Daily Video

October 18, 2019

Impeachment inquiry: How civics helps eclipse partisanship


Directions: Watch the video, read the summary  and answer the discussion questions. (if pressed for time, stop video at 2m:42s) Follow along with the transcript here. Read the latest on the impeachment inquiry here.


Summary: President Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney gave a press conference Thursday that seemed to contradict the president’s claim that he did not withhold money from the Ukraine in order to persuade the new president to investigate the son of Trump’s political rival, former vice president Joe Biden.

Mulvaney appeared to support the idea that the Ukraine phone call, which started the House’s impeachment inquiry a few weeks ago, contained a quid pro quo (in Latin, “something for something”) over the U.S. withholding military aid. Trump has denied a quid pro quo charge.

Meanwhile, European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified behind closed doors, reportedly defending the president and disagreeing that a quid pro quo took place during the phone call.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said, “Things have just gone from very, very bad to much, much worse. The idea that vital military assistance would be withheld for such a patently political reason, for the reason of serving the president’s reelection campaign, is a phenomenal breach of the president’s duty to defend our national security.

Check out Shields and Brook’s take on the inquiry here and origins of the inquiry here via NewsHour Extra.


Discussion questions:

1) Focus question: What factors need to be in place for an impeachment inquiry not to fall along Democrat vs Republican lines?

2) Why did Mulvaney’s press conference get so much attention?

3) Where does the impeachment inquiry currently stand? (see updates here)

4) What is European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s role in the impeachment inquiry? Why did the State Department instruct Sondland not to attend a House panel interview a couple of weeks ago? Why do you think Sondland chose to testify on Thursday in front of the committee?

5) Media literacy: The partisan divide on the impeachment inquiry is deep. What research strategies could you use to make sure you are hearing as much of the full story as possible? 


Extension activity:

President Trump is also accused of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, designed to protect the American government from corrupting foreign influences.

Compare two sources: a backgrounder from the conservative Heritage Foundational and a video from Keith Jon “Hip” Hughes, a history teacher and YouTube personality. Hughes looks at the text of the Constitution, including  the foundations of the emoluments clause (Why do you think it’s also called the ‘nobility clause’?), examples in presidential history, and in light of the announcement that the G7 summit will be held at a Trump property, a synopsis of the current situation with President Trump.



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