Tammy from Covington, Georgia, USA has asked us What is impeachment? We answer this and a few more questions for Tammy below.
Impeachment is a process where a legislative body decides the levels of charges against a government official. Impeachment itself does not actually remove the government official from office and is essentially a guide of charges which gets put forwards to assess anything more.
Once impreached, the person must then face the possibility of a criminal conviction, however, they usually remain in office during this process.
Impeachment is a rare process and the awareness of this process has currently been increased due to the US vote by politians against President Donald Trump (Correct as of 16th January 2020).
President Donald Trump has been impeached by the US politicians and now faces a trial in the Senate.
If Donald Trump is found guilty in the Senate, then he will be removed from office. The Vice-president Mike Pence would then take the oath of office and become the next US president.
As it stands today (16th January 2020), no US presient has been removed from power due to impeachment.
However, Richard Nixon quit as President of the United States in 1974 before the impreachment proceedings began. Had he have gone to trial, it would have been highly likely that he would have been removed from office.
Yes, there has been with the first recorded being in 1376 when William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer and the last being recorded in 1806 of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville.
In 1967, it was recommended by The Select Committee on Parlimentary Privilege in 1967 “that the right to impeach, which had long been in disuse, be now formally abandoned”.
The Joint Committe on Parliamentary Privilege in 1999 noted the previous recommendations and stated “The circumstances in which impeachment has taken place are now so remote from the present that the procedure may be considered obsolete”.
While not officially known, the word “impeachment” likely comes from Old French – empeechier from Latin word impedire.
It means the idea of catching or ensaring by the ‘foot’.
It may also come from words meaning, throwing the out to sea.