Presidential Impeachment
 
 
 
Presidential Impeachment  
   




When the call is made for a president to be impeached, most believe it includes removal from office. This is not the true legal meaning of presidential impeachment. To be impeached, means that the president has formally been accused of wrongdoing, in accordance with the law by the House of Representatives. Impeachment is only the first stage of a long process, and may or may not lead to removal from office. Removal of an impeached individual from office requires an impeachment trial in the Senate, after which the president is either convicted or acquitted. Only an impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate can force an official to be removed from office. In the history of the United States only two presidents, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, have ever been impeached. Both were subsequently acquitted in the Senate.



Presidential Impeachment is a serious matter, and the US Congress regards impeachment as a power to be used exclusively in extreme cases.

The impeachment and removal of a President from office was provided for by the founders of the United States in the Constitution.

Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution deals specifically with the grounds for impeachment and states:

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.


Impeachment is a two-step process including both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.


Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 of the US Constitution grants sole power of impeachment to the House of Representatives:

The House of Representatives shall chuse (choose) their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

In the House of Representatives, the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by the ranking member of majority party (currently Republican), compose a formal list of allegations called the "Articles of Impeachment." If the charges are approved by a majority of Judiciary Committee members, the "Articles of Impeachment" are then sent to the full House of Representatives where a simple majority vote is needed. Upon this passage, the President has been officially been "impeached" and the impeachment is sent to the Senate for trial.


Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6 of the US Constitution grants the sole power of trial to the Senate:

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

In the Senate, trial proceedings are initiated with the Chief Justice of the United States presiding. To convict the President, a two-thirds majority of senators present is required. A conviction in the Senate automatically removes the President of the United States from office.





 

Sarah Palin on Impeachment


President Obama on Impeachment


 
Calls for an Obama impeachment have been ripe for years, and had mainly focused on issues with Obama's birth certificate, the IRS targeting controversy, the targeting of American Taliban with drones or the Benghazi attacks in Libya. In the summer of 2014, impeachment advocates have claimed an alleged abuse of executive powers after Obama bypassed congress to release five Guantanamo detainees in a trade for captive US soldier Bowe Bergdahl.

On July 8, 2014 the former Governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP Vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin accused Obama of inaction leading to an unsecured border and crisis, and publicly called for President Obama's impeachment. She stated, “It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment”.

Sarah Palin's call for impeachment is seen by many as an attention getter, and don't believe impeachment proceedings are realistic. Should successful impeachment hearings make it through the Republican controlled House of Representatives with a simple majority, chances are slim that a conviction could be achieved with a two-thirds vote in the Democratic held Senate. The GOP is increasingly gaining steam as the 2014 midterm elections near, and remember the resulting loss of Republican seats following the Clinton impeachment in 1998.