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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 19 impeachments tried by the Senate and eight convictions. Three of the best-known cases, which did not result 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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, and 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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). In 1974 the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives voted 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).

References in periodicals archive ?
Finally, about 48 percent of respondents said impeaching the president would be appropriate in light of the Department of Justice's controversial seizure of phone records belonging to AP reporters and editors.
Impeaching President Bush will not correct the problems he brought upon us.
The 2007 Bush-Cheney Impeachments: Year 2008 10th Grade Civics Exam by Civil Rights Advocate and attorney Craig Leslie draws upon his expertise earned in over fifteen years of practicing case law to lay out the complete case to date for impeaching President George W.
Yankee Doodle Dandies can declare with pride that this is a country where you can hire 100 union musicians to sing about impeaching the president in the hallowed studios of Capitol Records, where legendary American Frank Sinatra downed highballs and charmed the dames with impeccable phrasing, and no jackbooted thugs or Mr.
The case for impeaching President Bush has grown more compelling over the last year, as evidence emerged that the President lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, systematically disregarded laws protecting human rights abroad and civil rights at home in the name of the "war on terror," and, most recently, is conducting a secret, illegal wiretapping program that targets American citizens.
Cole stated that impeaching judges who refuse to listen to Congress is also a possibility.
What are the grounds for impeaching a US President?
Duterte's comment about impeaching Morales as simply that of 'an ordinary citizens who says 'I will file an impeachment complaint in Congress.
With the Congress hardly making efforts to look into the possibilities of impeaching President Donald Trump, a new poll revealed that 42 percent of Americans feel the president should be impeached.
He feels very strongly about the tragedy in Benghazi and has said that Congress should consider impeaching the President over the tragedy," he said.