When Bill Clinton left the White House, a lot of people breathed sighs of relief. The 42nd President was almost as controversial as his scandal-ridden predecessor, Richard Nixon. However, the impeachment trial that followed Mr. Clinton almost upended the nation once again. Impeachment is a seldom-used constitutional remedy that can be initiated by either chamber of Congress against any federal official for actions that are deemed to be “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Impeachment does not remove an official from office; it simply triggers a trial in the Senate which may lead to their removal from office. In order for impeachment to proceed, the House of Representatives must approve articles of impeachment with a simple majority vote. While this is rare, it does happen on occasion. In recent history, two members of Trump’s administration have been impeached and removed from office.
Can a President Be Impeached After His Term Is Over?
Yes, In fact, there have been two ex-presidents who have faced impeachment. Out of the two, one was actually convicted. The first ex-president to be impeached was Andrew Johnson, who was impeached in 1868 for defying the Tenure of Office Act, which required him to obtain the Senate’s consent before firing any member of the Cabinet. The second ex-president to be impeached was Bill Clinton, who was impeached in 1999 for perjury and obstruction of justice.
Is There a Time Limit for Impeachment?
- No, there is not. Many people mistakenly think that an official has X amount of time to be impeached. In reality, impeachment can occur at any time during the official’s tenure.
- Some would say that the Senate has no time limit either. In fact, they have a very strict time limit. The Senate must hold an impeachment trial within 100 days of receiving the articles of impeachment from the House. This is in accordance with a Senate resolution passed in 1807.
Why Would Someone Want to Impeach an Ex-President?
- There can be numerous reasons for wanting to impeach an ex-president. One of the most common reasons is that the ex-president may have committed criminal acts while in office. In many cases, it is discovered that an ex-president’s criminal wrongdoing predates his term in office. For example, Richard Nixon was forced to resign after it was revealed that he had ordered a break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters.
- Again, the ex-president may have abused the power of his office. This is often a problem during the president’s final year in office when he is mostly concerned with securing his next job. Another common reason for impeaching an ex-president is political. Certain political factions may see an advantage in erasing the ex-president’s legacy.
What Are the Consequences of Being Impeached?
- As mentioned earlier, impeachment does not remove an official from office. It simply triggers a trial in the Senate, which may lead to their removal from office.
- Impeachment is a legal proceeding, so the Senate trial follows the rules of evidence. All witnesses are sworn in and are subject to questioning by both sides.
- The Senate has the power to convict an official by a two-thirds majority vote. Conviction leads to the official’s removal from office.
Is There Any Hope for Presidential Rehabilitation?
- Ex-presidents who have been impeached have not always been shunned. If you want to be forgiven for your presidency, you need to do a couple of things. The first is to make amends for your mistakes, and the second is to make amends with those you’ve wronged.
- If you follow these basic rules, you will eventually be able to make a clean break from your past. Now that you know what happens when a president is impeached, you should get to know what happens when a president is assassinated.
Why Haven’t Presidents Been Impeached More Often?
The Road to Impeachment is Long and Daunting
When considering the idea of impeachment, it’s important to know that the process is lengthy and tedious. Impeachment is actually part of the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section IV explains that a president can be removed from office if they are convicted by the House of Representatives and found guilty by the Senate. The House is required to have a trial on impeachment and the Senate will serve as the jury. The president can defend against the charges, but the Senate has the power to determine whether the president will be removed from office or not. The impeachment process can take anywhere between months and years. It’s important to keep in mind that the president has legal protection while the process is underway. The House can only start the impeachment process by having a majority vote.
Presidents Have Legal Protection
The biggest reason why impeachment hasn’t been used more often is because of the legal protection the president has. If the president is accused of a crime, it’s up to Congress to decide how to handle the situation. They can either bring formal charges, which is what we call impeachment, or they can just hold a hearing and issue a report. If the president is charged with a crime, he or she is entitled to due process. This means the president is innocent until proven guilty. Only nine presidents have faced impeachment charges and only two have been impeached (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). But the charges against these two presidents were dropped before they could go to the Senate for a trial. Now, it’s important to note that even if the president is charged with a crime, it doesn’t mean they will go to jail. It just means that an alleged crime has been committed. Another reason for impeachment is if the president is violating their oath of office, but this is a less common reason for impeachment.
Presidents Are Often Careful After Being Impeached
If the president is charged with a crime, it’s up to Congress to decide what to do next. Sometimes, if the president is accused of a crime, they will respond by appointing new people to key positions in the government. This allows the president to put people in charge who will protect them and their interests. But when a president is charged with a crime and Congress wants to impeach them, they have to be careful. If they wait too long, they could end up giving the president too much power. If Congress charges the president with a crime, they have to make sure they do it soon enough so that they don’t give the president too much time to build up his or her defense. When the president is accused of wrongdoing, their appointees will often resign from their positions. They may also make changes to government programs and policies. But once Congress charges the president with a crime and begins impeachment proceedings, the president will often make fewer changes.
Congress Doesn’t Always Act
Another reason why impeachment hasn’t been used more often is that Congress doesn’t always act. It’s true that the House of Representatives has the power to bring formal charges against the president. They also have the power to convict the president. If the House votes to impeach the president, it will go to the Senate for a trial. But there are some problems with this process. For one thing, it’s easy for the House to make mistakes. If the House goes too far and brings false charges against the president, it can cause unnecessary harm. The president can also be accused of crimes that are brought up too soon. This can be dangerous because it can give the president too much power. If Congress brings charges against the president that aren’t justified, it can set a bad precedent for future leaders. It can also bring a lot of attention to the president and make it difficult for them to govern. For these reasons, it’s very important for Congress to carefully consider impeachment charges before bringing them forward.
Some Presidents Are Just Scoundrels
Sometimes, a president can be impeached for legitimate reasons. And sometimes, a president can be impeached because they’re not particularly good at their job. There are probably many reasons why Congress has only taken this action against a few presidents. One reason is that some presidents just don’t deserve to be impeached. If Congress were to impeach every president who’s not doing a good job, it would make it very difficult to get new, qualified leaders into office. It’s important to keep in mind that impeachment is serious business. If Congress brings charges against the president and they aren’t serious enough to warrant impeachment, it can make the entire process seem meaningless.
As we have seen throughout this article, the impeachment process is a long and drawn-out affair. While it has proven an effective way of removing dangerous leaders from power, it has also been criticized as being undemocratic in its nature. While the current president is not likely to be impeached, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility. We’ve seen how the impeachment process works, so now all we can do is wait and see how things play out.