Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official. It does not mean removal from office; it is only a statement of charges, akin to an indictment in criminal law. Once an individual is impeached, he or she must then face the possibility of conviction by a legislative vote, which judgment entails removal from office.
Because impeachment and conviction of officials involve an overturning of the normal constitutional procedures by which individuals achieve high office (election, ratification, or appointment) and because it generally requires a supermajority, they are usually reserved for those deemed to have committed serious abuses of their office. In the United States, for example, impeachment at the federal level is limited to those who may have committed "Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors".
The word "impeachment" derives from Old French empeechier from Latin word impedīre expressing the idea of catching or ensnaring by the 'foot' (pes, pedis), and has analogues in the modern French verb empêcher (to prevent) and the modern English impede. Medieval popular etymology also associated it (wrongly) with derivations from the Latin impetere (to attack). (In its more frequent and more technical usage, impeachment of a witness means challenging the honesty or credibility of that person.)
Impeachment was first used in the English political system. Specifically, the process was first used by the English "Good Parliament" against Baron Latimer in the second half of the 14th century. Following the British example, the constitutions of Virginia (1776), Massachusetts (1780) and other states thereafter adopted the impeachment mechanism, but they restricted the punishment to removal of the official from office. As well, in private organizations, a motion to impeach can be used to prefer charges.
The Austrian Federal President can be impeached by the Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) before the Constitutional Court. The constitution also provides for the recall of the president by a referendum. Neither of these courses has ever been taken. This is likely because while the President is vested with considerable powers on paper, they act as a largely ceremonial figurehead in practice, and are thus hardly in a position to abuse their powers.
The President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, state governors and municipal mayors may be impeached by the Chamber of Deputies and tried and removed by the Federal Senate. Upon conviction, the officeholder has his political rights revoked for eight years—which has the effect of barring him from running for any office.
Fernando Collor de Mello, the 32nd President of Brazil, resigned in 1992 amidst impeachment proceedings. Despite his resignation, the Senate nonetheless voted to convict him and bar him from holding any office for eight years, due to evidence of bribery and misappropriation.
In 2016, the Chamber of Deputies initiated an impeachment case against President Dilma Rousseff on allegations of budgetary mismanagement. Following her conviction, she was replaced by Vice President Michel Temer, who had served as acting president while Rousseff's case was pending.
The President of Bulgaria can be removed only for high treason or violation of the constitution. The process is started by a two-thirds majority vote of the Parliament to impeach the President, whereupon the Constitutional Court decides whether the President is guilty of the crime of which he is charged. If he is found guilty, he is removed from power. No Bulgarian President has ever been impeached. The same procedure can be used to remove the Vice President of Bulgaria, which has also never happened.
The process of impeaching the President of Croatia can be initiated by a two-thirds majority vote in favor in the Sabor and is thereafter referred to the Constitutional Court, which must accept such a proposal with a two-thirds majority vote in favor in order for the president to be removed from office. This has never occurred in the history of the Republic of Croatia. In case of a successful impeachment motion a president's constitutional term of five years would be terminated and an election called within 60 days of the vacancy occurring. During the period of vacancy the presidential powers and duties would be carried out by the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament in his/her capacity as Acting President of the Republic.
Prior to 2013 the President of the Czech Republic could be impeached only for an act of high treason (which is not defined in the Constitution of the Czech Republic itself). The process has to start in the Senate of the Czech Republic which only has the right to impeach the president, this passes the case to the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic which has to decide whether the President is guilty or not. If the Court decides that the President is guilty then the President loses his office and the ability to be elected President of the Czech Republic ever again. No Czech president has ever been impeached, though members of the Senate sought to impeach President Vaclav Klaus in 2013. This case was dismissed by the court reasoning that his mandate has expired.
In 2013 the constitution changed; now the process can be started by at least three-fifths of present senators and must be approved by at least three-fifths of all members of Parliament. Also, the President can be impeached not only for high treason (newly defined in the Constitution) but also for a serious infringement of the Constitution.
The President of France can be impeached by the French Parliament for willfully violating the Constitution or the national laws. The process of impeachment is written in the 68th article of the French Constitution. A group of senators or a group of members of the National Assembly can begin the process. Then, Both the French National Assembly and the French Senate have to acknowledge the impeachment. After the upper house and the lower house's agreement, both the two houses unite to form the High Court. Finally, the High Court must decide to declare the impeachment of the President of France or not.
The Federal President of Germany can be impeached both by the Bundestag and by the Bundesrat for willfully violating Federal law. Once the Bundestag or the Bundesrat impeaches the president, the Federal Constitutional Court decides whether the President is guilty as charged and, if this is the case, whether to remove him or her from office. The Federal Constitutional Court also has the power to remove federal judges from office for willfully violating core principles of the federal constitution or a state constitution. The impeachment procedure is regulated in Article 61 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong can be impeached by the Legislative Council. A motion for investigation, initiated jointly by at least one-fourth of all the legislators charging the Chief Executive with "serious breach of law or dereliction of duty" and refusing to resign, shall first be passed by the Council. An independent investigation committee, chaired by the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, will then carry out the investigation and report back to the Council. If the Council find the evidence sufficient to substantiate the charges, it may pass a motion of impeachment by a two-thirds majority.:Article 73(9)
However, the Legislative Council does not have the power actually to remove the Chief Executive from office, as the Chief Executive is appointed by the Central People's Government. The Council can only report the result to the Central People's Government for its decision.:Article 45
The president and judges, including the chief justice of the supreme court and high courts, can be impeached by the parliament before the expiry of the term for violation of the Constitution. Other than impeachment, no other penalty can be given to a president in position for the violation of the Constitution under Article 361 of the constitution. However a president after his term/removal can be punished for his already proven unlawful activity under disrespecting the constitution, etc. No president has faced impeachment proceedings. Hence, the provisions for impeachment have never been tested. The sitting president cannot be charged and needs to step down in order for that to happen.
The President of Iran can be impeached jointly by the members of the Assembly (Majlis) and the Supreme Leader. A new presidential election is then triggered. Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran's first president, was impeached in June 1981 and removed from the office. Mohammad-Ali Rajai was elected as the new president.
Cabinet ministers can be impeached by the members of the Assembly. Presidential appointment of a new minister is subject to a parliamentary vote of confidence. Impeachment of ministers has been a fairly commonly used tactic in the power struggle between the president and the assembly during the last several governments.
In the Republic of Ireland formal impeachment only applies to the Irish president. Article 12 of the Irish Constitution provides that, unless judged to be "permanently incapacitated" by the Supreme Court, the president can only be removed from office by the houses of the Oireachtas (parliament) and only for the commission of "stated misbehaviour". Either house of the Oireachtas may impeach the president, but only by a resolution approved by a majority of at least two-thirds of its total number of members; and a house may not consider a proposal for impeachment unless requested to do so by at least thirty of its number.
Where one house impeaches the president, the remaining house either investigates the charge or commissions another body or committee to do so. The investigating house can remove the president if it decides, by at least a two-thirds majority of its members, both that the president is guilty of the charge, and that the charge is sufficiently serious as to warrant the president's removal. To date no impeachment of an Irish president has ever taken place. The president holds a largely ceremonial office, the dignity of which is considered important, so it is likely that a president would resign from office long before undergoing formal conviction or impeachment.
The Republic's Constitution and law also provide that only a joint resolution of both houses of the Oireachtas may remove a judge. Although often referred to as the "impeachment" of a judge, this procedure does not technically involve impeachment.
In Italy, according to Article 90 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic can be impeached through a majority vote of the Parliament in joint session for high treason and for attempting to overthrow the Constitution. If impeached, the President of the Republic is then tried by the Constitutional Court integrated with sixteen citizens older than forty chosen by lot from a list compiled by the Parliament every nine years.
Italian press and political forces made use of the term "impeachment" for the attempt by some members of parliamentary opposition to initiate the procedure provided for in Article 90 against Presidents Francesco Cossiga (1991), Giorgio Napolitano (2014) and Sergio Mattarella (2018).
Members of the Liechtenstein Government can be impeached before the State Court for breaches of the Constitution or of other laws.:Article 62 As a hereditary monarchy the Sovereign Prince can not be impeached as he "is not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts and does not have legal responsibility".:Article 7 The same is true of any member of the Princely House who exercises the function of head of state should the Prince be temporarily prevented or in preparation for the Succession.:Article 7
In the Republic of Lithuania, the President may be impeached by a three-fifths majority in the Seimas. President Rolandas Paksas was removed from office by impeachment on April 6, 2004 after the Constitutional Court of Lithuania found him guilty of having violated his oath and the constitution. He was the first European head of state to have been impeached.
Members of government, representatives of the national assembly (Stortinget) and Supreme Court judges can be impeached for criminal offenses tied to their duties and committed in office, according to the Constitution of 1814, §§ 86 and 87. The procedural rules were modeled after the US rules and are quite similar to them. Impeachment has been used eight times since 1814, last in 1927. Many argue that impeachment has fallen into desuetude. In cases of impeachment, an appointed court (Riksrett) takes effect.
The country's ruling coalition said on August 7, 2008, that it would seek the impeachment of President Pervez Musharraf, alleging the U.S.-backed former general had "eroded the trust of the nation" and increasing pressure on him to resign. He resigned on August 18, 2008. Another kind of impeachment in Pakistan is known as the vote of less-confidence or vote of mis-understanding and has been practiced by provincial assemblies to weaken the national assembly.
Impeaching a president requires a two-thirds majority support of lawmakers in a joint session of both houses of Parliament.
Impeachment in the Philippines follows procedures similar to the United States. Under Sections 2 and 3, Article XI, Constitution of the Philippines, the House of Representatives of the Philippines has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment against the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, members of the Constitutional Commissions (Commission on Elections, Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Audit), and the Ombudsman. When a third of its membership has endorsed the impeachment articles, it is then transmitted to the Senate of the Philippines which tries and decide, as impeachment tribunal, the impeachment case.
A main difference from US proceedings however is that only one third of House members are required to approve the motion to impeach the President (as opposed to a simple majority of those present and voting in their US counterpart). In the Senate, selected members of the House of Representatives act as the prosecutors and the Senators act as judges with the Senate President presiding over the proceedings (the Chief Justice jointly presides with the Senate President if the President is on trial). Like the United States, to convict the official in question requires that a minimum of two thirds (i.e. 16 of 24 members) of all the Members of the Senate vote in favor of conviction. If an impeachment attempt is unsuccessful or the official is acquitted, no new cases can be filed against that impeachable official for at least one full year.
The 1987 Philippine Constitution says the grounds for impeachment include culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, graft and corruption, and betrayal of public trust. These offenses are considered "high crimes and misdemeanors" under the Philippine Constitution.
The President, Vice President, Supreme Court justices, and members of the Constitutional Commission and Ombudsman are all considered impeachable officials under the Constitution.
President Joseph Estrada was the first official impeached by the House in 2000, but the trial ended prematurely due to outrage over a vote to open an envelope where that motion was narrowly defeated by his allies. Estrada was deposed days later during the 2001 EDSA Revolution.
In 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, impeachment complaints were filed against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but none of the cases reached the required endorsement of 1⁄3 of the members for transmittal to, and trial by, the Senate.
In March 2011, the House of Representatives impeached Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, becoming the second person to be impeached. In April, Gutierrez resigned prior to the Senate's convening as an impeachment court.
In December 2011, in what was described as "blitzkrieg fashion", 188 of the 285 members of the House of Representatives voted to transmit the 56-page Articles of Impeachment against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
To date, three officials had been successfully impeached by the House of Representatives, and two were not convicted. The latter, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, was convicted on May 29, 2012 by the Senate under Article II of the Articles of Impeachment (for betraying public trust), with 20–3 votes from the Senator Judges.
In Polish law there is no impeachment procedure defined, as it is present in the other countries. Infringements of the law can be investigated only by special Parliament's Committee or (if accusations involve people holding the highest offices of state) by the State Tribunal. The State Tribunal is empowered to rule for the removal of individuals from public office but it is not a common practice.
The President can be impeached by Parliament and is then suspended. A referendum then follows to determine whether the suspended President should be removed from office. President Traian Băsescu was impeached twice by the Parliament: in 2007 and more recently in July 2012. A referendum was held on May 19, 2007 and a large majority of the electorate voted against removing the president from office. For the most recent suspension a referendum was held on July 29, 2012; the results were heavily against the president, but the referendum was invalidated due to low turnout.
The President of Russia can be impeached if both the State Duma (which initiates the impeachment process through the formation of a special investigation committee) and the Federation Council of Russia vote by a two-thirds majority in favor of impeachment and, additionally, the Supreme Court finds the President guilty of treason or a similarly heavy crime against the nation and the Constitutional Court confirms that the constitutional procedure of the impeachment process was correctly observed. In 1995–1999, the Duma made several attempts to impeach then-President Boris Yeltsin, but they never had a sufficient number of votes for the process to reach the Federation Council.
According to the Article 65 Clause 1 of Constitution of South Korea, if President, Prime Minister, or other state council members including Supreme Court and Constitutional court members, violate the Constitution or other laws of official duty, the National Assembly can impeach them. Clause 2 states the impeachment bill may be proposed by one third or more of the total members of the National Assembly, and shall require majority voting and approved by two thirds or more of the total members of the National Assembly. This article also states that any person against whom a motion for impeachment has been passed shall be suspended from exercising his power until the impeachment has been adjudicated and shall not extend further than removal from public office. Provided, That it shall not exempt the person impeached from civil or criminal liability.
Two presidents have been impeached since the foundation of the Sixth Republic of Korea and adoption of the new Constitution of South Korea in 1987. Roh Moo-hyun in 2004 was impeached by the National Assembly but was overturned by the Constitutional Court. Park Geun-hye in 2016 was impeached by the National Assembly, and the impeachment was confirmed by the Constitutional Court on March 10, 2017.
In Taiwan, according to the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China, impeachment of the president or the vice president by the Legislative Yuan shall be initiated upon the proposal of more than one-half of the total members of the Legislative Yuan and passed by more than two-thirds of the total members of the Legislative Yuan, whereupon it shall be presented to the grand justices of the Judicial Yuan for adjudication.
In Turkey, according to the Constitution, the Grand National Assembly may initiate an investigation of the President, the Vice President or any member of the Cabinet upon the proposal of simple majority of its total members, and within a period less than a month, the approval of three-fifth of the total members. The investigation would be carried out by a commission of fifteen members of the Assembly, each nominated by the political parties in proportion to their representation therein. The Commission would submit its report indicating the outcome of the investigation to the Speaker within two months. If the investigation is not completed within this period, the Commission's time renewed for another month. Within ten days of its submission to the Speaker, the report would be distributed to all members of the Assembly, and ten days after its distribution, the report would be discussed on the floor. Upon the approval of two thirds of the total number of the Assembly by secret vote, the person or persons, about whom the investigation was conducted, may be tried before the Constitutional Court. The trial would be finalized within three months, and if not, a one-time additional period of three months shall be granted. The President, about whom an investigation has been initiated, may not call for an election. The President, who is convicted by the Court, would be removed from office.
The provision of this article shall also apply to the offenses for which the President allegedly worked during his term of office.
During the crisis which started in November 2013, the increasing political stress of the face-down between the protestors occupying Independence Square in Kiev and the State Security forces under the control of President Yanukovych led to deadly armed force being used on the protestors. Following the negotiated return of Kiev's City Hall on February 16, 2014, occupied by the protesters since November 2013, the security forces thought they could also retake "Maidan", Independence Square. The ensuing fighting from 17 through 21 February 2014 resulted in a considerable number of deaths and a more generalised alienation of the population, and the withdrawal of President Yanukovych to his support area in the East of Ukraine.
In the wake of the President's departure, Parliament convened on February 22; it reinstated the 2004 Constitution, which reduced Presidential authority, and voted impeachment of President Yanukovych as de facto recognition of his departure from office as President of an integrated Ukraine. The President riposted that Parliament's acts were illegal as they could pass into law only by Presidential signature.
In the United Kingdom, in principle anybody may be prosecuted and tried by the two Houses of Parliament for any crime. The first recorded impeachment is that of William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer during the Good Parliament of 1376. The last was that of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville in 1806. Over the centuries, the procedure has been supplemented by other forms of oversight including select committees, confidence motions, and judicial review, while the privilege of peers to trial only in the House of Lords was abolished in 1948, and thus impeachment, which has not kept up with modern norms of democracy or procedural fairness, is generally considered obsolete.
The House of Commons holds the power to impeach. Any member may make an accusation of any crime. The member must support the charge with evidence and move for impeachment. If the Commons carries the motion, the mover receives orders to go to the bar at the House of Lords and to impeach the accused "in the name of the House of Commons, and all the commons of the United Kingdom".
The mover must tell the Lords that the House of Commons will, in due time, exhibit particular articles against the accused, and make good the same. The Commons then usually selects a committee to draw up the charges and create an "Article of Impeachment" for each. (In the case of Warren Hastings, however, the drawing up of the articles preceded the formal impeachment.) Once the committee has delivered the articles to the Lords, replies go between the accused and the Commons via the Lords. If the Commons have impeached a peer, the Lords take custody of the accused; otherwise, custody goes to Black Rod. The accused remains in custody unless the Lords allow bail. The Lords set a date for the trial while the Commons appoints managers, who act as prosecutors in the trial. The accused may defend by counsel.
The House of Lords hears the case. The procedure used to be that the Lord Chancellor presided (or the Lord High Steward if the defendant was a peer); but this was when the Lord Chancellor was both the Lords' presiding officer and head of the judiciary of England and Wales. Since both these roles were removed from that office by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which created the Lord Speaker to preside over the Lords and made the Lord Chief Justice head of the judiciary, it is not certain who would preside over an impeachment trial today. If Parliament is not in session, then the trial is conducted by a "Court of the Lord High Steward" instead of the House of Lords (even if the defendant is not a peer). The differences between this court and the House of Lords are that in the House all of the peers are judges of both law and fact, whereas in the Court the Lord High Steward is the sole judge of law and the peers decide the facts only; and the bishops are not entitled to sit and vote in the Court. Traditionally, peers would wear their parliamentary robes during the hearings.
The hearing resembles an ordinary trial: both sides may call witnesses and present evidence. At the end of the hearing the lords vote on the verdict, which is decided by a simple majority, one charge at a time. Upon being called, a peer must rise and declare "guilty, upon my honour" or "not guilty, upon my honour". After voting on all of the articles has taken place, and if the Lords find the defendant guilty, the Commons may move for judgment; the Lords may not declare the punishment until the Commons have so moved. The Lords may then decide whatever punishment they find fit, within the law. A royal pardon cannot excuse the defendant from trial, but a pardon may reprieve a convicted defendant. However, a pardon cannot override a decision to remove the defendant from the public office they hold.
Parliament has held the power of impeachment since medieval times. Originally, the House of Lords held that impeachment could apply only to members of the peerage, as the nobility (the Lords) would try their own peers, while commoners ought to try their peers (other commoners) in a jury. However, in 1681, the Commons declared that they had the right to impeach anyone, and the Lords have respected this resolution. Offices held "during good behaviour" are terminable by the writ of either quo warranto or scire facias, which has even been employed by and against well-placed judges.
After the reign of Edward IV, impeachment fell into disuse, the bill of attainder becoming the preferred form of dealing with undesirable subjects of the Crown. However, during the reign of James I and thereafter, impeachments became more popular, as they did not require the assent of the Crown, while bills of attainder did, thus allowing Parliament to resist royal attempts to dominate Parliament. The most recent cases of impeachment dealt with Warren Hastings, Governor-General of India between 1773 and 1786 (impeached in 1788; the Lords found him not guilty in 1795), and Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, First Lord of the Admiralty, in 1806 (acquitted). The last attempted impeachment occurred in 1848, when David Urquhart accused Lord Palmerston of having signed a secret treaty with Imperial Russia and of receiving monies from the Tsar. Palmerston survived the vote in the Commons; the Lords did not hear the case.
Queen Caroline, consort of King George IV, was tried by the House of Commons and acquitted. The process began as impeachment proceedings, but then became a different procedure as a bill of pains and penalties.
The procedure has, over time, become rarely used and some legal authorities (such as Halsbury's Laws of England) consider it to be probably obsolete. The principles of "responsible government" require that the Prime Minister and other executive officers answer to Parliament, rather than to the Sovereign. Thus the Commons can remove such an officer through a motion of no confidence without a long, drawn-out impeachment. However, it is argued by some that the remedy of impeachment remains as part of British constitutional law, and that legislation would be required to abolish it. Furthermore, impeachment as a means of punishment for wrongdoing, as distinct from being a means of removing a minister, remains a valid reason for accepting that it continues to be available, at least in theory.
The Select Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in 1967 recommended "that the right to impeach, which has long been in disuse, be now formally abandoned". Their recommendation not having been implemented in the meantime, the Select Committee on Privileges in 1977 declared it "to be of continuing validity" and again urged that it be adopted. Shortly before this report was issued, in April 1977 the Young Liberals' annual conference unanimously passed a motion calling on Liberal Party leader David Steel to move for the impeachment of Ronald King Murray QC, the Lord Advocate, over his handling of the Patrick Meehan miscarriage of justice affair. Steel did not move any such motion but Murray (who later became Lord Murray, a Senator of the College of Justice of Scotland) agreed that the power still existed.
The Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in 1999 noted the previous recommendations to formally abandon the power impeachment, and stated that "The circumstances in which impeachment has taken place are now so remote from the present that the procedure may be considered obsolete". Notwithstanding, on August 25, 2004, Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price announced his intention to move for the impeachment of Tony Blair for his role in involving Britain in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He asked the Leader of the House of Commons Peter Hain whether he would confirm that the power to impeach was still available, reminding Hain that as President of the Young Liberals he had supported the attempted impeachment of Murray. Hain responded by quoting the 1999 Joint Committee's report, and the advice of the Clerk of the House of Commons that impeachment "effectively died with the advent of full responsible Parliamentary government".
The election court has some of the powers associated with impeachment cases in other countries, and can remove elected officials from office in the case of electoral fraud. Lutfur Rahman was the directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, in London until he was removed from office for breaching electoral rules.
Similar to the British system, Article One of the United States Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of officers of the U.S. federal government. (Various state constitutions include similar measures, allowing the state legislature to impeach the governor or other officials of the state government.) In contrast to the British system, in the United States impeachment is only the first of two stages, and conviction during the second stage requires "the concurrence of two thirds of the members present". Impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office; it is only a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment in criminal law. An official who is impeached faces a second legislative vote (whether by the same body or another), which determines conviction, or failure to convict, on the charges embodied by the impeachment. Most constitutions require a supermajority to convict. Although the subject of the charge is criminal action, it does not constitute a criminal trial; the only question under consideration is the removal of the individual from office, and the possibility of a subsequent vote preventing the removed official from ever again holding political office in the jurisdiction where he or she was removed.
Impeachment with respect to political office should not be confused with witness impeachment.
The article on Impeachment in the United States discusses the following topics:
Barbara Charline Jordan (February 21, 1936 – January 17, 1996) was an American lawyer, educator and politician who was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. A Democrat, she was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives. She was best known for her eloquent opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee hearings during the impeachment process against Richard Nixon, and as the first African-American as well as the first woman to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous other honors. She was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1978 to 1980. She was the first African-American woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.Jordan's work as chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, which recommended reducing legal immigration by about one-third, is frequently cited by American immigration restrictionists.Clinton–Lewinsky scandal
The Clinton–Lewinsky scandal was an American political sex scandal that involved 49-year-old President Bill Clinton and 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The sexual relationship took place between 1995 and 1997 and came to light in 1998. Clinton ended a televised speech in late January 1998 with the statement that he "did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky". Further investigation led to charges of perjury and to the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was subsequently acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in a 21-day Senate trial. Clinton was held in civil contempt of court by Judge Susan Webber Wright for giving misleading testimony in the Paula Jones case regarding Lewinsky and was also fined $90,000 by Wright. His license to practice law was suspended in Arkansas for five years; shortly thereafter, he was disbarred from presenting cases in front of the United States Supreme Court.Lewinsky was a graduate of Lewis & Clark College. She was hired during Clinton's first term in 1995 as an intern at the White House and was later an employee of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Some believe that Clinton began a personal relationship with her while she worked at the White House, the details of which she later confided to Linda Tripp, her Defense Department co-worker who secretly recorded their telephone conversations.In January 1998, Tripp discovered that Lewinsky had sworn an affidavit in the Paula Jones case, denying a relationship with Clinton. She delivered tapes to Kenneth Starr, the Independent Counsel who was investigating Clinton on other matters, including the Whitewater scandal, the White House FBI files controversy, and the White House travel office controversy. During the grand jury testimony, Clinton's responses were carefully worded, and he argued, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is," with regard to the truthfulness of his statement that "there is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship."The wide reporting of the scandal led to criticism of the press for over-coverage. The scandal is sometimes referred to as "Monicagate", "Lewinskygate", "Tailgate", "Sexgate", and "Zippergate", following the "-gate" construction that has been used since the Watergate scandal.Efforts to impeach Barack Obama
During Barack Obama's tenure as President of the United States from 2009 to 2017, certain Republican members of Congress, as well as Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich, stated that Obama had engaged in impeachable activity and that he might face attempts to remove him from office. Rationales offered for possible impeachment included false claims that Obama was born outside the United States, that he allegedly allowed people to use bathrooms based on their gender identity, an alleged White House cover-up after the 2012 Benghazi attack, and failure to enforce immigration laws. No list of articles of impeachment was ever drawn up and proposed to the Judiciary Committee.
Multiple surveys of U.S. public opinion found that the clear majority of Americans rejected the idea of impeaching Obama, while a majority of Republicans were in favor; for example, CNN found in July 2014 that 57% of Republicans supported efforts while about two thirds of adult Americans in general disagreed.Efforts to impeach Donald Trump
Efforts to impeach Donald Trump have been proposed by various people and groups, who have asserted that President Donald Trump has engaged in impeachable activity during his presidency. Talk of impeachment began before Trump took office. Formal efforts were initiated by Representatives Al Green and Brad Sherman, both Democrats, in 2017, the first year of his presidency. Grounds asserted for potential impeachment have included possible violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign dignitaries; alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election campaign; alleged obstruction of justice with respect to investigation of the collusion claim; and accusations of "Associating the Presidency with White Nationalism, Neo-Nazism and Hatred", which formed the basis of a resolution for impeachment brought on December 6, 2017.
Since the Republicans controlled the House and the Senate during 2017 and 2018, the likelihood of impeachment during that period was remote. A December 2017 resolution of impeachment failed in the House by a 58–364 margin. The Democrats gained control of the House in 2019 and launched multiple investigations into Trump's actions and finances. Speaker Nancy Pelosi initially resisted calls for impeachment. In May 2019 she indicated that Trump's continued actions, which she characterized as obstruction of justice and refusal to honor Congressional subpoenas, might make an impeachment inquiry necessary. An increasing number of House Democrats and one Republican were requesting such an inquiry.Efforts to impeach George W. Bush
During the presidency of George W. Bush, several American politicians sought to either investigate Bush for possibly impeachable offenses, or to bring actual impeachment charges on the floor of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. The most significant of these efforts occurred on June 10, 2008, when Congressman Dennis Kucinich, along with co-sponsor Robert Wexler, introduced 35 articles of impeachment against Bush to the U.S. House of Representatives. The House voted 251 to 166 to refer the impeachment resolution to the Judiciary Committee on June 11, where no further action was taken on it. Bush's presidency ended on January 20, 2009, with the completion of his second term in office, rendering impeachment efforts moot.Impeachment March
The Impeachment March, sometimes referred to as the "Impeach Trump" protest, was a series of rallies against the President of the United States, Donald Trump, held nationwide on July 2–4, 2017, advocating that Congress begin the impeachment process against him.
Events took place in more than 30 cities throughout the United States. Organizers accused President Trump of violating the United States Constitution, specifically the Foreign Emoluments Clause and the Domestic Emoluments Clause, and claimed he committed obstruction of justice by dismissing Sally Yates and James Comey. They also cited Trump's alleged interference with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's review of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and his travel ban issue as reasons for his impeachment.
The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, though three people were arrested in Philadelphia. Many featured speeches by politicians and local activities, and some attracted counter-protesters who wanted to show their support for Trump. Events were organized by various organizations, including affiliates of the Indivisible movement.Impeachment in the United States
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Government.
Impeachment in the United States is the process by which the lower house of a legislature brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. At the federal level, this is at the discretion of the House of Representatives. Most impeachments have concerned alleged crimes committed while in office, though there have been a few cases in which officials have been impeached and subsequently convicted for crimes committed prior to taking office. The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held. That trial, and their removal from office if convicted, is separate from the act of impeachment itself. Analogous to a trial before a judge and jury, these proceedings are (where the legislature is bicameral) conducted by upper house of the legislature, which at the federal level is the Senate.
At the federal level, Article I, Section 2, Clause 5 of the Constitution grants to the House of Representatives "the sole power of impeachment", and Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 grants to the Senate "the sole Power to try all Impeachments". In considering articles of impeachment, the House is obligated to base any charges on the constitutional standards specified in Article II, Section 4: "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." (Full text of clauses )
Impeachment can also occur at the state level. Each state's legislature can impeach state officials, including the governor, in accordance with their respective state constitution.Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, was impeached on February 24, 1868, when the United States House of Representatives resolved to impeach the President, adopting eleven articles of impeachment detailing his "high crimes and misdemeanors", in accordance with Article Two of the United States Constitution. The House's primary charge against Johnson was violation of the Tenure of Office Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in March 1867, over the President's veto. Specifically, he had removed from office Edwin McMasters Stanton, the Secretary of War—whom the Act was largely designed to protect—and attempted to replace him with Brevet Major General Lorenzo Thomas. (Earlier, while the Congress was not in session, Johnson had suspended Stanton and appointed General Ulysses S. Grant as Secretary of War ad interim.)
The House approved the articles of impeachment on March 2–3, 1868, and forwarded them to the Senate. The trial in the Senate began three days later, with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding. On May 16, the Senate failed to convict Johnson on one of the articles, with the 35–19 vote in favor of conviction falling short of the necessary two-thirds majority by a single vote. A ten-day recess was called before attempting to convict him on additional articles. The delay did not change the outcome, however, as on May 26, it failed to convict the President on two articles, both by the same margin; after which the trial was adjourned.
This was the first impeachment of a President since creation of the office in 1789. The culmination of a lengthy political battle between Johnson, a lifelong Democrat, and the Republican majority in Congress over how best to deal with the defeated Southern states following the conclusion of the American Civil War, the impeachment and subsequent trial (and acquittal) of Johnson were among the most dramatic events in the political life of the nation during the Reconstruction Era. Together, they have gained a historical reputation as an act of political expedience rather than necessity, based on Johnson's defiance of an unconstitutional piece of legislation and conducted with little regard for the will of a general public which, despite the unpopularity of Johnson, opposed the impeachment.
Johnson is one of only three presidents against whom articles of impeachment have been reported to the full House for consideration. In 1974, during the Watergate scandal, the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, who resigned from office rather than face certain impeachment by the full House and the almost certain prospect of being convicted at trial in the Senate and removed from office with loss of pension and other benefits. In 1998, Bill Clinton was in fact impeached; he, like Johnson, was acquitted of all charges following a Senate trial (with 50 votes for conviction and 50 for acquittal on the count eliciting the most votes for removal).Impeachment of Bill Clinton
The impeachment of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was initiated in December 1998 by the House of Representatives and led to a trial in the Senate on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice. These charges stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones. Clinton was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles – a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power – failed in the House.Leading to the impeachment, Independent Counsel Ken Starr turned over documentation to the House Judiciary Committee. Chief Prosecutor David Schippers and his team reviewed the material and determined there was sufficient evidence to impeach the president. As a result, four charges were considered by the full House of Representatives; two passed, making Clinton the second president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868, and only the third against whom articles of impeachment had been brought before the full House for consideration (Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974, while an impeachment process against him was underway).
The trial in the United States Senate began right after the seating of the 106th Congress, in which the Republican Party held 55 Senate seats. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. Fifty senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge; no member of his own Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge. Clinton, like Johnson a century earlier, was acquitted on all charges.Impeachment of Dilma Rousseff
The impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, the 36th President of Brazil, began on 2 December 2015 with a petition for her impeachment being accepted by Eduardo Cunha, then president of the Chamber of Deputies, and continued into late 2016. Rousseff, then more than 12 months into her second four-year term, was charged with criminal administrative misconduct and disregard for the federal budget in violation of article 85, items V and VI of the Constitution of Brazil and the Fiscal Responsibility Law, article 36.The petition also accused Rousseff of criminal responsibility for failing to act on the scandal at Brazilian national petroleum company, Petrobras, on account of allegations uncovered by the Operation Car Wash investigation, and for failing to distance herself from the suspects in that investigation. Rousseff was president of the Petrobras board of directors during the period covered by the investigation, and approved Petrobras' controversial acquisition of the Pasadena Refining System. However, the Petrobras charges were not included in the impeachment because Prosecutor-General Rodrigo Janot successfully argued that a sitting president could not be investigated while in office for crimes committed prior to election.Rousseff was formally impeached on 17 April 2016. On 12 May, the Senate voted to suspend Rousseff's powers for the duration of the trial, and Vice President Michel Temer became acting president. On 31 August 2016, the Senate removed President Rousseff from office by a 61–20 vote, finding her guilty of breaking Brazil's budget laws. Accordingly, Temer was sworn in as the 37th President of Brazil. Temer was accused by an Odebrecht executive of soliciting campaign donations in 2014 for his party. He faced trial along with Rousseff in the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) in a complaint filed by Aécio Neves, the candidate narrowly defeated by Rousseff in the 2014 presidential runoff, over irregularities in their campaign funds—Rousseff had shared the PT-PMDB coalition ticket with Temer. On 9 June 2017 the court rejected, by a 4–3 vote, the allegations of campaign finance violations by the Rousseff-Temer ticket during the 2014 electoral campaign. As a result of that judgement, President Temer has remained in office and both Rousseff and Temer have retained their political rights.Impeachment of Park Geun-hye
The impeachment of Park Geun-hye, President of South Korea, was the culmination of a political scandal involving interventions to the presidency from her aide. The impeachment vote took place on 9 December 2016, with 234 members of the 300-member National Assembly voting in favour of the impeachment and temporary suspension of Park Geun-hye's presidential powers and duties. Thus, Hwang Kyo-ahn, then Prime Minister of South Korea, became Acting President while the Constitutional Court of Korea was due to determine whether to accept the impeachment. The court upheld the impeachment in a unanimous 8–0 decision on 10 March 2017, removing Park from office. A fresh election was held on 9 May 2017, electing Moon Jae-in, former leader of the Democratic Party, as the next President of South Korea.
Park was formally sentenced to 24 years in prison on April 6, 2018 after being found guilty of abuse of power and coercion.Impeachment process against Richard Nixon
An impeachment process against Richard Nixon was formally initiated on February 6, 1974, when the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution, H.Res. 803, giving its Judiciary Committee authority to investigate whether sufficient grounds existed to impeach Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States of high crimes and misdemeanors, primarily related to the Watergate scandal. This investigation was undertaken one year after the United States Senate established a select committee to investigate the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and the Nixon Administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement.
Following a subpoena from the Judiciary Committee, in April 1974 edited transcripts of many Watergate-related conversations from the Nixon White House tapes were made public by Nixon, but the committee pressed for full tapes and additional conversations. Nixon refused, but on July 24, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered him to comply. On July 27, 29, and 30, 1974, the Committee approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon, for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress, and reported those articles to the House of Representatives. Two other articles of impeachment were debated but not approved. Before the House could vote on the impeachment resolutions, Nixon made public one of the additional conversations, known as the "Smoking Gun Tape", which made clear his complicity in the cover-up. With his political support completely eroded, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974. It is widely believed that had Nixon not resigned, his impeachment by the House and removal from office by a trial before the United States Senate would have occurred.
Nixon is one of only three U.S. presidents against whom articles of impeachment have been reported to the full House for consideration. The other two—Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998—were both impeached; however, both were also acquitted from all charges following a Senate trial, and thus allowed to remain in office. The impeachment process against Nixon is the only one resulting in the departure from office of its target.Jefferson's Manual
A Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States, written by Thomas Jefferson in 1801, is the first American book on parliamentary procedure. As Vice President of the United States, Jefferson served as the Senate's presiding officer from 1797 to 1801. Throughout these four years, Jefferson worked on various texts and, in early 1800, started to assemble them into a single manuscript for the Senate's use. In December 1800 he delivered his manuscript to printer Samuel Harrison Smith, who delivered the final product to Jefferson on 27 February 1801.Jefferson's Manual was based on notes Jefferson took while studying parliamentary procedure at the College of William and Mary. A second edition with added material by Jefferson was printed in 1812.The Manual is arranged in fifty-three categories from (1) The Importance of Adhering to Rules to (53) Impeachment. Each section includes the appropriate rules and practices of the British Parliament along with the applicable texts from the U.S. Constitution and the thirty-two Senate rules that existed in 1801.Michel Temer
Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia (Portuguese pronunciation: [miˈʃɛw miˈɡɛw eˈliɐs ˈtemeɾ luˈliɐ]; born 23 September 1940) is a Brazilian politician, lawyer and writer who served as the 37th President of Brazil from 31 August 2016 to 31 December 2018. He took office after the impeachment and removal from office of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff. He had been Vice President since 2011 and Acting President since 12 May 2016, when Rousseff was suspended while she faced an impeachment trial. At the age of 75, he is the oldest person to have taken the office.
The Senate's 61–20 vote, on 31 August 2016, to remove Rousseff from office meant that Temer succeeded her to serve out the remainder of Rousseff's second term, ending 31 December 2018. In his first speech in office, Temer called for a government of "national salvation" and asked for the trust of the Brazilian people. He also signaled his intention to overhaul the pension system and labor laws, and to curb public spending.A 2017 poll showed that Temer's administration had 7% popular approval, with 76% of respondents in favor of Temer's resignation. Despite widespread protests, Temer refused to step down. Temer did not stand for President in the 2018 elections and was succeeded by Jair Bolsonaro on January 1, 2019.
On March 21, 2019, Temer was arrested during the investigation into Operation Car Wash. His warrant was issued by judge Marcelo Bretas of the Federal Justice. On March 25, an habeas corpus was issued on behalf of Temer by desembargador Antonio Ivan Athié.Oklahoma Senate
The Oklahoma Senate is the upper house of the two houses of the Legislature of Oklahoma, the other being the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The total number of senators is set at 48 by the Oklahoma Constitution.Senators approve or reject gubernatorial appointments, and contribute to the creation of both state law and an annual state budget. Every ten years, they aid in drawing new boundaries for Oklahoma's electoral districts. The Oklahoma Senate also serves as a court of impeachment.
The presiding officer of the Senate is the Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, who is the President of the Senate. Since the 1960s, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate has presided over daily work. Prior to that time, the President of the Senate took a leading role in the Senate, including appointing committees and members to those committees. The President of the Senate may cast a vote only in the instance of a tie vote and may not vote to create a tie.Robert J. Bentley
Robert Julian Bentley (born February 3, 1943) is an American former politician and physician who served as the 53rd Governor of Alabama from 2011 until 2017 upon his resignation after a political scandal and subsequent arrest. A member of the Republican Party, Bentley was elected governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Bentley resigned on April 10, 2017 due to a sex scandal involving a political aide.
Born in Columbiana, Alabama, Bentley earned his M.D. from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 1968 and then
served in the United States Air Force as a medical officer at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, North Carolina from 1969 to 1975 until leaving the service as a captain. He entered private medical practice and opened a series of dermatology clinics throughout the southern United States.
Bentley was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2002 and served a total of two four-year terms from 2003 to 2010. In 2010, Bentley announced his intentions to run for the Republican nomination for governor. Bentley won in a seven-candidate primary and faced Democrat Ron Sparks, the outgoing Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture, in the general election. Bentley received just over 58% of the statewide vote and won by a margin of over 230,000 votes—the largest margin recorded for a Republican in an open-seat race in Alabama history. In 2014, Bentley won re-election, winning the largest percentage of the vote that any Republican gubernatorial candidate had received in modern Alabama history, 63.6%.
On April 5, 2016, Republican State Representative Ed Henry filed an impeachment resolution against Bentley in the State Legislature, in connection with allegations that Bentley engaged in an extramarital affair with a female political adviser. Bentley has admitted to making inappropriate remarks toward the woman, but denied having a physical affair. On July 7, 2016, the House Judiciary Committee named a special counsel to lead the investigation into the impeachment charges against the governor. On April 5, 2017, the Ethics Commission found probable cause that Bentley violated both ethics and campaign finance laws.Bentley resigned as Governor of Alabama on April 10, 2017, effective immediately, after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges related to campaign finance law. Bentley allegedly used state resources to facilitate and conceal an extramarital affair with a former staffer. As part of the plea deal, he accepted a lifetime ban from ever seeking public office in Alabama again. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey.Second EDSA Revolution
The Second EDSA Revolution (EDSA II or EDSA Dos) was a four-day political protest from January 17–20, 2001 that peacefully overthrew the government of Joseph Estrada, the thirteenth President of the Philippines. Estrada was succeeded by his Vice-President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was sworn into office by then-Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. at around noon on January 20, 2001, several hours before Estrada fled Malacañang Palace. EDSA is an acronym derived from Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the major thoroughfare connecting five cities in Metro Manila, namely Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, and Caloocan, with the revolution's epicentre at the EDSA Shrine church at the northern tip of Ortigas Center, a business district.
Advocates described EDSA II as "popular" but critics view the uprising as a conspiracy among political and business elites, military top brass and Catholic Cardinal Jaime Sin. International reaction to the revolt was mixed, with some foreign nations including the United States immediately recognising the legitimacy of Arroyo's presidency, and foreign commentators describing it as "a defeat for due process of law", "mob rule", and a "de facto coup".The only means of legitimizing the event was the last-minute Supreme Court ruling that "the welfare of the people is the supreme law." But by then, the Armed Forces of the Philippines had already withdrawn support for the president, which some analysts called unconstitutional, and most foreign political analysts agreeing with this assessment. William Overholt, a Hong Kong-based political economist said that "It is either being called mob rule or mob rule as a cover for a well-planned coup, ... but either way, it's not democracy." It should also be noted that opinion was divided during EDSA II about whether Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the incumbent Vice President should be President if Joseph Estrada was ousted; many groups who participated in EDSA II expressly stated that they did not want Arroyo for president either, and some of them would later participate in EDSA III. The prevailing Constitution of the Philippines calls for the Vice President of the Philippines, Arroyo at the time, to act as interim president only when the sitting President dies, resigns, or becomes incapacitated, none of which occurred during EDSA II.
On October 4, 2000, Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, a longtime friend of President Joseph Estrada, went public with accusations that Estrada, his family and friends received millions of pesos from operations of the illegal numbers game, jueteng.The exposé immediately ignited reactions of rage. The next day, Senate Minority Leader Teofisto Guingona, Jr. delivered a fiery privilege speech accusing Estrada of receiving P220 million in jueteng money from Governor Singson from November 1998 to August 2000, as well as taking P70 million on excise tax on cigarettes intended for Ilocos Sur. The privilege speech was referred by Senate President Franklin Drilon, to the Blue Ribbon Committee and the Committee on Justice for joint investigation. Another committee in the House of Representatives decided to investigate the exposé, while other house members spearheaded a move to impeach the president.More calls for resignation came from Manila Cardinal Archbishop Jaime Sin, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, and Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (who had resigned her cabinet position of Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development). Cardinal Sin stated in a statement "In the light of the scandals that besmirched the image of presidency, in the last two years, we stand by our conviction that he has lost the moral authority to govern." More resignations came from Estrada's cabinet and economic advisers, and other members of congress defected from his ruling party.On November 13, 2000, the House of Representatives led by Speaker Manuel Villar transmitted the Articles of Impeachment, signed by 115 representatives, to the Senate. This caused shakeups in the leadership of both houses of congress. The impeachment trial was formally opened on November 20, with twenty-one senators taking their oaths as judges, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. presiding. The trial began on December 7.The day-to-day trial was covered on live Philippine television and received the highest viewing rating at the time. Among the highlights of the trial was the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, senior vice president of Equitable PCI Bank, who testified that she was one foot away from Estrada when he signed the name "Jose Velarde" documents involving a P500 million investment agreement with their bank in February 2000.Witness impeachment
Witness impeachment, in the law of evidence of the United States, is the process of calling into question the credibility of an individual testifying in a trial. The Federal Rules of Evidence contain the rules governing impeachment in US federal courts.