Though impeachment of a United States president is rare, four U.S. presidents have faced impeachment proceedings. Impeachment is not the removal of an official, but rather, it resembles an indictment that allows a trial to proceed. The House of Representatives decides whether there are grounds to impeach a president, and the Senate conducts the impeachment trial.
Begin impeachment proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee, which is a subcommittee in the House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Committee considers evidence for of wrongdoing, and votes whether to pass the matter along to the entire body.
Schedule formal hearings. The House Judiciary Committee holds hearings investigating any allegations against the president.
Draw up articles of impeachment. The House Judiciary Committee composes articles of impeachment outlining the crimes the president has committed and the evidence of those crimes. According to the United States Constitution, the House of Representatives may impeach the president for "high crimes and misdemeanors."
Take a vote on whether to send the articles of impeachment to the full House of Representatives for a vote. If a majority of the members of the House Judiciary Committee votes to send the articles on, they are then submitted to the full House.
Vote on the articles of impeachment. The House votes on whether to accept the articles of impeachment. To impeach a president, a majority of the members must vote on each articles of impeachment. Any articles of impeachment that pass are then sent to the Senate to prepare for a formal trial.
Consider the articles of impeachment in the Senate. If the House of Representatives votes to impeach the president, the Senate can remove him from office with a two-thirds majority vote. The senate runs the hearing much like a trial. The president is found guilty of his alleged crimes if two thirds of the Senate votes to remove him from office.
The only penalty attached to an affirmative impeachment trial is removal from office, though the removed official may face civil or criminal charges in a later proceeding in the court system.