Much of America is currently tuned in to the impeachment proceedings of our current president. But, many Americans do not know what impeachment actually is. Hopefully this short explanation provides an answer.
Simply put, “impeachment” is the 3-part process by which a civil officer of the government is charged with (alleged) crimes, which may result in removal from office. Steps 1 and 2 are political, and step 3 is legal.
1. Congress begins a formal impeachment inquiry (i.e. investigation), usually initiated by the House Judiciary Committee to gather information.
2. The House of Representative votes on articles of impeachment (i.e. formal charges) based on the facts gathered.
3. Last, the accused civil officer stands trial in the Senate. During the impeachment of a president, the Chief Justice of the US presides over the trial. If the accused is found guilty, they are removed from office.
So, can a POTUS who has been impeached run for re-election? The answer is…it depends.
1. If the Senate votes to convict, then the president is removed from office. The Senate must also vote on whether to disqualify the president from seeking federal office in the future. So, it’s possible the president can be convicted and removed from office, but still be able to hold non-federal positions (e.g. state congress) if that option isn’t removed by the Senate.
2. If the Senate votes to acquit, the president stays in office, is not required to resign, and can run for re-election because he has not yet met the term limit.
What does this mean for individuals? We must still support and carry out all efforts to educate and mobilize voters so that we are prepared for the upcoming election, regardless of the outcome of the impeachment process. Please reach out to your representatives to let them know where you stand! US Senate: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
House of Representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative