The US Senate hears the impeachment of President Donald Trump on January 21. What is impeachment? Who has been impeached in the past? Who are the judges, jurors and prosecutors? What is the procedure for a Senate impeachment trial? This article collates a series of related materials to answer the above questions one by one for readers.
What is impeachment?
Impeach English impeach in the past meant to stop, hinder and prevent. It was defined in the 1560s as accusing public officials of misconduct. Online Etymology Dictionary refers to impeach or Latin from the Middle Ages.
Impeachment means the action of specialized state organs to hold legal staff accountable for violations of law by their state staff. And in the capitalist countries, the responsibility of impeachment rests with Congress.
In simple terms, a country’s legislative body may, in the event of a civil servant’s violation of law or negligence, dismiss the person in accordance with the Constitution and without the consent of the executive body. This is impeachment.
American impeachment system
According to the United States Constitution, the House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach, and the Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments.
One of the founding fathers of the United States Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, has explained the definition of impeachment, saying that impeachment is a way for the state to investigate after public officials have been accused of violating public trust.
Article IV of Chapter II of the US Constitution states that if the President, Vice President, or all civil servants are impeached for treason, bribery, or other felonies and misdemeanors, they should be removed from office.
Impeachment originated in the United Kingdom, the first case of impeachment in the United Kingdom in 1376. American colonies and early state governments followed the British impeachment method. There are impeachment systems in many democracies around the world, such as the United States, Brazil, and South Korea.
Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached by Congress on August 31, 2016 for corruption, while former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was impeached by the Constitutional Court of Korea on March 10, 2017.
The seventeenth president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, and the forty-second president, Bill Clinton, were both impeached in the House of Representatives vote, but both were found not guilty. As for the thirty-seventh president, Richard Nixon, has resigned before the impeachment vote in the House of Representatives. Trump became the third president in American history to be impeached by the House of Representatives.
Impeachment of judges, juries and prosecutors
Impeachment and the judiciary handle crimes differently, but there are also prosecutors, judges and juries.
The United States Senate hears Trump’s impeachment on January 21, 2020. Although the Senate impeachment trial is similar in form to ordinary court trials, the two are not the same.
U.S. general criminal or civil cases are tried by district courts. The judge has the power to rule on all disputes in the case. The accused has the right to determine his fate by a jury. The jury consists of ordinary citizens who have no personal relationship with the defendant. In state or federal criminal cases, for example, the jury must agree in order to convict the defendant. If the jury fails to reach a decision after a long discussion, the judge has the right to dismiss the jury.
On January 15, Pelosi appointed seven Democrats as impeachers, the prosecutors in the impeachment case. The “suit” is chaired by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and the jury is made up of 100 senators. In impeachment, the jury has more power than ordinary juries. They have voting rights and even veto allegations made by judges. This is different from ordinary cases. If 51 or more of them are against Roberts’ decision, the decision will be overturned.
Senate proceedings in impeachment
Take the impeachment case as an example, the case was tried by Roberts. The prosecution consisted of seven impeachment managers, including Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Democratic Rep. Adam Schif, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, while the defense lawyer’s team was raised by the White House group. Trump’s team of lawyers consists of several heavyweights, including former independent prosecutor Ken Starr, who led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, and Alan Deschowitz, a former Harvard law school professor Dershowitz).
As a member of the jury, the senator is required to hear the arguments of both the prosecution and the defence and the testimony of his witnesses. Then determine whether Trump is guilty. If any of the allegations in the impeachment case is supported by two-thirds of the senators, the president will resign and step down. However, because the Senate is now dominated by the Republican Party, there is little chance that Democrats will eventually be able to successfully fire Trump.