Impeachment: What It All Means 

Soyoun (Ashley) M., News Editor

On December 18, 2019, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump with the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. This means he is now the third president in history to face the possibility of removal from the Senate. 


Any member of the House of Representatives can essentially lodge a formal complaint and bring it to vote. Then, if it receives the proper number of votes than a simple majority of votes, the House [of Representatives] can proceed with drafting articles of impeachment,” said social studies teacher Richard Suchopar. 


Following a whistleblower’s report, Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker echoed their concerns by announcing that six committees would undertake formal impeachment inquiries upon learning about Trump’s controversial interactions with Ukraine. 


“I think there is a lack of knowledge in general about our political system and the functions of our political system. Impeachment is just one small example of many misunderstandings about the process of government,” said Suchopar. 


Contrary to popular belief, impeachment does not automatically lead to removal from office. 


Impeachment begins with charges brought against a federal official by the House of Representatives. Then it is up to the Senate to conduct a trial, and based on the findings of the votes of that trial, they determine whether or not the charges suffice to remove a federal official from office. Impeachment is bringing up charges against an official for any number of reasons, such as corruption and abuse of power, whereas removal from office is the actual process of removing that federal official from office,” said Suchopar. 


If there are enough votes from the House of Representatives to impeach the federal official, the Senate begins its trial to decide whether or not the President is removed from office. 


“Impeachment is really confusing to some people because it is less of a legal definition. Impeachment in its clearest, most legal sense is an indictment of any federal official. The House [of Representatives] brings the charges, they vote to impeach the federal official, and then the Speaker of the House will send the impeachment managers, which act as prosecutors against the official in the Senate. Then in the Senate, once you have the trial, it takes two thirds majority to remove an official. Another vote is taken to determine if that official is allowed to seek and hold public office again,” said sophomore Stephen G. 


Impeachment was implemented as a source to balance power throughout our branches of government. 


Our government is constructed off the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. This is ingrained in every step, characteristic, and aspect of our government,” said Suchopar. 


The policy of separation of powers and checks and balances dates back to Britain and their Parliament. The founding fathers used the British parliamentary government as a model to the U.S. Constitution. This process is used to prevent any corruption in our government. 


“Impeachment dates back to the 13th century in England. It was a way for Parliament to have a check on the King’s ministers. Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers that drafted our Constitution, idolized and admired the British system of government. This makes him influential in convincing other founding fathers that impeachment needs to be emplaced in the U.S. Constitution even before they define what the executive branch would look like. He thought it was vital to the success of the executive branch because it could restrict the potential abuse of power,” said Suchopar.🔳