Five Things You Need to Know about the Impeachment of Donald Trump

Five Things You Need to Know about the Impeachment of Donald Trump

Naomi Schalit

Poliitcs, Americas


Where the action is: The capitol building in Washington, D.C.

If you have a big appetite for politics news, you’re not going to go hungry this week.

The substantive part of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump now begins, after Democrats from the House of Representatives delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate last week and senators, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts, were sworn in.

At The Conversation, we’ve followed this story since it began as a whistleblower’s report back in what seems like prehistoric times – last August. We’ve been happy to leave the tick-tock reporting to our colleagues in the rest of the media – this happened and this happened, and then this happened. What we’ve done here is provide you with stories that tell you about the things related to the impeachment that you don’t see – the history, the trends, the legal implications.

Here are five of those stories to help you make sense of the news over the coming days and weeks.

1. Donald Trump, 2.0

Could the Senate convict and send President Trump packing – only to have the voters return him to the White House?

None of the three presidents who previously faced impeachment – Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton – was convicted. None of them sought reelection after their trials. Johnson simply chose not to run, while Nixon and Clinton, both in their second terms, were barred by the Constitution (as opposed to some outcome related to being impeached) from running a third time.

But President Trump is already running for reelection. Austin Sarat, a scholar of American legal and political history at Amherst College, writes that “a little-known wrinkle in the Constitution might allow Trump to be reelected president in 2020 even if he is removed from office through the impeachment process.”

2. Removal, shmemoval

Much of the talk among Trump’s Republican defenders has been that the impeachment battle is about Democrats forcing Trump from office as a way to undo the 2016 election.

But the Founders, who debated and wrote the rules for impeachment, did not see impeachment solely as a way to remove a president.

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