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Ask a Redbird Scholar: What does it take to impeach a president?

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What does it take to impeach a president?

It’s important to distinguish between “impeachment” and removal from office. Impeachment simply means “to bring forth charges.” Under the U.S. Constitution, sitting presidents can be removed from office due to bribery, treason, or other “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Assistant Professor Kerri Milita

Assistant Professor Kerri Milita

Removal from office is basically a two-step process. First, the U.S. House of Representatives must vote to impeach (i.e., to formally charge a president with constitutional wrongdoing), and the vote must succeed with at least a simple majority. If the vote is successful, the president has been “impeached.” It is then the job of the U.S. Senate to vote on whether or not to convict a president of the formal charges. A two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict will result in the removal of a president from office.

Kerri Milita, assistant professor, Department of Politics and Government

Our top faculty experts answer questions from the Illinois State University community in the “Ask a Redbird Scholar” section. To submit a question, email Kevin Bersett at kdberse@IllinoisState.edu or tweet it to @ISUResearch. Chosen questions and answers appear in each issue of Illinois State’s new research magazine, the Redbird Scholar. To read other “Ask a Redbird Scholar” posts, visit IllinoisState.edu/RedbirdScholar.

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