Indications are that President Trump will not be convicted by the U.S. Senate, although the articles of impeachment were passed by the House.

Something I heard yesterday is that one could claim he was only charged, but not impeached.

Possible outcomes I see:

  1. The President has been impeached, because the House voted and said so.
  2. The President has been charged, but not impeached because the Senate did not find him guilty.
  3. In some unexpected way, the Senate does choose to convict him, so there is no question he is impeached.

I heard yesterday to expect to start hearing supporters of the President claiming outcome #2, but my understanding of the impeachment process is that it is not exactly analogous to a criminal trial in this way.

In a criminal trial, for example, a person can be charged with a felony but if not convicted there is no "tried for felony crimes" label applied. Of course, that person could be found "innocent" or "not guilty" with distinct connotations, or another outcome of a criminal trial might be a mistrial.

Assuming the Senate chooses not to find the President guilty, can it legitimately be said he was not impeached?

  • 1
    To my down-voter: please help me know how to improve the question.
    – spuck
    Feb 4 '20 at 15:43
  • 6
    Anything can be "said." That does not make it accurate. And some people take advantage of others who don't know the difference.
    – DrSheldon
    Feb 4 '20 at 16:21
  • 3
    The logic of option #2 would create the conclusion that ** no US President** has ever been impeached. If so, better start rewriting all the American History books.
    – BobE
    Feb 4 '20 at 16:28
  • @DrSheldon, I guess another way to spin the answer (that I don't agree with) would be: what difference does it make, because he wasn't convicted. Anyone can be charged with a crime (or sued/accused/etc), but because he wasn't convicted, it's not important. Impeachment didn't seem to hurt President Clinton.
    – spuck
    Feb 4 '20 at 16:29

No. Impeachment and Conviction are two separate activities of Congressional authority detailed by the Constitution. The President was impeached.

As you've noted, the House has the Sole power of Impeachment, and then the Senate tries that Impeachment.

This is further highlighted by the last line of Article II

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.

There is a fledgling argument from some sectors, in response to Pelosi's claim that there wasn't a trial due to a lack of witnesses and documents, that the Impeachment is invalidated because the House failed to force the attendance of the witnesses or presentation of the documents that they claim are required. This is merely rhetoric.

  • 5
    Yep. It can be said that Trump wasn't impeached, but that wouldn't be true. Feb 4 '20 at 15:57
  • 2
    @hszmv - not "likely" Trump - he's been impeached. Even if he's convicted, he's impeached and convicted. Like Andrew Johnson (not Jackson) and Clinton, he'll likely be impeached and acquitted. Feb 4 '20 at 19:36
  • 1
    @PoloHoleSet: My wording is a capture in the moment of time. At time of my earlier comment, Trump was not yet acquitted and while the expected vote was likely to occur in the next 48 hours and to result in acquitted, it was written to acknowledge it ain't over til it's over. Typically, anyone Impeached (or charged for that matter) is assumed not to be convicted (since most speakers would use "guilty" in place of convicted if it were so found.).
    – hszmv
    Feb 4 '20 at 19:42
  • 3
    @hszmv - He's still not yet acquitted. What I'm saying is that acquitted or not, impeached doesn't change. He's still impeached, no matter what. That's done and on the record. Trump, already, and already as of your posting, is said to be impeached as a matter of fact. Feb 4 '20 at 19:45
  • 1
    And what I'm saying is that "Jackson and Clinton (And Likely Trump)" are Impeached despite the lack of conviction. Please read the whole statement, not and not the selective quote to undermine my statement. I cannot include Trump in my example, because as you said... hasn't happened yet... But my example is of people for who the trial is over (I'll cop that I might have mixed tenses but there's a sadly past window to edit comments.).
    – hszmv
    Feb 4 '20 at 19:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .