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Impeachment

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Impeachment

1.  An accusation or charge brought against a public officer for maladministration in his office.  In Great Britain, it is the privilege or right of the house of commons to impeach, and the right of the house of lords to try and determine impeachments.  In the U. States, it is the right of the house of representatives to impeach, and of the senate to try and determine impeachments.  In Great Britain, the house of peers, and in the U. States,the senate of the U.States, and the senates in the several states, are the high courts of impeachment.
2.  The act of impeaching.
3.  Censure; accusation; a calling in question the purity of motives or the rectitude of conduct, &c.  This declaration is no impeachment of his motives or of his judgment.
4.  The act of calling to account, as for waste.
5.  The state of being liable to account, as for waste.

Webster's 1828

In the United States, a form of accusation or indictment by the House of Representatives, requiring a majority vote, used to bring charges against a federal officer. The Senate then holds a trial and if two thirds of the senators vote to convict, the official is removed from office. Sometimes Congress votes to prohibit an official who has been impeached and convicted from holding any further office. Otherwise, conviction carries no penalties than removal, although an impeached official can also be tried in civil and criminal courts.