What is Impeachment?

By: Mattias Gariepy

With the impeachment process coming to an end soon for Donald Trump, people have been wondering how impeachment actually works, what happens if you’re impeached, and how students handle this situation? 

In this article, I will help explain how impeachment works, not only for the president, but also congress, the judicial branch, and any executive staff members; as well as the results of Donald Trump Impeachment.

What is impeachment?

Impeachment is the process of removing a person from office, whether it be sena

te, judicial, executive staff, or even the president. According to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, the House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach an official, while the Senate are in charge of the trial for impeachment. 

This rarely happens for the president, and can only occur if Congress finds the president did something illegal. There have only been three presidents in history who have been impeached besides President Trump. These were Presidents Andrew Johnson, William Clinton, and Richard Nixon. 

Nixon resigned the presidency before his impeachment trial, making him the first president in history to resign from office prior to the end of his term. Presidential impeachment trials are generally presided over by the chief of justice of the United States.

How does the impeachment process go?

The process of impeachment begins with the House of Representatives charging an official of the federal government, by majority vote, on articles of the Constitution that they believe were broken. Once the vote has been settled, a committee of representatives (known as “Managers”) are called up to be the official prosecutors. 

The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict, with the penalty for an impeached official. The Senate serves as a high court for impeachment, reviewing the evidence, hearing witnesses, and voting to acquit or convict the impeached official. 

If the vote is passed for any committed official against treason, bribery, and/or other high crimes and misdemeanors, then they will be impeached and can’t run for office ever again. However, if they are not convicted, then that person is allowed to stay in their position and/or run again in the future for office.

What are the opinions of students regarding what’s going on?

Impeachment not only affects the older generation, but also the younger one. Both of the students interviewed wished/asked to be reminded anonymously for the newspaper article.

One student at William Peace said, “Seeing all of the new footage and pictures of where our country was just a few weeks ago is hard to see. It’s hard to see a leader not take a stand against the violence. I think it’s crazy to watch adults argue over whether or not our own President incited such violence upon our people. Overall, I just find it sad.”  

While another student said “It embarrasses me to be part of this country where it takes something that extreme to impeach a man who has spent a majority of his life spouting lies and hate. I’m not sure how anyone can look at the last four years and not see the radicalization effect that he has had on followers, and how anyone cannot be terrified of what that means for our country and us as a society. It’s an embarrassment that this is happening and it’s an embarrassment that he was acquitted. This is going to be one of those moments future generations look back on in disgust wondering how it happened.” 

Impeachment can be a long process, with some taking even months to happen. It has no bias and can affect all ages, races, and genders. In the case of Donald Trump though, the impeachment was actually pretty quick, with the trial taking place less than a month after the alleged offense. 

On February 13th, Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate for any crimes held against him for a second time. Students can learn more about the history of impeachment and the types of trials that were held (20 total) at: https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Senate_Impeachment_Role.htm 


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