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Breaking News - US President, Donald J Trump Has Been Impeached!

US President, Donald J Trump Has Been Impeached!

The United States President, Donald Trump has been impeached following the vote the House passed, making him the 3rd American president in history to be impeached. A majority of the House voted to pass both articles of impeachment today.

In a statement however, Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president is “confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings”.

The House has now passed the second article of impeachment, which is obstruction of Congress. The final vote was 229-198.

Trump has been impeached on both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and the two articles will now be taken up by the Senate in a trial to determine whether he should be removed from office.

It is widely expected the president will be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, but the importance of this moment cannot be understated.

A majority of the House of representatives has declared that Trump has abused his power and obstructed Congress, and he will go down in history as only the third US president to ever be impeached.

However, impeachment doesn't necessarily mean removal from office, but it's often a preriquisite or prelude to removing a public official from office. To impeach is to “charge (a public official) with an offense or misdemeanor committed while in office.”

In other words, it means to formally accuse a public official of a crime. In the United States, it is only the House of Representatives that has the power to impeach the president which Pelosi is there head. Democrats are the majority in this House. 

The next procedure after impeachment is trial and then removal or acquittal. In the US, only the Senate has the power to try and remove or acquit a president who has been impeached (by the House of Representatives). Republicans are the majority in this House. 

Only two presidents have been impeached in America’s history, with Trump making it the 3rd, and thus, wasn't removed from office since both were acquitted by the Senate. They are President Andrew Johnson (America’s 17th president who was acquitted by just one vote) and President Bill Clinton (America’s 42nd president).

Donald Trump will be the third president to be impeached, but he won't be removed because his party (Republican) constitutes the majority in the US Senate. 

Nigerian newspapers however interchange “impeach” with “remove from office” because they are copying the authors of the Nigerian constitution who don’t seem to know what “impeachment” really means. In the only two passages in the Nigerian constitution that the word “impeachment” appears, it is used as if it meant “removal.”

Section 146 (3) (a) of the document says, “where the office of vice president becomes vacant – by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution….” Again, in Section 191 (3) (a) of the constitution the following sentence appears: “where the office of deputy governor becomes vacant – by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this Constitution….” 

Well, an office can’t possibly become vacant by reason of “impeachment” in USA, unless if course you think like Nigerians who mistake impeachment with removal from the office. Just like people don’t go to prison simply because they have been accused of an offense, a vice president’s office can’t become vacant simply because he or she has been impeached. 

That would be a perversion of justice. Impeachment simply means accusation, and accusation alone is never a basis for conviction. To convict an accused person, you have to try him or her first. Bear in mind that, conviction is not the only possible outcome of a trial. 

An accused (or impeached) person can be acquitted after trial, as was the case for the two US presidents that were impeached.

Curiously, the Nigerian constitution never uses the word “impeachment” in relation to the president and state governors; it instead talks of the procedures for the “removal” of the president and of governors from office. 

The people who wrote the 1999 Nigerian constitution are clearly not sufficiently educated about the meanings of the terminologies they deployed in the constitution. And they passed on their ignorance to the Nigerian news media and to the Nigerian populace. 

Though to be candid, some Americans also think impeachment is equivalent removal. But just that the thought is a cliche doesn't make it true. 

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