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The History Place: Presidential Impeachment Proceedings


Impeachment President and Congress The President President's Job, Part I President's Job, Part II President's Cabinet President Has Fun

Impeachment

When a new president is elected to office, he or she takes an oath that lists many heavy responsibilities. Abuse of power or failure to uphold these responsibilities cannot be tolerated. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the right to impeach the president. Impeachment means that a charge of misconduct is filed against the president. A majority of the members of the House must vote for these charges in order to impeach the president.

After the charges of misconduct are filed, the Senate has the power to try impeachment cases like a court. Two-thirds of the senators must vote for conviction. The president may be removed from office and never allowed to hold a government position again if he is found guilty.

Our 17th president, Andrew Johnson, was impeached while in office. Thirty-five senators found him guilty -- just one vote short of the two-thirds vote necessary to convict him.

President Richard Nixon resigned from office rather than face impeachment charges in the Watergate scandal in 1974. President Bill Clinton became the second president to be impeached by the House in 1998. Later, the Senate found him not guilty.

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