Impeachment in the United States is the process by which a legislature (usually in the form of the lower house) brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. At the federal level, this is at the discretion of the House of Representatives. Most impeachments have concerned alleged crimes committed while in office, though there have been a few cases in which officials have been impeached and subsequently convicted for crimes committed prior to taking office. The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held. That trial, and their removal from office if convicted, is separated from the act of impeachment itself. These proceedings are conducted by the upper house of the legislature, which at the federal level is the Senate. However,, impeachment is not a criminal proceeding, as the defendant does not risk forfeiture of life, liberty or property; the only penalty is removal from office upon conviction by two-thirds of the senators present. Upon conviction a second vote is held to determine by majority vote of the senators present, if the convicted office holder shall be barred from holding further federal office.


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