After the US Presidential election, x candidate wins the Presidency. The candidate is then indicted by the FBI. Can the candidate be impeached by the House of Representatives and be prevented from taking office in the interim before the swearing in ceremony?

  • 2
    Small nitpick: An indictment by a law enforcement agency does not mean someone did something wrong. A conviction by a court does. But that's not really relevant because the house of representatives decides what's reason for impeachment and what isn't.
    – Philipp
    Oct 29, 2016 at 15:30
  • @Philipp, correct. In the scenario outlined above it would be the Senate that would determine guilt.
    – user9790
    Oct 29, 2016 at 17:04
  • And an indictment could be the impetus for the Congress to take such an action.
    – user9790
    Oct 29, 2016 at 18:18
  • I see in the text the use of "sitting" but don't think this has been adjudicated. Most of the impeachment analysis is on what a high crime and misdemeanor "is". A related question is: could the person be impeached for a high crime or misdemeanor prior to assuming office.
    – user9790
    Oct 31, 2016 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


No, a President-elect is not President.

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution states that:

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

It states that The President [...] of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment.

Since, a President-elect hasn't been sworn in, he/she is not technically considered a President. So, he/she can't be impeached.

Basically, you can't be fired from a job you just successfully applied for, since you haven't taken on the job yet.

As to whether the indicted candidate can take office:

Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution states:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution also states:

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.

Since there's no mention of any other requirements. Even if he/she gets indicted, they can still take office.

Note that the date of the swearing in ceremony is set and there's no way changing it, unless a new law is passed.

But, if the President-elect is sworn in and takes office, it's then a totally different story.

Sidenote: This answer was first posted at U.S. president-elect impeachment trial before taking office?.

  • I wonder after the vote is certified they can?
    – user9790
    Nov 2, 2016 at 22:56
  • 1
    @KDog Still nope, President-elect isn't technically considered President
    – Panda
    Nov 2, 2016 at 22:57
  • "unless a new law is passed": you mean unless a new constitutional amendment is passed; the date is set by the constitution, not by statute. Although that technically concerns the timing of the end of one term and the start of the next; the ceremony could be any time before the term begins.
    – phoog
    Jul 9, 2018 at 19:36

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