As Democrats push forward with their impeachment obsession, here is everything you need to know about the history and process of impeachment in the House.

Overview:

  • Impeachment proceedings of the President have only taken place three times throughout history. In all three cases, the impeachment inquiry was first authorized by a full vote in the House.
  • This week, Speaker Pelosi took the unprecedented action of unilaterally initiating an impeachment inquiry via press conference.
  • Because the power of impeachment is delegated solely to the House of Representatives by the Constitution, the full House should be involved in critical decision making regarding various stages of impeachment.

Procedure in the House:

  • Generally, articles of impeachment are privileged and may be considered immediately in the House.
  • Articles of impeachment are considered under the hour rule as a simple House Resolution, absent the House adopting a rule or agreeing to a unanimous-consent agreement to set the parameters of debate.
  • A separate vote may be demanded on each article of impeachment contained in the resolution.
  • Only a simple majority vote on adoption of the resolution is necessary.
  • Following the adoption of articles of impeachment, the House then would adopt resolutions:
    • Appointing managers to present the articles before the Senate;
    • Notifying the Senate of the adoption of articles and appointment of managers; and
    • Authorizing the managers to prepare for and to conduct the trial in the Senate.

Procedure in the Senate:

  • The Senate resolves itself into a court for the trial of impeachment, with the Chief Justice presiding over the trial.
  • Evidence against the accused is first presented by the House managers. Evidence in defense is then presented by the accused, and the concluding evidence is presented by the managers.
  • A two-thirds vote of Senators present is required to convict and remove from office.

Clinton Impeachment Timeline:

  • Oct 7, 1998: House Judiciary reports original House Resolution “Authorizing and directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States.”
  • Oct 8, 1998: Considered as privileged and adopted.
  • Dec 15, 1998: House Judiciary reports original House Resolution “Impeaching William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.”
  • Dec 18, 1998: Considered as privileged, question divided into four articles.
  • Dec 19, 1998: Consideration continued:
    • Article I: Adopted
    • Article II: Failed
    • Article III: Adopted
    • Article IV: Failed
  • Jan 7, 1999: Trial in the Senate begins
  • Feb 12, 1999: Senate finds Clinton not guilty as charged in Articles I and III.