PBS discusses what's to come ahead of the impeachment vote in the House.
The House Impeachment Vote and the Future of a Nation
Ahead of Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings, the House Rules Committee began debate by acknowledging bipartisan respect — a rare gesture amid a highly contentious matter. At the same time, President Donald Trump unleashed rancor in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Mitch McConnell rejected a Democratic proposal for the expected Senate trial. Last week, House Democrats summed up their case for impeachment of Trump, saying his handling of Ukraine policy represented a “clear and present danger” to American elections. Republicans pushed back on the integrity of the investigation, calling it a rush to judgment. You can read the full articles of impeachment against Trump here. Read the summary, watch the video and answer the questions. You can turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function and read along with the transcript here. For the sake of time, you may wish to the stop video at 3m:20s (full video: 6m:20s), before studio interview.
[Background: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced an inquiry in September following a whistleblower complaint about a phone call between Trump and the new president of Ukraine. The House voted on conducting a formal inquiry on Oct. 28. Specifically, Trump asked for an investigation into the 2016 election, and into the son of potential 2020 political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. The Trump administration is accused of withholding military aid to Ukraine for Trump’s personal political advantage. Trump says he has done nothing wrong.]
Impeachment Vote Discussion Questions
- Focus question: What arguments will Democratic and Republican lawmakers make during Wednesday’s impeachment vote?
- How many times in history has a U.S. president been impeached?
- Why are House rules an important part of Wednesday’s proceedings?
- What are your expectations for how elected officials will behave?
- What was the tone and content of Trump’s letter? What should Democrats’ reaction and tone be in response?
- What does it mean for the U.S. to have coequal branches of government?
- Media literacy: Be sure to check out at least two other TV networks or websites for coverage of Wednesday’s proceedings. How does it differ from NewsHour’s story here?
Impeachment Vote Extension Activities
Want to really wow your students? Watch this PBS recap of the Watergate hearings from 40 years ago. Ask your students if they see any familiar themes. What appears different about today’s impeachment hearings and the Watergate hearings? What is the tone of the Republican and Democrat lawmakers on the committee back then? What about now? Are there lessons from the Watergate hearings that could be applied today?