Impeachment

Impeachment

Overview
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment.

The word "impeachment" derives from Latin roots expressing the idea of becoming caught or entrapped, and has analogues in the modern French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 verb empêcher (to prevent) and the modern English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 impede.
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Timeline

1804   The Democratic-Republican-controlled United States Senate begins an impeachment trial against Federalist-partisan Supreme Court of the United States Justice Samuel Chase.

1805   Justice Samuel Chase is acquitted at the end of his impeachment trial by the U.S. Senate.

1868   Andrew Johnson becomes the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives. He is later acquitted in the Senate.

1868   A court of impeachment is organized in the United States Senate to hear charges against President Andrew Johnson.

1868   President Andrew Johnson is acquitted in his impeachment trial by one vote in the United States Senate.

1868   The impeachment trial of U.S. President Andrew Johnson ends with Johnson being found not guilty by one vote.

1871   In North Carolina, William Woods Holden becomes the first governor of a U.S. state to be removed from office by impeachment.

1974   Watergate Scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.

1974   Watergate Scandal: the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment (for obstruction of justice) against President Richard Nixon.

1988   Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona is convicted in his impeachment trial and removed from office.

 
Encyclopedia
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment.

The word "impeachment" derives from Latin roots expressing the idea of becoming caught or entrapped, and has analogues in the modern French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 verb empêcher (to prevent) and the modern English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 impede. Medieval popular etymology also associated it (wrongly) with derivations from the Latin impetere (to attack). (In its more frequent and more technical usage, impeachment
Witness impeachment
Witness impeachment, in the law of evidence, is the process of calling into question the credibility of an individual who is testifying in a trial...

 of a person in the role of a witness
Witness
A witness is someone who has firsthand knowledge about an event, or in the criminal justice systems usually a crime, through his or her senses and can help certify important considerations about the crime or event. A witness who has seen the event first hand is known as an eyewitness...

 is the act of challenging the honesty or credibility of that person.)

The process should not be confused with a recall election
Recall election
A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended...

. A recall election is usually initiated by voters and can be based on "political charges", for example mismanagement, whereas impeachment is initiated by a constitutional body (usually a legislative body) and is usually, but not always, based on an indictable offense. The process of removing the official is also different.

Impeachment was first used in the British political system. More specifically, the process was first used by the English "Good Parliament" against Baron Latimer
William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer
William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer, KG was an English noble, soldier and diplomat. After serving in France and for the household of Edward III, he was impeached during the Good Parliament of 1376, the earliest recorded impeachment in the Parliament of England.-Early life and service in France:Born...

 in the second half of the 14th century. Following the British example, the constitutions of Virginia (1776) and Massachusetts (1780) and other states thereafter adopted the impeachment doctrine, however they restricted the punishment to removal of the official from office. In private organizations, a motion to impeach can be used to prefer charges.

United Kingdom


In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, all persons, whether peers or commoners, may be prosecuted and tried by the two Houses
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

 for any crimes whatever. The first recorded impeachment is that of William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer
William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer
William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer, KG was an English noble, soldier and diplomat. After serving in France and for the household of Edward III, he was impeached during the Good Parliament of 1376, the earliest recorded impeachment in the Parliament of England.-Early life and service in France:Born...

 during the Good Parliament
Good Parliament
The Good Parliament is the name traditionally given to the English Parliament of 1376. Sitting in London from April 28 to July 10, it was the longest Parliament up until that time....

 of 1376. The last was that of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville PC and Baron Dunira was a Scottish lawyer and politician. He was the first Secretary of State for War and the last person to be impeached in the United Kingdom....

 in 1806.

Procedure


In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, it is the House of Commons that holds the power of initiating an impeachment. Any member may make accusations of any crime. The member must support the charges with evidence and move
Motion (parliamentary procedure)
In parliamentary procedure, a motion is a formal proposal by a member of a deliberative assembly that the assembly take certain action. In a parliament, this is also called a parliamentary motion and includes legislative motions, budgetary motions, supplementary budgetary motions, and petitionary...

 for impeachment. If the Commons carries the motion, the mover receives orders to go to the bar at the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 and to impeach the accused "in the name of the House of Commons, and all the commons of the United Kingdom."

The mover must tell the Lords that the House of Commons will, in due time, exhibit particular articles against the accused, and make good the same. The Commons then usually selects a committee to draw up the charges and create an "Article of Impeachment" for each. (In the case of Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings PC was the first Governor-General of India, from 1773 to 1785. He was famously accused of corruption in an impeachment in 1787, but was acquitted in 1795. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1814.-Early life:...

, however, the drawing up of the articles preceded the formal impeachment.) Once the committee has delivered the articles to the Lords, replies go between the accused and the Commons via the Lords. If the Commons have impeached a peer, the Lords take custody of the accused, otherwise custody goes to Black Rod. The accused remains in custody unless the Lords allow bail. The Lords set a date for the trial while the Commons appoints managers, who act as prosecutors in the trial. The accused may defend by counsel.

The House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 hears the case. The procedure used to be that the Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 presided (or the Lord High Steward
Lord High Steward
The position of Lord High Steward of England is the first of the Great Officers of State. The office has generally remained vacant since 1421, except at coronations and during the trials of peers in the House of Lords, when the Lord High Steward presides. In general, but not invariably, the Lord...

 if the defendant was a peer
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

). However since the Lord Chancellor today is no longer a judge, it is not certain who would preside over an impeachment trial today. If Parliament is not in session, then the trial is conducted by a "Court of the Lord High Steward" instead of the House of Lords (even if the defendant is not a peer). The differences between this court and the House of Lords are that in the House all of the peers are judges of both law and fact, whereas in the Court the Lord High Steward is the sole judge of fact and the peers decide the facts only; and the bishops are not entitled to sit and vote in the Court.

The hearing resembles an ordinary trial: both sides may call witnesses and present evidence. At the end of the hearing the lords vote on the verdict, which is decided by a simple majority, one charge at a time. Upon being called, a lord must rise and declare "guilty, upon my honour" or "not guilty, upon my honour". After voting on all of the articles has taken place, and if the Lords find the defendant guilty, the Commons may move for judgment; the Lords may not declare the punishment until the Commons have so moved. The Lords may then decide whatever punishment they find fit, within the law. A royal pardon
Pardon
Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves...

 cannot excuse the defendant from trial, but a pardon may reprieve a convicted defendant. However, a pardon cannot override a decision to remove the defendant from the public office they hold.

History


Parliament has held the power of impeachment since mediæval times. Originally, the House of Lords held that impeachment could only apply to members of the peerage
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

 (nobles), as the nobility (the Lords) would try their own peers, while commoners ought to try their peers (other commoners) in a jury
Jury
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the guilt, or lack thereof, in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be guilty,...

. However, in 1681, the Commons declared that they had the right to impeach whomsoever they pleased, and the Lords have respected this resolution.

After the reign of Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

, impeachment fell into disuse, the bill of attainder
Bill of attainder
A bill of attainder is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without benefit of a judicial trial.-English law:...

 becoming the preferred form of dealing with undesirable subjects of the Crown. However, during the reign of James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 and thereafter, impeachments became more popular, as they did not require the assent of the Crown, while bills of attainder did, thus allowing Parliament to resist royal attempts to dominate Parliament. The most recent cases of impeachment dealt with Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings PC was the first Governor-General of India, from 1773 to 1785. He was famously accused of corruption in an impeachment in 1787, but was acquitted in 1795. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1814.-Early life:...

, Governor-General of India between 1773 and 1786 (impeached in 1788
Impeachment of Warren Hastings
The Impeachment of Warren Hastings was a failed attempt to impeach the former Governor-General of India Warren Hastings in the Parliament of Great Britain between 1788 and 1795. Hastings was accused of misconduct during his time in Calcutta particularly relating to mismanagement and personal...

; the Lords found him not guilty in 1795), and Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville PC and Baron Dunira was a Scottish lawyer and politician. He was the first Secretary of State for War and the last person to be impeached in the United Kingdom....

, First Lord of the Admiralty, in 1806 (acquitted). The last attempted impeachment occurred in 1848, when David Urquhart
David Urquhart
David Urquhart was a Scottish diplomat and writer.. He was a Member of Parliament 1847-52.-Early life and family:...

 accused Lord Palmerston of having signed a secret treaty with Imperial Russia and of receiving monies from the Tsar
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...

. Palmerston survived the vote in the Commons; the Lords did not hear the case.

Impeachment in modern politics


The procedure has, over time, become rarely used and some legal authorities (such as Halsbury's Laws of England
Halsbury's Laws of England
Halsbury's Laws of England is a uniquely comprehensive and authoritative encyclopaedia of law, and provides the only complete narrative statement of law in England and Wales. It has an alphabetised title scheme covering all areas of law, drawing on authorities including Acts of the United Kingdom,...

) consider it to be probably obsolete. The principles of "responsible government" require that the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 and other executive officers answer to Parliament, rather than to the Sovereign. Thus the Commons can remove such an officer through a motion of no confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

 without a long, drawn-out impeachment. However, it is argued by some that the remedy of impeachment remains as part of British constitutional law, and that legislation would be required to abolish it. Furthermore, impeachment as a means of punishment for wrongdoing, as distinct from being a means of removing a minister, remains a valid reason for accepting that it continues to be available, at least in theory.

In April 1977 the Young Liberals
Young Liberals
Young Liberals can mean the following:*Young Liberals , the youth wing of the Liberal Party of Australia* Young Liberals , a liberal party in Austria...

' annual conference unanimously passed a motion to call on the Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 leader (David Steel
David Steel
David Martin Scott Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood, KT, KBE, PC is a British Liberal Democrat politician who served as the Leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 until its merger with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats...

) to move for the impeachment of Ronald King Murray
Ronald King Murray
Ronald King Murray, Lord Murray PC is a former Scottish Labour politician and judge.Educated at George Watson's College, Edinburgh, the University of Edinburgh and Jesus College, Oxford, he served in the REME and SEAC from 1941 to 1946. He was admitted as an advocate in 1953, served as an Advocate...

 QC, the Lord Advocate
Lord Advocate
Her Majesty's Advocate , known as the Lord Advocate , is the chief legal officer of the Scottish Government and the Crown in Scotland for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament...

. Mr. Steel did not call the motion but Murray (now Lord Murray, a former Senator of the College of Justice of Scotland) agrees that the Commons still have the right to initiate an impeachment motion. On 25 August 2004, Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

 MP Adam Price
Adam Price
Adam Price is a politician in Wales, and former Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. He was elected to Parliament in the 2001 general election and re-elected in 2005 but stood down at the 2010 election...

 announced his intention to move for the impeachment
Impeach Blair campaign
On 26 August 2004, a cross-party group of British MPs announced their campaign to impeach the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time, Tony Blair for high crimes and misdemeanours.A campaign to impeach the US President, George W...

 of Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 for his role in involving Britain in the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. In response Peter Hain
Peter Hain
Peter Gerald Hain is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for the Welsh constituency of Neath since 1991, and has served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, firstly as Leader of the House of Commons under Blair and both Secretary of State for...

, the Commons Leader
Leader of the House of Commons
The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

, insisted that impeachment was obsolete, given modern government's responsibility to parliament. Ironically, Peter Hain
Peter Hain
Peter Gerald Hain is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for the Welsh constituency of Neath since 1991, and has served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, firstly as Leader of the House of Commons under Blair and both Secretary of State for...

 had served as president of the Young Liberals when they called for the impeachment of Mr. Murray in 1977.

In 2006, General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 Sir
Sir
Sir is an honorific used as a title , or as a courtesy title to address a man without using his given or family name in many English speaking cultures...

 Michael Rose
Hugh Michael Rose
General Sir Hugh Michael Rose KCB, CBE, DSO, QGM , often known as Mike Rose, is a retired British Army General. As well as commanding 22 Special Air Service Regiment, he was Commander UNPROFOR Bosnia in 1994 during the Yugoslav Wars.-Early life:The stepson of British author John Masters, Rose was...

 revived the call for the impeachment of Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, for leading the country into the invasion of Iraq in 2003 under allegedly false justification.

United States



Similar to the British system, Article One of the United States Constitution
Article One of the United States Constitution
Article One of the United States Constitution describes the powers of Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government. The Article establishes the powers of and limitations on the Congress, consisting of a House of Representatives composed of Representatives, with each state gaining or...

 gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments. Unlike the British system, impeachment is only the first of two stages, and conviction requires a two-thirds vote. Impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office; it is only a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment
Indictment
An indictment , in the common-law legal system, is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that maintain the concept of felonies, the serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that lack the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an...

 in criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

. An official who is impeached faces a second legislative vote (whether by the same body or another), which determines conviction, or failure to convict, on the charges embodied by the impeachment. Most constitutions require a supermajority
Supermajority
A supermajority or a qualified majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level or type of support which exceeds a simple majority . In some jurisdictions, for example, parliamentary procedure requires that any action that may alter the rights of the minority has a supermajority...

 to convict. Although the subject of the charge is criminal action, it does not constitute a criminal trial; the only question under consideration is the removal of the individual from office, and the possibility of a subsequent vote preventing the removed official from ever again holding political office in the jurisdiction where he was removed. Impeachment with respect to political office should not be confused with witness impeachment
Witness impeachment
Witness impeachment, in the law of evidence, is the process of calling into question the credibility of an individual who is testifying in a trial...

.

Impeachable offenses


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, impeachment can occur both at the federal and state level. The Constitution defines impeachment at the federal level and limits impeachment to "The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States" who may only be impeached and removed for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors". Several commentators have suggested that Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 alone may decide for itself what constitutes a "high crime or misdemeanor". In 1970, then-House Minority Leader
Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives
Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives are elected by their respective parties in a closed-door caucus by secret ballot and are also known as floor leaders. The U.S. House of Representatives does not officially use the term "Minority Leader", although the media frequently does...

 Gerald R. Ford defined the criterion as he saw it: "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history." Four years later, Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 would become president when President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 resigned under the threat of impeachment.

Article III of the Constitution states that judges remain in office "during good behavior", implying that Congress may remove a judge for bad behavior via impeachment and conviction. The House has impeached 14 federal judges and the Senate has convicted six of them.

Officials subject to impeachment


The central question regarding the Constitutional dispute about the impeachment of members of the legislature is whether members of Congress are officers of the United States. The Constitution grants the House the power to impeach "The President, the Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States." It has been suggested that members of Congress are not officers of the United States. Others, however, believe that members are civil officers and are subject to impeachment.

The House of Representatives did impeach a senator once: Senator William Blount
William Blount
William Blount, was a United States statesman. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention for North Carolina, the first and only governor of the Southwest Territory, and Democratic-Republican Senator from Tennessee . He played a major role in establishing the state of Tennessee. He was the...

, in 1798. The Senate expelled Senator Blount and, after initially hearing his impeachment, dismissed the charges for lack of jurisdiction. Left unsettled was the question whether members of Congress were civil officers of the United States. The House has not impeached a Member of Congress since Blount. As each House has the authority to expel its own members without involving the other chamber, expulsion has been the method used for removing Members of Congress.

Jefferson's Manual
Jefferson's Manual
Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States, written by Thomas Jefferson in 1801, is the first American book on parliamentary procedure. As vice-president of the United States, Jefferson served as the Senate's presiding officer from 1797 to 1801...

, which is integral to the Rules of the House of Representatives, states that impeachment is set in motion by charges made on the floor, charges preferred by a memorial, a member's resolution referred to a committee, a message from the president, charges transmitted from the legislature of a state or territory or from a grand jury, or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House. It further states that a proposition to impeach is a question of high privilege in the House and at once supersedes business otherwise in order under the rules governing the order of business.

Process


The impeachment process is a two-step procedure. The House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 must first pass by a simple majority articles of impeachment, which constitute the formal allegation or allegations. Upon their passage, the defendant has been "impeached". Next, the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 tries the accused. In the case of the impeachment of a president, the Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 presides over the proceedings. For the impeachment of any other official, the Constitution is silent on who shall preside, suggesting that this role falls to the Senate's usual presiding officer. This may include the impeachment of the vice president, although legal theories suggest that allowing a defendant to be the judge in his own case would be a blatant conflict of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

. If the Vice President did not preside over an impeachment (of anyone besides the President), the duties would fall to the President pro tempore of the Senate
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
The President pro tempore is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. The United States Constitution states that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate and the highest-ranking official of the Senate despite not being a member of the body...

.

To convict the accused, a two-thirds majority of the senators present is required. Conviction automatically removes the defendant from office. Following conviction, the Senate may vote to further punish the individual by barring him from holding future federal office, elected or appointed. Conviction by the Senate does not bar criminal prosecution. Even after an accused has left office, it is possible to impeach to disqualify the person from future office or from certain emoluments of his prior office (such as a pension). If there is no charge for which a two-thirds majority of the senators present vote "guilty", the defendant is acquitted and no punishment is imposed.

History of Federal Impeachment Proceedings in the United States


Congress regards impeachment as a power to be used only in extreme cases; the House has initiated impeachment proceedings only 64 times since 1789 (most recently against Judge Thomas Porteous
Thomas Porteous
Gabriel Thomas Porteous, Jr. is a former United States federal judge who served for sixteen years before being impeached and removed from office in December 2010.-Background:...

 of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is a federal trial court based in New Orleans. Like all U.S...

) with only the following 19 of these proceedings actually resulting in the House passing Articles of Impeachment:
  • Two presidents:
    • Andrew Johnson
      Andrew Johnson
      Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

      , Democrat/National Union, was impeached in 1868 after violating the then-newly created Tenure of Office Act. President Johnson was acquitted by the Senate, falling one vote short of the necessary 2/3 needed to remove him from office, voting 35-19 to remove him. The Tenure of Office Act would later be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States
      Supreme Court of the United States
      The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

       in dicta
      Obiter dictum
      Obiter dictum is Latin for a statement "said in passing". An obiter dictum is a remark or observation made by a judge that, although included in the body of the court's opinion, does not form a necessary part of the court's decision...

      .
    • Bill Clinton
      Bill Clinton
      William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

      , Democrat, was impeached
      Impeachment of Bill Clinton
      Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998, but acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of...

       on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives on articles charging perjury
      Perjury
      Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

       (specifically, lying to a federal grand jury
      Grand jury
      A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

      ) by a 228–206 vote, and obstruction of justice
      Obstruction of justice
      The crime of obstruction of justice, in United States jurisdictions, refers to the crime of interfering with the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other officials...

       by a 221–212 vote. The House rejected other articles. One was a count of perjury
      Perjury
      Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

       in a civil deposition in Paula Jones
      Paula Jones
      Paula Corbin Jones is a former Arkansas state employee who sued U.S. President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment. The lawsuit was dismissed before trial on the grounds that Jones failed to demonstrate any damages...

      's sexual harassment
      Sexual harassment
      Sexual harassment, is intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. In some contexts or circumstances, sexual harassment is illegal. It includes a range of behavior from seemingly mild transgressions and...

       lawsuit against Clinton (by a 205–229 vote) and an article which accused Clinton of abuse of power
      Abuse of Power
      Abuse of Power is a novel written by radio talk show host Michael Savage.- Plot :Jack Hatfield is a hardened former war correspondent who rose to national prominence for his insightful, provocative commentary...

       by a 48–285 vote. President Clinton was acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. The Senate vote fell short of the necessary 2/3 needed to remove him from office, voting 45-55 to remove him on obstruction of justice and 50-50 on perjury.
  • One cabinet
    Cabinet (government)
    A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

     officer, William W. Belknap
    William W. Belknap
    William Worth Belknap was a United States Army general, government administrator, and United States Secretary of War. He was the only Cabinet secretary ever to have been impeached by the United States House of Representatives.-Birth and early years:Born in Newburgh, New York to career soldier...

     (Secretary of War). He resigned before his trial, and was later acquitted. Allegedly most of those who voted to acquit him believed that his resignation had removed their jurisdiction.
  • One Senator
    United States Senate
    The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

    , William Blount
    William Blount
    William Blount, was a United States statesman. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention for North Carolina, the first and only governor of the Southwest Territory, and Democratic-Republican Senator from Tennessee . He played a major role in establishing the state of Tennessee. He was the...

    , in 1797. He was expelled by the Senate, which declined to try the impeachment.
  • One Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
    Supreme Court of the United States
    The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

    , Samuel Chase
    Samuel Chase
    Samuel Chase was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and earlier was a signatory to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Maryland. Early in life, Chase was a "firebrand" states-righter and revolutionary...

     in 1804. He was acquitted by the Senate.
  • Fourteen other federal judge
    Federal judge
    Federal judges are judges appointed by a federal level of government as opposed to the state / provincial / local level.-Brazil:In Brazil, federal judges of first instance are chosen exclusively by public contest...

    s, including Alcee Hastings
    Alcee Hastings
    Alcee Lamar Hastings is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party.-Early life, education and career:...

    , who was impeached and convicted for taking over $150,000 in bribe money in exchange for sentencing leniency. The Senate did not bar Hastings from holding future office, and Hastings won election to the House of Representatives from Florida. Hastings's name was mentioned as a possible Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, but was passed over by House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, presumably because of his previous impeachment and removal. Source U.S. Senate


Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, Republican, was never impeached. While the House Judiciary Committee did approve articles of impeachment against him and did report those articles to the House of Representatives, Nixon resigned before the House could consider the impeachment resolutions and was subsequently pardoned by President Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

.

Pakistan


The country's ruling coalition said on August 7, 2008, that it would seek the impeachment of President Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

, alleging the U.S.-backed former general had "eroded the trust of the nation" and increasing pressure on him to resign. He resigned on 18 August 2008. Another kind of impeachment in Pakistan is known as the vote of less-confidence or vote of mis-understanding and has been practiced by provincial assemblies to weaken the national assembly.

Impeaching a president requires a two-thirds majority support of lawmakers in a joint session of both houses of Parliament.

Philippines



Impeachment in the Philippines follows procedures similar to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Under Sections 2 and 3, Article XI, Constitution of the Philippines
Constitution of the Philippines
The Constitution of the Philippines is the supreme law of the Philippines.The Constitution currently in effect was enacted in 1987, during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, and is popularly known as the "1987 Constitution"...

, the House of Representatives of the Philippines
House of Representatives of the Philippines
The House of Representatives of the Philippines is the lower chamber of the...

 has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment against the President
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

, Vice President
Vice President of the Philippines
-Description:The Vice-President is the first in the Philippine line of succession, assuming the Presidency upon the death, resignation, or removal by impeachment and subsequent conviction of the incumbent. The position was abolished by Martial Law in 1972, and was not included in the original text...

, members of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the Philippines
The Supreme Court of the Philippines is the Philippines' highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice...

, members of the Constitutional Commissions (Commission on Elections
Commission on Elections (Philippines)
The Commission on Elections, or COMELEC, is one of the three constitutional commissions of the Philippines. Its principal role is to enforce all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections, initiatives, referendums, and recalls....

,Civil Service Commission Commission on Audit), and the Ombudsman
Philippine Ombudsman
The Ombudsman of the Philippines is an ombudsman responsible for investigating and prosecuting Philippine government officials accused of crimes....

. When a third of its membership has endorsed the impeachment articles, it is then transmitted to the Senate of the Philippines
Senate of the Philippines
The Senate of the Philippines is the upper chamber of the bicameral legislature of the Philippines, the Congress of the Philippines...

 which tries and decide, as impeachment tribunal, the impeachment case. A main difference from US proceedings however is that only 1/3 of House members are required to approve the motion to impeach the President (as opposed to 50%+1 members in their US counterpart). In the Senate, selected members of the House of Representatives act as the prosecutors and the Senators act as judges with the Senate President presiding over the proceedings (the Chief Justice jointly presides with the Senate President if the President is on trial). Like the United States, to convict the official in question requires that a minimum of 2/3 (i.e., 16 of 24 members) of all the Members of the Senate vote in favor of conviction. If an impeachment attempt is unsuccessful or the official is acquitted, no new cases can be filed against that impeachable official for at least one full year.

Impeachable offenses and officials


The 1987 Philippine Constitution says the grounds for impeachment include culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, graft and corruption, and betrayal of public trust. These offenses are considered "high crimes and misdemeanors" under the Philippine Constitution.

The President, Vice President, Supreme Court justices, and members of the Constitutional Commission and Ombudsman are all considered impeachable officials under the Constitution.

Impeachment proceedings and attempts


Joseph Estrada
Joseph Estrada
Joseph "Erap" Ejercito Estrada was the 13th President of the Philippines, serving from 1998 until 2001. Estrada was the first person in the Post-EDSA era to be elected both to the presidency and vice-presidency.Estrada gained popularity as a film actor, playing the lead role in over 100 films in...

 was the first Philippine president impeached by the House in 2000, but the trial ended prematurely due to outrage over a vote to open an envelope where that motion was narrowly defeated by his allies.

In 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, impeachment complaints were filed against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a Filipino politician who served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, as the 12th Vice President of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, and is currently a member of the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District of Pampanga...

, but none of the cases reached the required endorsement of 1/3 of the members for transmittal to, and trial by, the Senate.

In 2011, the House successfully impeached
Impeachment of Merceditas Gutierrez
The Philippine Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of the office's alleged underperformance and failure to act on several cases during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo...

 Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, becoming the second person to be impeached.

Republic of Ireland


In the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 formal impeachment only applies to the Irish president
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

. Article 12 of the Irish Constitution
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

 provides that, unless judged to be "permanently incapacitated" by the Supreme Court, the president can only be removed from office by the houses of the Oireachtas
Oireachtas
The Oireachtas , sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the "national parliament" or legislature of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of:*The President of Ireland*The two Houses of the Oireachtas :**Dáil Éireann...

 (parliament) and only for the commission of "stated misbehaviour". Either house of the Oireachtas may impeach the president, but only by a resolution approved by a majority of at least two-thirds of its total number of members; and a house may not consider a proposal for impeachment unless requested to do so by at least thirty of its number.

Where one house impeaches the president, the remaining house either investigates the charge or commissions another body or committee to do so. The investigating house can remove the president if it decides, by at least a two-thirds majority of its members, both that they are guilty of the charge of which they stand accused, and that the charge is sufficiently serious as to warrant their removal. To date no impeachment of an Irish president has ever taken place. The president holds a largely ceremonial office, the dignity of which is considered important, so it is likely that a president would resign from office long before undergoing formal conviction or impeachment.

The Republic's Constitution and law also provide that only a joint resolution of both houses of the Oireachtas may remove a judge. Although often referred to as the 'impeachment' of a judge, this procedure does not technically involve impeachment.

Other jurisdictions

  • Austria: The Austrian Federal President
    President of Austria
    The President of Austria is the federal head of state of Austria. Though theoretically entrusted with great power by the constitution, in practice the President acts, for the most part, merely as a ceremonial figurehead...

     can be impeached by the Federal Assembly
    Federal Assembly of Austria
    The Federal Assembly is the name given to a formal joint session of the two houses of the Austrian federal parliament, the National Council and the Federal Council....

     (Bundesversammlung) before the Constitutional Court. The constitution also provides for the recall of the president by a referendum
    Referendum
    A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

    . Neither of these courses has ever been taken, likely because the President is an unobtrusive and largely ceremonial figurehead who, having little power, is hardly in a position to abuse it.
  • Brazil: The President of Federative Republic of Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

     can be impeached. This happened to Fernando Collor de Mello
    Fernando Collor de Mello
    Fernando Affonso Collor de Mello was the 32nd president of Brazil from 1990 to 1992, when he resigned in a failed attempt to stop his trial of impeachment by the Brazilian Senate...

    , due to evidence of bribery and misappropriation. State governors and mayors can also be impeached, though only the latter have actually been impeached.
  • Croatia: President of Croatia
    President of Croatia
    The President of Croatia , officially styled the President of the Republic represents the Republic of Croatia in the country and abroad as the head of state, maintains the regular and coordinated operation and stability of the national government system, and safeguards the independence and...

     Sabor starts the impeachment process with two-thirds majority in favor of impeachment and then Constitutional Court has to accept that with two-thirds majority of justices in favor of impeachment. This has never happened in the history of the Republic of Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

    .
  • Czech Republic: President of the Czech Republic
    President of the Czech Republic
    The President of the Czech Republic is the head of state of the Czech Republic. Unlike his counterparts in Austria and Hungary, who are generally considered figureheads, the Czech President has a considerable role in political affairs...

     can be impeached only for an act of high treason (which is not specified in the Constitution of the Czech Republic itself). The process has to start Senate of the Czech Republic
    Senate of the Czech Republic
    The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic , usually referred to as Senát, is the upper chamber of the Parliament of the Czech Republic...

     which only has the right to impeach resident, this passes case to the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
    Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
    The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic is a specialized type of court which primarily works to protect the people of the Czech Republic against violations of the constitution. In this respect, it is similar in functionality to the US Supreme Court, but is distinct from the Supreme Court of...

     which has to decide whether the President is guilty or not. If the Court decides that the President is guilty than the President loses his office and the ability to be elected President of the Czech Republic ever again. No Czech president has ever been impeached.
  • Germany: The Federal President of Germany
    President of Germany
    The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...

     can be impeached both by the Bundestag
    Bundestag
    The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

     and by the Bundesrat
    Bundesrat of Germany
    The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

     for willfully violating German law. Once the Bundestag or the Bundesrat impeaches the president, the Federal Constitutional Court
    Federal Constitutional Court of Germany
    The Federal Constitutional Court is a special court established by the Grundgesetz, the German basic law...

     decides whether the President is guilty as charged and, if this is the case, whether to remove him or her from office. No such case has yet occurred, not the least because the President's functions are mostly ceremonial and they seldom make controversial decisions. The Federal Constitutional Court also has the power to remove federal judges from office for willfully violating core principles of the federal constitution or a state
    States of Germany
    Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

     constitution.
  • India: The President of India
    President of India
    The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. President of India is also the formal head of all the three branches of Indian Democracy - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary...

     can be impeached by the Parliament
    Parliament of India
    The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

     before the expiry of his term for violation of the Constitution. Other than impeachment, no other penalty can be given to the President for the violation of the Constitution. No Indian President has faced impeachment proceedings. Hence, the provisions for impeachment have never been tested.
  • Iran: Member of Majlis representatives and the Leader can remove the President. In January 1980, Abolhassan Banisadr
    Abolhassan Banisadr
    Abulhassan Banisadr is an Iranian politician, economist and human rights activist who served as the first President of Iran from 4 February 1980 after the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the abolition of the monarchy until his impeachment on 21 June 1981 by the Parliament of Iran...

    , then the president of Iran, was impeached by the Majlis representatives in June, 1981. The Assembly of Experts
    Assembly of Experts
    The Assembly of Experts of Iran , also translated as Council of Experts, is a deliberative body of 86 Mujtahids that is charged with electing and removing the Supreme Leader of Iran and supervising his activities.Members of the assembly are elected from a government-screened list of candidates by...

     can impeach the Leader
    Supreme Leader of Iran
    The Supreme Leader of Iran is the highest ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The post was established by the constitution in accordance with the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists...

    .
  • Italy: The President of the Republic can be impeached through a majority vote of the Parliament in joint session only for high treason and for attempting to overthrow the Constitution. Then, he is tried by the Constitutional Court, integrated with sixteen citizens older than forty chosen by lot from a list compiled by the Parliament every nine years.
  • Norway: Members of government, representatives of the national assembly (Stortinget) and Supreme Court judges can be impeached for criminal offences tied to their duties and committed in office, according to the Constitution of 1814, §§ 86 and 87. The procedural rules were modelled on the US rules and are quite similar to them. Impeachment has been used eight times since 1814, last in 1927. Many argue that impeachment has fallen into desuetude
    Desuetude
    In law, desuetude is a doctrine that causes statutes, similar legislation or legal principles to lapse and become unenforceable by a long habit of non-enforcement or lapse of time. It is what happens to laws that are not repealed when they become obsolete...

    .
  • Romania: The President can be impeached by Parliament and is then suspended. A referendum then follows to determine whether the suspended President should be removed from office. President Traian Băsescu was recently impeached by the Parliament. A referendum was held on May 19, 2007. A large majority of the electorate voted against removing the president from office.
  • Russia: The President of Russia can be impeached if both the State Duma
    State Duma
    The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

     (which initiates the impeachment process through the formation of a special investigation committee) and the Federation Council of Russia
    Federation Council of Russia
    Federation Council of Russia ) is the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , according to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation...

     vote by a two-thirds majority in favor of impeachment and, additionally, the Supreme Court
    Supreme Court of the Russian Federation
    The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation is the court of last resort in Russian administrative law, civil law and criminal law cases. It also supervises the work of lower courts. Its predecessor is the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union....

     finds the President guilty of treason
    Treason
    In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

     or a similarly heavy crime against the nation and the Constitutional Court
    Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation
    The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is a high court which is empowered to rule on whether or not certain laws or presidential decrees are in fact contrary to the Constitution of Russia...

     confirms that the constitutional procedure of the impeachment process was correctly observed. In 1995-1999, the Duma made several attempts to impeach then-President Boris Yeltsin
    Boris Yeltsin
    Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

    , but they never had a sufficient amount of votes for the process to reach the Federation Council.
  • Republic of China (Taiwan): In Taiwan
    Republic of China
    The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

     (officially called the ROC) officials can be impeached by a two-thirds vote in the Legislative Yuan
    Legislative Yuan
    The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of China .The Legislative Yuan is one of the five branches of government stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which follows Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People...

     together with an absolute majority in a referendum.
  • Venezuela: Any elected authority (including governors, vice-president and president) can be impeached after half the period for which the authority was elected. This provided that no less than 20 % of the registered voters in the jurisdiction ask for the process to start and afterwards more or the same number of people that elected the authority, vote in favor of the removal of the latter. The president can also be removed from charge if the supreme court rules so, or in case of mental insanity or physical incapacity.

Further reading