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February 6, 2020

Republican-controlled Senate acquits President Trump of both impeachment charges

Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts presides during the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in the U.S. Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 31, 2020. Photo by U.S. Senate TV/Handout via Reuters

 

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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 hereSTOP video at 4m:46s.

Summary: The U.S. Senate has spoken, and President Trump will remain in office. On Wednesday, he was acquitted of both impeachment counts, almost entirely along party lines. Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney was the only senator to break ranks, prompting criticism from his party and praise from Senate Democrats.

Discussion questions:

  1. Focus question: Do you think the impeachment trial was fair? Why or why not?
  2. What did you learn about America’s democratic system during the impeachment trial that you did not know before?
  3. What is partisanship? How about bipartisanship? How did partisan politics factor into the impeachment hearings and trial?
  4. What questions would you ask Republican and Democratic lawmakers? How about the president?
  5. Do you think witnesses should have been part of the Senate trial? Explain.
  6. Why do you think Trump’s approval rating (49% of the country) showed some improvement at the end of the trial?
  7. Why did some Republican lawmakers and Trump give Sen. Romney a hard time for voting to convict on one of the two impeachment charges?
  8. Have you heard the term news fatigue? What do you think it means? Do you think the public experienced news fatigue with the impeachment process? If so, how do you think it could have been prevented?
  9. Media literacy: Check out a few headlines from late Wednesday or Thursday morning. What do they say? What is their tone? What do the subheadings say and what is their tone?

Extension activity

Watch the video below: After a contentious and highly partisan Senate impeachment trial, President Trump has been acquitted on both impeachment charges brought against him by the House of Representatives. John Hart of Mars Hill Strategies and Georgetown Law School’s Victoria Nourse join Judy Woodruff to discuss Trump’s reaction to the vote, political consequences for each party and the need for bipartisan support of impeachment.

 


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