What Does Impeached Mean?

Okay, so the President has been impeached. Now what?

President Donald Trump became the third president in American history to be impeached. He joins Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

So what does it mean to be impeached?

To compare it to legal terms, it is similar to being indicted by a Grand Jury. In the legal world, they say that an indictment is only an allegation. The same is true here. Just as in the criminal legal world, the next step is a trial. The Senate will now have a trial to determine if the President is guilty of the crimes he has been charged with.

In October 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors” for lying under oath and obstruction of justice related to his sexual harassment lawsuit by Paula Jones as well as denying that he engaged in sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. In the Senate trial, he was acquitted by a vote of 55-45.

In February 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors” for violating the Tenure of Office Act when he removed Edwin Stanton as the Secretary of War and replace him with General Lorenzo Thomas. In the Senate trial, Johnson was acquitted by a single vote as the Senate failed to gain the two-thirds majority vote that was needed for conviction.

Many think that President Richard Nixon was impeached; however, he resigned from office on August 9, 1974 after three articles of impeachment had been adopted on July 30, 1974.

Regardless of which side you are on in this latest impeachment, it does nothing to remove the president who is in office. It is merely the next step in the process.

The current trial is expected to begin in early January and it is not clear how long it will last. The impeachment trial of Bill Clinton lasted five weeks.