Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

Impeachment: All you need to know (and you do need to know it).

By Publius Huldah

1. It is NOT necessary that the President, other officers in the executive branch, or federal judges commit a crime before they may be impeached & removed from office.

Federalist Paper No. 66 (2nd para) & Federalist  No. 77 (last para) show that the President may be impeached & removed for encroachments, i.e., usurpations of power.

Federal judges may also be impeached & removed for usurpations of power (Federalist No. 81, 8th para).

Throughout The Federalist Papers, it is stated that impeachment is for “political offenses”.

2. The House has the SOLE power of impeachment (Art. I, Sec. 2, last clause).  The Senate has the SOLE power to try all impeachments (Art. I, Sec. 3, next to last clause).  The decision to convict is not reviewable by any other body – and common sense tells us what that means!  The House may impeach, and the Senate may convict, for any reason whatsoever; and their decision cannot be overturned.

3. The meaning of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” at Art. II, Sec. 4, is far broader than one might at first glance think.  Somewhere I saw a scholarly paper showing that the “high” refers to the status of the official – it does not refer to the severity of the offense.

Now, note well!  “Misdemeanor” has a broader meaning than “a lesser category of criminal offense”.  Webster’s 1828 Dictionary shows the primary meaning is:  “Ill behavior; evil conduct; fault; mismanagement.”

This shows that a President, Vice-president, and all civil Officers and Judges of the United States may be impeached, tried, convicted, and removed from office for “mismanagement”.

4. Errant members of Congress are never impeached – they are expelled by their respective Houses (Art. I, Sec. 5, cl. 2).

5. Military personnel are never impeached – they are court-martialed (see UCMJ – Uniform Code of Military Justice), and may be kicked out of the military as part of their punishment.  They also may be administratively discharged.

6. It is not feasible to criminally prosecute, under federal law, a sitting President: his prosecutors, the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorneys, all serve at the President’s pleasure.  He can fire anyone who dares to criminally prosecute him.  That is why sitting Presidents who have committed federal crimes must first be removed from office via impeachment, then be criminally prosecuted.  (Federalist No. 69, 4th para).

But do not forget: A President may – and should – be impeached & removed for usurpations of power, mismanagement, incompetence, or for any other reason deemed sufficient by Congress.

7.  The lawful methods of getting rid of a sitting President [whether eligible or not to hold the office], in addition to impeachment, are set forth in the 25th Amendment: Natural death, resignation, or inability to do the job.

8.  The 22nd Amendment permits Congress to make laws providing for succession where a President elect has not qualified.

Do not spin your wheels in fruitless insistence that a person (who may still be an Indonesian national) who occupies the office of President can’t be impeached because he is ineligible to hold that office.  The FACT is that he holds the office.  Impeachment is a lawful & constitutional method to rid ourselves of occupants of that office and of this particular blight. PH

August 8, 2013

PS added Dec 1, 2014:  Dr. Alan Keyes is great!


Postscript added August 25, 2018:  The West Virginia House has impeached their entire Supreme Court:

Let’s see more of that.  Rein in corrupt and usurpatious judges by impeaching them and removing them from the Bench.  It’s so nice to see some “men” doing what’s right.  congratulations, House!

 Update on December 21, 2019:

Some people are asserting that members of Congress are subject to impeachment. 

Let’s think that through:

1. Article II, §4, US Constitution provides:

“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.”

“[C]ivil Officers” refers to appointed officers in the Executive Branch and in the Judicial Branch. The first paragraph of Federalist No. 76 says:

‘THE President is “to NOMINATE, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States whose appointments are not otherwise provided for in the Constitution…’

THAT is how the President, Vice President and errant officers and judges in the Executive and Judicial Branches are removed from office.

2. How are errant members of Congress removed from Office?

They are “expelled” by their respective Houses.  See Article I, §5, cl. 2.

Now, THINK, People!

If one of the Houses wants to get rid of a Member, why on Earth would they go thru impeachment and trial [which would require the agreement of both Houses to get rid of the Member], when each House can do it on its own by simply expelling the Member?

Say the Senate wants to get rid of a Member who has done some horrible deed. Who can assert with a straight face that the Senate can’t get rid of the errant Member unless the House first impeaches the Senator?  What if the House refuses to impeach? The Senate would be stuck.

And just think what power this would give the House over the Senate!  US Senators who thwarted the plans of loons in the House would be subject to impeachment!  Yet the Senate would not have the corresponding power over the House.

THAT’S WHY our Framers, who were a whole lot wiser than we of today, provided that each House has the power to EXPEL a member.

    Other people are asserting that Impeachment is a “Bill of Attainder” 

Yes, some self-appointed “constitutional expert” over at “Conservative Tree House” is making this claim. 

So let’s think that through:

Impeachment and Bills of Attainder are very different: They both take place in a Legislative Body, but one is a criminal proceeding [bill of attainder] – the other is simply to remove a person from office [impeachment & trial].

A bill of attainder is a legislative FINDING of guilt in a criminal matter with no trial. They have been abolished in THIS Country. But they had them in England. The Parliament would pass a bill saying so & so is guilty of Treason – off with his head! And his Title, estates and lands are forfeit! And the [former] nobleman found about it when they came to arrest him to take him to the Tower of London to await his beheading.

Impeachment of the President and Vice President and other civil officers of the United States is provided for in our Constitution.

What goes on in the House – “impeachment” – is merely to formulate a list of accusations.  The TRIAL where the accused may present evidence, takes place in the Senate. The PURPOSE of an impeachment and trial is not to get a guilty verdict in a criminal case, but simply to REMOVE A PERSON FROM OFFICE. See Article I, Sec. 3, last clause.

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August 8, 2013 - Posted by | Article II, Sec. 4, Bills of attainder, High crimes and misdemeanors, Impeachment | , , , ,


  1. Is there somewhere else that you can point me to better understand the history of the term “high crimes…”?


    Comment by Blake | March 17, 2022 | Reply

    • I don’t remember where I saw the paper saying that “high” as in “high crimes and misdemeanors” refers to the status of the civil officer whose actions are being reviewed by Congress. But it doesn’t matter because a President and any other civil officer may be impeached and removed for “misdemeanors”. And that includes a whole lot….

      And don’t forget: NO one has the power to overturn the actions of Congress when they impeach & convict. It’s meaningless to speak of “that’s an impeachable offense” because Congress alone has the POWER to decide what is grounds for impeachment & removal. No one can overturn it.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | March 18, 2022 | Reply

  2. what is the constitutional process to impeach ? what are the lawful steps


    Comment by steve brandt | October 15, 2019 | Reply

    • study this and then let me know if you have questions

      if you will look at the list of “Categories” on my home page, you will usually find the topic you want!


      Comment by Publius Huldah | October 15, 2019 | Reply

      • i guess i posed the question wrong… i should have said , are they to vote to start the process. as i watch these democrats do as they wish it seems to me they are on a fishing expedition instead of having evidence to impeach. they have seemed to create a whole new set of rules to do things .


        Comment by hippie49 | October 15, 2019 | Reply

    • Oh, I see you already read the post on Impeachment. The Constitution leaves it up to the House to set the procedures for impeaching members of the Executive or Judicial Branches of the federal government. And Article I, Section 5, clause 2, allows each House to make its own Rules.

      But the House does NOT have the power to conduct “fishing expeditions” in the private papers of persons whom they wish to impeach or compel them to produce evidence which the House might be able to use against them. The House can impeach someone for any reason whatsoever – but they can’t force their targets to produce evidence!


      Comment by Publius Huldah | October 15, 2019 | Reply

  3. […] federal statutes; dismantling unconstitutional federal programs, departments, and agencies; and impeaching and removing usurping federal […]


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  5. […] Publius Huldah details the requirements for impeachment in her article, Impeachment- All You Need To Know (and you do need to know it!). […]


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  6. […] 2. Congress always had authority to impeach and remove a President for usurpations of power – see this short Primer. 3. Section 5 also says Congress may reduce or eliminate existing income tax exemptions, […]


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  7. […] 2 Congress always had authority to impeach and remove a President for usurpations of power – see this short Primer. […]


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  8. […] Publius Huldah is the author of the above. Read her list of Congress’s Enumerated Powers here and All You Need to Know About Impeachment here. […]


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  10. […] 2 Congress always had authority to impeach and remove a President for usurpations of power – see this short Primer. […]


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  12. […] 2 Congress always had authority to impeach and remove a President for usurpations of power – see this short Primer. […]


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  13. In your article on Impeachment you stated that a sitting president who have committed a federal crime must first be removed from office (via) impeachment, then criminally prosecuted.
    My question is: Does impeachment remove the president from office, or does he stay in office until convicted of a federal crime?
    Bill Clinton, stayed in office after he was impeached.Was that because he did not commit a federal crime or did he?


    Comment by james | January 3, 2014 | Reply

    • Remember! The House “impeaches” then the case is tried in the Senate. The Senate either convicts or acquits after the trial. If the Senate convicts, then the Senate has the power to kick the convicted person out of office. See, in addition to the citations in my article, Article I, Sec. 3, last clause.

      An “impeachment” is nothing more than formal charges being brought against the office holder. Then there must be a trial in the Senate. Bill Clinton was impeached in the House; but the cowards and weaklings and enemies in the Senate refused to convict him.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | January 3, 2014 | Reply

  14. I forged Obama’s birth certificate.


    Comment by pabloswhiterabbit | September 27, 2013 | Reply

  15. Reblogged this on PUMABydesign001's Blog and commented:
    Wake up America, there ARE legal grounds upon which Barack Obama can be impeached.


    Comment by bydesign001 | August 20, 2013 | Reply

  16. […] Impeachment: All you need to know (and you do need to know it). […]


    Pingback by The Democrats and the Impeachment Clause » World Exposed | August 11, 2013 | Reply

  17. […] election for President immediately in a peaceable transition to a Christian Government. Attorney Publius Huldah gives several points about impeachment in her latest post Impeachment: All you need to know (and […]


    Pingback by Publius Huldah: Impeachment: All you need to know (and you do need to know it). | USA NEWS FIRST | August 8, 2013 | Reply

  18. Oh, I love this form. Perfect for sharing also for printing when hard copy is needed. Any chance that the Vatel piece could be sent to me in this form? I keep getting mail from Rubio, and get way too much material (so sorry don’t know how to cut, paste!!) when I print it out), some of which is about something else. If not, I’ll literally trim and work it out. Oh, the work!

    Mary Webster is firing from her arsenal too. OH! PH! That reminds me – letter to the editor in local paper today about who is immigrant and who is citizen, and birth combos. . . Got to get that one to excerpt for correction in small space in mailbag! Your work is never done. Waiting for the way to clear for your appointment to the Supreme Court.



    Comment by Carol Boggs | August 8, 2013 | Reply

    • Filing court cases against Obama is useless. Congress on the other hand is derelict in their duty to investigate the evidence, and remove the fraud. Congress needs to be prosecuted.


      Comment by joebobanana | September 27, 2013 | Reply

      • Well, we can’t prosecute Congress; but they sure are a sorry bunch of people. They reflect The People who elected them – the morally corrupt & stupid Americans. And yes, it is a waste of time and effort to file any lawsuits in federal or State courts [with the possible exception of Alabama]. And our Framers NEVER told us to “file lawsuits”! They told us to nullify.

        Then, in Federalist Paper No. 46, James Madison told us why the American People are to be armed.

        Get ready.


        Comment by Publius Huldah | September 27, 2013 | Reply

  19. I certainly wish the Congress had the guts to do it before it’s too late.


    Comment by Jane Lee | August 8, 2013 | Reply

  20. I totally agree with you, but first we need a House and Senate that will honor their oath’s of office such as “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. About 98% of our elected officials and all nine on the Supreme Court have violated their their oath of office, and are rewarded for their dishonor. Voter fraud and apathy has produced the most corrupt government this country has ever seen, and the only solutuion is, in the words of Thomas Jefferson “When injustice becomes law, then rebellion becomes duty.”


    Comment by L.E. Liesner | August 8, 2013 | Reply

    • Yes, it looks as if the American People have become so corrupt that they are getting the tyranny they deserve.
      What’s ahead? Our job is to do what is Right and leave the Results in God’s Hands.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | August 9, 2013 | Reply

  21. Those are my own words and they express exactly what I intended them to convey, i.e., Impeachment & conviction REQUIRES Political Will whereas the EFFECT of a Judicial determination of non-eligibility would REQUIRE “Removal”…..IMO….


    Comment by Steven Lee Craig | August 8, 2013 | Reply

    • All federal courts which have ruled on cases challenging obama’s eligibility have dismissed plaintiffs’ cases for “lack of standing”. The U.S. supreme Court has refused to hear any of these cases.

      The supreme Court does not tell us why they decline to review a case. However, it may well be that they see this as a “political question” which is to be handled (if at all) by Congress via impeachment. The supreme Court has no constitutional authority to order a President of the United States to step down. All the supreme Court could do IF it were willing to rule on the merits of one of these eligibility cases is to announce that obama was not eligible to hold the office. But it would still be up to Congress to impeach & remove obama. CONGRESS has constitutional authority to remove a sitting President. The federal courts do not have that constitutional power.

      And the supreme Court has no constitutional authority to order Congress to impeach & remove a sitting President. The SOLE power of impeachment and conviction rests in Congress.

      So, those who are so proud of themselves for knowing “all about” how “quo warranto” is the way to go [I do not include you among this ignorant lot] don’t seem to understand any of the above. And they are NOT willing to learn because their ignorant conceit is so great.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | August 8, 2013 | Reply

      • The ultimate power is the PEOPLE. But if the “PEOPLE” are restricted from getting “discovery” and subpoena power, then the courts are worthless and corrupt. The First Amendment mandates the power of the people to PETITION in court as well as in Congress. Both of these powers have been stripped from the people by the courts and by Congress. Impeach? Too late! Only a well armed militia will drain the current vile cesspool called the Judicial System.


        Comment by ednoonan7 | August 8, 2013 | Reply

        • The People can get “discovery” on the issue of obama’s eligibility thru their Representatives in an impeachment proceeding.

          The problem is that the American People are so corrupt that they elect and re-elect congresspersons who refuse to do their duty. The American People fail and refuse to elect to State office people who will actually provide honest elections. Again and again, particularly in Tennessee, we elect totally corrupt people to high office. We elect to our State legislatures people who know no more about our Constitutions than do my goats. And why is that? B/c We The People don’t trouble our precious selves to buckle down and actually learn the Constitution. We spend 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there, and think we know ALL about it. So we don’t know that the candidates are equally clueless.

          The American People are not innocent victims. They are reaping what they sowed.

          That said, individual citizens have uncovered a whole lot of information showing that obama is ineligible to hold office as President. His Kenyan birth certificate has been online for years. So has the Indonesian document showing him as an Indonesian. Experts in Adobe files have shown that obama’s “official” Hawaii birth certificate is a forgery. But we continue to send to office people who ignore all this.

          The first Amendment does not mean that we can petition the federal government for redress of any grievance whatsoever. It just says that CONGRESS shall make no laws abridging that [pre-existing] right. But the federal courts may certainly deny any petition of mine (or anybody elses’) which asks for relief they have no constitutional authority to give.

          Again, the supreme Court has no constitutional authority to order obama to leave office!

          And further: If we were to have a revolution now, it would end up like the French Revolution. B/c the TP people HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO OFFER. They do not understand our Founding Principles b/c they have not troubled themselves to spend even a few minutes to learn them.

          So WE THE PEOPLE needs to stop acting injured and claiming victim status. B/c WE ARE THE PROBLEM. The federal government is merely the result.


          Comment by Publius Huldah | August 8, 2013 | Reply

          • You are absolutely right. As my favorite political philosopher once said, “we have seen the enemy and he is us!” ~Pogo ‘Possum


            Comment by Jerry McDaniel | August 10, 2013

          • Thanks, Jerry! But alas, our national pastime seems to be …. blame-shifting.


            Comment by Publius Huldah | August 10, 2013

          • Yep, that’s been the most popular excuse since Eve
            told God, “the devil made me do it” and Adam told Him, “the wife you gave me made me do it”. (paraphrased)


            Comment by Jerry McDaniel | August 10, 2013

  22. I’ve written my congressmen about this several times. They have no intentions of doing anything. I’ve asked all of them if they are under threat of death or what? How many more criminal acts, usurpation of powers, scandels, etc, does it take? I’m afraid I might as well talk to my walls. At least they listen.


    Comment by Anonymous | August 8, 2013 | Reply

  23. Dear Publius Huldah, Thanks, For your clarity… It is a quality seldom seen in the sea of deception we live in.


    Comment by Noah | August 8, 2013 | Reply

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