In a shocking turn of events, the US House of Representatives has announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. The inquiry, led by Republicans, is set to scrutinize the President’s alleged involvement in his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
The Republicans have detailed foreign payments to members of Joe Biden’s family but have yet to provide concrete evidence that the President had personally benefited. The first hearing of the impeachment inquiry took place on Thursday, with the focus on reviewing constitutional and legal questions.
Despite months of investigation, no substantial evidence of misconduct by President Biden has been unearthed. Democrats argue that the impeachment endeavor is an attempt to muddy the waters for former President Donald Trump and the four indictments he’s facing.
Stay tuned as we continue to bring you the latest updates on this developing story. Will this be a turning point in American politics or just another chapter in the ongoing saga? Only time will tell.
Grounds for impeachment in the United States
In the United States, impeachment is a process by which a legislature may bring charges against an officeholder for misconduct. The Constitution defines the grounds for impeachment and conviction as “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.
The House of Representatives brings articles (charges) of impeachment against an official. If the House adopts the articles by a simple majority vote, the official has been impeached. This triggers a federal impeachment trial in the United States Senate, which can vote by a 2/3 majority to convict an official, removing them from office. The Senate can also further, with just a simple-majority vote, vote to bar an individual convicted in a senate impeachment trial from holding future federal office.
It’s important to note that impeachment proceedings are remedial rather than punitive in nature, and the remedy is limited to removal from office. Because the process is not punitive, a party may also be subject to criminal or civil trial, prosecution, and conviction under the law after removal from office.
US presidents impeachment history
Only three U.S. presidents have been formally impeached by Congress— Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump. One of those presidents, Donald Trump, was impeached twice during his single term. No U.S. president has ever been removed from office through impeachment.
Articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, was impeached by the United States House of Representatives of the 105th United States Congress on December 19, 1998, for “high crimes and misdemeanors”. The House adopted two articles of impeachment against Clinton:
- Perjury: This charge was related to Clinton’s testimony denying that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones. The House approved this charge.
- Obstruction of Justice: This charge was also approved by the House.
Two other articles had been considered but were rejected by the House vote. These charges stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones and allegations made in the Starr Report. Despite being impeached, Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and remained in office.
How many votes are needed to impeach a president?
In the United States, impeachment is a two-step process that involves the House of Representatives and the Senate.
- Impeachment: The House of Representatives brings articles (charges) of impeachment against an official. If the House adopts the articles by a simple majority vote, the official has been impeached. This means at least 218 out of 435 votes are needed in the House to impeach a president.
- Conviction and Removal from Office: After impeachment, a federal impeachment trial is held in the United States Senate. The Senate can vote by a 2/3 majority to convict an official, removing them from office. This means at least 67 out of 100 votes are needed in the Senate to remove a president from office.
How many US presidents have been impeached and removed from office?
No U.S. president has ever been removed from office through impeachment. While three U.S. presidents — Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump — have been formally impeached by Congress, none of them were convicted by the Senate, which is the necessary step for removal from office.
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