What happens if you get impeached? What does it mean?

2 Answers

  • Impeachment of a public official is much the same thing as being charged with a crime. A charge is only a charge, so it means nothing except that there IS a charge and it needs to be tried. The result of the trial could be a conviction or an acquittal, just the same as if you or I were charged with doing something criminal.

    In the case of a US President, the House of Representatives can impeach the President by voting. If it votes for that, then the Senate must hold a trial, in the same way as a trial in a criminal court. The US Chief Justice must preside over the Senate acting as a court. If the Senate votes that the President is guilty by a 2/3 majority, the President is out of office.

    But that’s all it does – kick him out of office. If he’s actually done something a normal criminal court could try by jury and sentence him for, the appropriate criminal court needs to do that separately.

    While we’re at it, only two US Presidents have ever been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Both were acquitted after trial in the Senate.

    A more interesting one is Richard Nixon… I was only young at the time but I remember it on the news. The House Judiciary Committee investigated and came up with three possible charges but Nixon resigned before the full House could consider impeachment, so it never got that far. Not really surprising as the evidence showed he was guilty as hell of complicity in burgling the Democrat HQ in the Watergate building. So this is the one time where impeachment, or rather the threat of it, actually did force a President out of the White House.

    That was kind of like normal criminal proceedings, really… if you’re obviously guilty and you KNOW that’s how it will look at the trial, why would you waste thousands of dollars on lawyers to fight the charges at trial? You might as well plead guilty in the first place.

  • Impeachment: Myths, Facts, and History

    Ask your school board why they don’t teach this.

    May 17, 2017

    Public calls for Donald Trump’s impeachment began on his Inauguration Day. Now, Congress is beginning to mention it. Few rank-and-file Americans understand impeachment or the odds of it happening. It does not mean that the president is fired.


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