What is Impeachment? How to Lead a Student Discussion

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Speaker Pelosi announces an impeachment inquiry

What Is Impeachment and Why Is It Happening?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally announced the beginning of an Trump impeachment inquiry Tuesday after a whistleblower alleged that the president tried to force a foreign leader to aid his reelection. At the United Nations, President Donald Trump faced questions about his own actions, and he seemed to confirm and defend the fact that he withheld hundreds of millions of dollars from Ukraine. Watch the video below and answer the discussion questions. You can turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function and read along with the transcript here.

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What Is Impeachment? Understanding A Process Through Breaking News

On Wednesday, a five-page memo was released which described Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president. The memo revealed new details of Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine. The text shows that immediately after Volodymr Zelensky brought up military aid, Trump asked him for “a favor.”

On Thursday, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee Thursday regarding an intelligence community whistleblower’s complaint about President Trump’s interactions with a foreign leader. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss his concerns that Trump tried to cover up misconduct.

What Is Impeachment? Discussion Questions for the Classroom

1) Essential question: Why is impeachment a part of the political process in America?

2) What do you know about the previous cases of impeachment in U.S. history? Why has impeachment rarely been used? (check out the AP and Vox links below)

3) Why did Nancy Pelosi announce an official impeachment inquiry?

4) What was President Trump’s reaction to news of the impeachment inquiry?

5) What was the allegation made by the whistleblower regarding Ukrainian aid?

6) Why did Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Thurs., Sept 26th, regarding an intelligence community whistleblower’s complaint?

7) Watch the video to answer the questions about the memo released on Wednesday: What lawmakers learned from Trump’s Ukraine call memo

  • What did the memo say?
  • Were there parts of the memo that concerned you? Which parts and why?
  • Why is it against the law for U.S. leaders to pressure another country’s government for information on their political opponents? How does this action undermine democracy?
  • What is Trump’s reaction to the memo? Democratic leadership’s?

8) Do you think an impeachment inquiry is warranted? Why or why not?

9) Media literacy: Congressional reaction to the impeachment hearing has largely fallen along partisan lines. What can you do to make sure you understand various opinions?

 

What is impeachment and why has Trump's behavior triggered it?

 

What is impeachment? Extend your lesson by exploring the extra resources below:

This article was originally published on PBS NewsHour Extra and can be viewed here.

Discover more impeachment lesson plans in our curated collection of free resources.

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