Daily Video

December 19, 2019

House impeaches U.S. president for third time in history


Directions: 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.

***Watch the very start of the video when the first article of impeachment vote is announced, and then go to 26m:00s to watch Speaker Nancy Pelosi announce the article’s adoption.*** 


Summary: President Donald Trump became the third president in U.S. history Wednesday to be impeached by the House of Representatives under the Constitution for high crimes and misdemeanors. The vote split along party lines over the charges of abuse of power that involved Trump enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political opponent ahead of the 2020 election. The House also voted to impeach on a charge that the president then obstructed Congress in its investigation.

The articles of impeachment head now to the Senate for trial. Trump is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-led chamber, however, rules for the trial including if any new witnesses will be allowed to testify are underway.

You can read the full articles of impeachment against Trump here.

[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.]


Discussion questions:

  1. Focus question: Why did Democrats vote to impeach President Trump?
  2. Do you agree with the decision to impeach Trump? Explain.
  3. How many times in history has a U.S. president been impeached?
  4. What was Trump’s response to impeachment? (If you’re not sure, check out this AP article at Trump’s rally Wednesday night).
  5. If time allows, watch Rep. Adam Schiff’s, D-Ca., closing remarks on the House floor here. What does Schiff mean when he says no one is above the law? Watch Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., remarks here.
  6. How do you think the mark of impeachment will affect Trump’s run for re-election in 2020?
  7. Media literacy: Be sure to check out at least two other TV networks or websites (Washington Post, Fox News, BuzzFeed, Democracy Now!, Wall Street Journal) on coverage of Trump’s impeachment.

Extension activities:

Wednesday’s House proceedings represent only the third time in U.S. history that the body has debated impeaching a president. What has changed in the decades since previous impeachment processes — and what hasn’t? Yale University professor Beverly Gage joins John Yang to discuss the role of the modern media, varying reliance on the courts and whether impeachment has become a partisan tool.


For monthly updates containing teacher resources on Election 2020, click here.

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