Impeach Definition

Learn about the definition of impeachment, its types, historical examples, case studies, and statistics in the United States.

What is Impeachment?

Impeachment is a process defined in the United States Constitution that allows Congress to charge and remove government officials from office for high crimes and misdemeanors. This constitutional remedy is intended to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and ensure that they are fit to serve in office.

Types of Impeachment

  • Standard Impeachment: This is the traditional form of impeachment where a majority vote in the House of Representatives is required to impeach an official.
  • Fast-Track Impeachment: This is a streamlined process introduced in the Constitution where a supermajority vote in the House and Senate is required for impeachment.

Historical Examples

One of the most famous cases of impeachment in U.S. history is the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998. Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, but he was acquitted by the Senate and remained in office.

Recent Case Studies

In 2019, President Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate acquitted Trump in early 2020, allowing him to remain in office for the remainder of his term.

Impeachment Statistics

Since the founding of the United States, there have been only three impeachments of sitting presidents: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Donald Trump in 2019. The Senate has never voted to remove a president from office through impeachment.

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