Description: On January 13, 2021, the House debated articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Using primary source video of the House floor debate, this lesson provides an overview of the debate's procedures and has students analyze the arguments made during that debate. View the entire lesson here:
Have the students begin class by answering the following questions. Review the answers with the class and address any misconceptions.
- What is the purpose of Congress' impeachment power?
- How does the impeachment process work?
After reviewing the basic power and purpose of Congress' impeachment power, have the students view the following video clip and read the articles of impeachment. For each video clip, students should complete the activity listed below.
Video Clip: Previewing a Second Impeachment of President Trump (5:42)
- Describe the process for impeaching the president.
- What are the obstacles to the impeachment process in the House?
- What are the obstacles to an impeachment trial in the Senate?
- What does Rep. Raskin (D-MD) say are the reasons for impeaching President Trump?
- Describe the debate over holding an impeachment trial after the president leaves office.
Reading: Article of Impeachment Read the resolution and answer the following questions:
- Summarize the events discussed in Article I: Incitement of Insurrection.
- What are the arguments for impeaching President Trump laid out in the article of impeachment?
Using the impeachment debate handout linked below, have the students view each of the video clips of members of Congress debating the articles of impeachment. While viewing these video clips, students will take notes on the arguments each member of Congress makes and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments.
Handout: Analyzing the House Impeachment Debate (Google Doc)
- Video Clip: Rep. McGovern (D-MA) (4:23)
- Video Clip: Rep. Cole (R-OK) Debates Article of Impeachment against President Trump (5:10)
- Video Clip: Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) (4:11)
- Video Clip: Rep. McClintock (R-CA) (4:12)
- Video Clip: Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) (1:21)
- Video Clip: Minority Leader McCarthy (R-CA) (7:06)
APPLICATION AND CONCLUSION:
Using the T-charts on the handout, have the students list the arguments for and against each of the Articles of Impeachment. Based on this chart, have them provide a written response to the following prompt. Teachers can also choose to use one of the activities listed on C-SPAN's Classroom Deliberation site
- Based on the arguments from the House impeachment debate, how should the House have voted on the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump?
Create your Own Clip- View and search through the House impeachment debate on C-SPAN's website. Find arguments not included in the lesson. Using the clipping guide, create a clip to present to the class.
Research your Member of Congress- Identify your member of Congress. Search through the House impeachment debate on C-SPAN's website. If applicable, summarize your member of Congress' position on the issue of impeachment.
Previous Impeachment Comparisons- Using the video of the House impeachment debate of President Clinton or the first impeachment debate of President Trump, explain how the arguments in the Clinton impeachment debate compare to those in the Trump impeachment debate.
Logical Fallacies- Using the logical fallacies explained on the Purdue Online Writing Lab website, identify and explain how these logical fallacies were represented in the arguments for or against impeachment.