeachment process as a means for the legislature to remove the President or other government official without that political official's agreement. The two phase process first calls for impeachment which is then followed by conviction.

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The United States Constitution defines impeachment at the federal level and limits impeachment to "The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States" whom may be impeached and removed for the reasons of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Thomas Jefferson's Manual which is integral to the House of Representatives rules, states that impeachment is set in motion by: charges made on the floor; charges preferred by a memorial; a Member's resolution referred to a committee; a message from the President; charges transmitted from the legislature of a State or territory or from a grand jury; or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House. It also states that a proposition to impeach is a question of high privilege in the House and at once supersedes business otherwise in order under the rules governing the order of business.


Andrew Johnson Impeachment
Bill Clinton Impeachment
President Andrew Johnson impeachment trial in 1868. Johnson served as the successor to Abraham Lincoln and was the first US President to be impeached. The conviction however fell short by a single vote in the Senate. President Bill Clinton impeachment trial in 1999. Chief Justice William Rehnquist is presiding. President Clinton's personal coucnsel in on the right. Note the resemblence to the President Andrew Johnson impeachment trial.

William Jefferson Clinton was the second president, and the only elected president, to have been impeached in the United States. Bill Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998 by the US House of Representatives on the grounds of perjury to a grand jury and obstruction of justice. Bill Clinton was then acquited of the Obstruction charge by a 50 to 50 vote in the Senate.


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