1. The Definition & Where to Find It in the Constitution.
• “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.”
• United States Constitution, Article II, section 4
2. Impeachment is a Process.
• Think of it as a trial for a civil office holder.
• An official is impeached once an impeachment has been filed in the House of Representatives and a trial is to be held in the Senate.
• Being impeached does not automatically result in the removal from a civil office.
• Only being proven guilty of the offenses brought to the Senate by the House of Representatives can remove an individual from the office they hold.
3. The Senate and the House Have Two Different Roles in the Impeachment Process:
The House of Representatives:
• Has the power to begin the impeachment process.
• Files the Articles of Impeachment, a formal list of charges against a civil office holder.
• Acts as a prosecutor, a lawyer for the federal government, during an impeachment trial. It’s the House’s job to prove the impeached individual is guilty of the items outlined in the articles of impeachment.
• Has the responsibility of holding an impeachment trial.
• Acts as the judge and jury of an impeachment case.
• Can only find an individual guilty of the Articles of Impeachment by a two-thirds Senate vote.
4. The Consequences of Impeachment:
• A guiltily civil office holder can be removed from the office they hold.
• A guilty individual can also be barred from holding any civil office in the future.
• Example: President Trump was impeached in 2020, but the Senate decided that he was not guilty because less than two-thirds of the Senate voted that the Articles of Impeachment presented by The House of Representatives were proven. Therefore, he remained in office.
5. There Are No Legal Consequences of Impeachment.
• Only local, state and federal courts can hold trials to convict an individual of a crime and hand out legal consequences.
6. Only Three Presidents Have Been Impeached by Congress:
• Andrew Jackson, 1868
• Bill Clinton, 1999
• Donald Trump, 2020 & 2021
7. Donald Trump is the Only Civil Office Holder to be Impeached More Than Once.
• The House of Representatives voted on January 13th, 2021 to impeach the current president.
• His impeachment trial in the Senate will mostly like take place after his term as president has ended.
Photo: NY Times