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in Great Britain and United States, formal accusation issued by a legislature against a public official charged with crime or other serious misconduct. In a looser sense the term is sometimes applied also to the trial by the legislature that may follow. In other countries, impeachment may refer to the removal of a public official from office instead of the accusation. Impeachment developed in England, beginning in the 14th cent., as a means of trying officials suspected of dereliction of duty. The English procedure was for the House of Commons to prosecute by presenting articles of impeachment to the House of Lords, which rendered judgment. Any penalty, including death, might be inflicted. The impeachment (1787) and trial (1788–95) of Warren HastingsHastings, Warren,
1732–1818, first governor-general of British India. Employed (1750) as a clerk by the East India Company, he soon became manager of a trading post in Bengal.
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 was among the last of the English cases.

In the United States impeachment of public officials is provided for in the federal government and in most states. In federal matters the U.S. Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power to impeach civil officers of the United States, including the President and Vice President, but not including members of Congress. Impeachments are tried by the Senate, with the concurrence of two thirds of the members present needed for conviction. The sole penalties on conviction are removal from office and disqualification from holding other federal office; however, the convicted party is liable to subsequent criminal trial and punishment for the same offense.

There have been 20 impeachments tried by the Senate and eight convictions. Four of the best-known cases, none of which resulted in conviction, were those of Supreme Court Justice Samuel ChaseChase, Samuel,
1741–1811, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1796–1811), b. Somerset co., Md.
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, President Andrew JohnsonJohnson, Andrew,
1808–75, 17th President of the United States (1865–69), b. Raleigh, N.C. Early Life

His father died when Johnson was 3, and at 14 he was apprenticed to a tailor.
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, President Bill Clinton (see Lewinsky scandalLewinsky scandal
, sensation that enveloped the presidency of Bill Clinton in 1998–99, leading to his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives and acquittal by the Senate.
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), and President Donald TrumpTrump, Donald John,
1946–, 45th president of the United States (2017–), b. New York City. Prior to his election as president in 2016, he was a business executive and television personality rather than a political leader. After attending Fordham Univ.
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. The Senate trial of Trump was notable for its lack of witnesses. The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives voted in 1974 to bring impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon (see Watergate affairWatergate affair,
in U.S. history, series of scandals involving the administration of President Richard M. Nixon; more specifically, the burglarizing of the Democratic party national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.
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), but Nixon resigned before the House took action.


See studies by I. Brant (1972), R. Berger (1973), C. L. Black, Jr. (1974), J. R. Labovitz (1978), R. A. Posner (1999), and C. R. Sunstein (2018).

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References in periodicals archive ?
On Tuesday, MCAs impeached the executive saying the orders had elapsed.
Previously, Luna said: 'Vice President Robredo's expression of support to the UNHRC resolution against the Philippine government may cause her to be impeached.'
In Laikipia, the County Assembly last week impeached the Executive for Finance Boniface Ndai.
The results are divided along partisan lines, with 7 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 81 percent of Democrats saying Trump should be impeached.
The House has also impeached presidents for behaviour that undermines the constitutional system or that brings shame to the office of president, regardless of whether that behaviour was criminal.
Zargo insists that from the beginning of the impeachment hearing to the end, he was on the side of the impeached Associate Justice, saying 'My position is consistent with my party's position.'
Thirty-nine percent of those polled said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 20 percent believe that the president should be formally censured by Congress.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that Mrs Maduagwu was impeached by 22 out of 30 members of the state assembly.
Economic affairs and finance minister for Iran, Masoud Karbasian, was impeached over alleged charges of mismanagement of the ministry and economic issues.
"I'll tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash," he said.
WASHINGTON, Aug 23 (KUNA) -- US President Donald Trump said Thursday that the stock market would "crash" if he ever got impeached. In an interview with "Fox and Friends," Trump said "I don't know how you can impeach somebody who's done a great job." "If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash.
The Chairman and Leader of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray has denied being impeached by so-called members of the ADP that held a press conference two weeks ago at SLAJ office where they said he has been impeached.