I have been googling around about the Trump impeachment and would like to get some facts straight.

What does "impeached but not removed from office" mean?

Clinton was impeached, but not removed from office and was found not guilty by the senate, what did that mean? Did he lose any power, was he just sitting waiting for the re-election.

  • 2
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment Nov 13, 2019 at 17:07
  • @SurpriseDog I read the article however does not answer the question
    – Brad Cohen
    Nov 13, 2019 at 17:16
  • Great question, most people do not know this term. What is also not known is that impeachment can be the result of anything that HoR determines is a High Crime, It does not matter if a law in the US Code or a Constitutional mandate was violated or not. Impeachment can be started if the President wore the wrong color tie. It is a true expression of the will of the people. Nov 14, 2019 at 13:33
  • @FrankCedeno: your "anything that HoR determines is a High Crime" is not technically correct. Impeachment and conviction can, as you have said be for something as simple as the wrong color tie. " 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." I take that to mean if the offense IS a "high crime... etc", the required judgement shall be removal. If the offense is not then the jury may order any sentence, including removal.
    – BobE
    Nov 17, 2019 at 6:11

2 Answers 2


There's a colloquial usage of "Impeach" to mean "Remove the President1 from office", and a technical usage, which is subtly different.

The Constitution uses the term "Impeach" to describe the House of Representatives voting to remove the President1. At this point they are not removed.

After they have done this, the Senate also votes to remove or not (convict or acquit) in a hearing similar to a criminal trial.

So far, no President has been removed from office by Congress.

Both Clinton and Johnson were impeached by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate.

Nixon resigned before the House voted on impeachment.

When people say "I think Trump should be impeached", they generally mean "I think the House should vote to impeach, then the Senate should vote to convict, Trump, resulting in his removal from office".

  1. Or other federal official, e.g. a Judge
  • This looks incomplete Nov 13, 2019 at 18:04
  • not exactly. The Constitution uses "impeach" in its proper English sense. To impeach is to "cast doubt" according to MW. The more modern meaning "to accuse" is just an extension of the original meaning, but applied to the political process. You can see the other uses of this word in the legal system and other types of fact finding: "impeach a testimony", "unimpeachable evidence", etc. The House formally accuses someone when they "impeach" them. Then a Senate tries them. Removal from is what happens on a conviction. It's a point in time rather than something that happens over time.
    – grovkin
    Nov 13, 2019 at 23:53
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    @grovkin That's what I said. It doesn't stop people meaning "removed from office" when they say "impeached"
    – Caleth
    Nov 14, 2019 at 9:15
  • @caleth. I should be more precise. Rather than the distinction being between "colloquial" and "technical" usage, it's a distinction between colloquial usage and proper-English usage. The colloquial usage arose from the coincidence of 2 facts. The first fact is that the word "impeachment", in its proper-English meaning, is not in common use. And the 2nd fact is that the process, which can result in a President being removed from the office, is also very uncommon. So the word became so associated with the process that people use it as the name for the process.
    – grovkin
    Nov 14, 2019 at 9:42
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    @grovkin that's exactly my point. "Impeach" now has multiple meanings.
    – Caleth
    Nov 14, 2019 at 9:55

Impeachment is best described as like being charged with a crime. The House has made allegations of high crimes and misdemeanors and Impeached the Office Holder for those crimes. However, at trial (The Senate tries Impeachment) the charges can be found not guilty, which means that legally speaking, the House did not provide sufficient evidence to make the charge stand.

Anyone who has Articles of Impeachment by the House brought against them is considered to have been Impeached, but only upon conviction by the Senate does the officer get removed from office. If found Not Guilty, it's merely a footnote that it happened and the Officer does not lose any Legal Authority for the duration of the term.

To give an example in a purely criminal stance, OJ Simpson was famously charged with murder but was not convicted (by a finding of Guilt by the Jury) of Murder. From a legal standpoint, regardless of your opinion of the outcome of the finding of "Not Guilty" of OJ Simpson, he is legally not guilty of killing his wife and another person. However, he was legally charged with his crime. Similarly, Bill Clinton was Impeached but was not convicted of any Impeachable offense brought against him. Donald Trump is not yet at, time of writing, even Impeached and is merely being investigated for a possible Article or Article(s) of Impeachment.

Or to put it even more plainly, we're still somewhere close to the first Doing Doing of an episode of "Law and Order". We're far off from the commercial break following the officers arresting the suspect and the back-half of the episode where the lawyers mess around in the court room.

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