An Index for the People

This index is useful for people who like to understand wtf everyone is talking about.

An impeachment, in this context,is a criminal investigation against a president instituted by a written set of charges called ‘articles of impeachment’. The House investigates, collects evidence, cites high crimes and misdemeanors; and the Senate, acting as the jury, examines the proof and decides guilt or innocence of the accused public officer.

An impeachment Inquiry is an investigation conducted in order to look into the alleged criminal activity of the president in order to validate the necessity of a trial. The impeachment inquiry is only conducted by the House of Representatives.

Articles of Impeachment: The written accusation sent by the U.S. House of Representatives to the Senate. It lists the crimes and misdemeanors the president allegedly committed. 

Bribery: The offering or receiving of an undue reward to influence behavior and incline a person to act contrary to a person’s duty and the known rules of honesty and integrity. In criminal law this applies to persons whose ordinary profession or business relates to the administration of public justice.

Deposition:  The written statement of a witness taken under oath in response to questions. This information may later be used in court as evidence.

Executive Privilege: The government’s executive branch has the constitutional right not to disclose information. This law protects sensitive information – usually national defense and foreign policy — in compliance with constitutional doctrine of separation of powers.

Hearsay Evidence: Testimony involving statements by someone not actually in the court under oath and subject to cross examination. Data presented is not admissible as evidence.

Hearing (closed): Closed hearings are held in private as special congressional committees have done recently to collect evidence from key persons they want to question. 

Hearing (open): Open hearings are investigations open to the public.

In Camera: During a public hearing, certain sensitive matters are required to be heard in private— a time out—in the judges’ chambers away from spectators. When roughly translated from Latin, it means “in private”.

Inquiry, Inquest: Group of people appointed by law to inquire into certain matters.

Interrogatory: The means of collecting testimony from a witness with formal written questions used in a judicial examination.The party that calls the witness to testify conducts direct examination. The adverse party conducts cross examination of the witness. 

Oath: A pledge promising that statements are true. For example, a witness prior to giving testimony before the court is sworn in, takes the oath: “to tell the truth, the whole truth, so help me God.” Another example is when a public official takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. 

Obstruction of Justice: A person’s actions that evade legal system or procedures by not fully disclosing information or falsifying statements.

Pardon (full): Term used when a person who  is guilty is restored to not guilty status as if he had never committed the offense.

Quid Pro Quo: Used in law for giving one valuable thing for another. Common expressions are ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’, or ‘one hand washes the other’ . 

Subpoena: An order directed to a person to appear at a particular place and time to testify as a witness. The person may be required to bring with him any books, documents, or other filings under his control which he is bound by law to produce in evidence.

Whistleblower: An employee or subordinate who turns against their superiors to bring a problem out in the open.

Witness Tampering: Intimidation or harassment of a witness before or after testimony is obstruction of justice.


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