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ConservativeAction.org: What is Impeachment?

What is Impeachment?

Impeachment was provided for by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution as a safeguard against corruption and abuse of power by the President, Vice President and other officials. Our system of checks and balances gives Congress the authority to investigate and impeach elected and appointed officials if unethical or criminal wrongdoing has occurred. Impeachment is only an action of removal from office, and not a criminal trial. However, an impeached person would not be exempt from indictment, prosecution and imprisonment by the criminal justice system, which in the case of President Clinton such action would obviously be warranted.

According to Article I, Section II of the Constitution, the House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment, and an inquiry and proceedings usually begin in the House Judiciary Committee. Section III states that if a majority of the House votes for impeachment, there is a trial before the Senate, with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presiding. If a two-thirds majority vote takes place, the impeached body is removed from office and banned from all future offices. He may then be tried and convicted in a criminal court.

Historically, impeachment has been used for mostly political reasons as a way of judging one's performance and suitability in office. In 1868, the House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson because he unjustly fired his War Secretary. He avoided removal from office by a Senate vote of 35-19, one vote shy of a guilty verdict. In 1974, the Democrats targeted President Nixon over Watergate and drafted Articles of Impeachment for consideration by the full House. He resigned before there was a vote.

Nonetheless, in the case of our current sitting President, Mr. Clinton warrants impeachment for blatant and explicit violations of federal law and the Constitution. According to Article II, Section IV, a President can be impeached for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors." The Lewinsky affair, the 1996 fundraising scandals/Chinagate, Whitewatergate, Filegate and Travelgate could find Clinton guilty of these most serious charges.

More and more American citizens are beginning to assess the Clinton White House as the most corrupt and criminal presidential administration in this country's history. The enormous body of evidence---from numerous Congressional investigations, independent counsels, and published news reports---- is enough to begin impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. If the Constitution has any value to restoring the peoples' faith in our system of government, Congress must uphold their public oaths to us and start the impeachment process now.


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