(Episode 43) The Impeachment Tea: A mini[-ish]-sode
Way back in Season 2 (Episode 8 overall), we talked about Article II of the Constitution, which deals with the executive branch. Article II, Section 4 states:
"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Fun fact: "high crimes and misdemeanors" doesn't mean what you think it means. It's not just codified crimes (which is what you might think of today); the Founders meant for that to be the catch-all phrase for any other inappropriate conduct they hadn't specifically mentioned.
Now, "impeachment" doesn't mean removal from office; its a separate and distinct concept. Impeachment consists of three phases:
1. Passage of impeachment by the House;
2. Trial by the Senate; and
3. Imposition of a penalty if the Senate convicts. (<--This is where removal happens.)
The rules surrounding impeachment are a bit wishy-washy. The Senate gets to decide the rules, and reportedly, they kind of "make it up as they go along." Impeachment has been extraordinarily rare in our country's history when it comes to the Presidency: only two U.S. Presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives (Andrew Johnson in 1868, and Bill Clinton in 1998).
So, what's this Ukraine phone call everyone is talking about? What did the whistleblower report say (and here's the unannotated version)? How did this spiral into a bigger inquiry about directives being given in the White House? What the Fuck Just Happened Today? Join us for a chat about what's happening in the national news.
A few other resources:
1. If you're thinking we've been talking about impeachment for oh, say, months before this incident, you're right. Here are a few articles: from CNN (March 2019), Fox News (July 2019), and the National Catholic Reporter (July 2019).
2. Another timeline from LA Times. If you're more of a visual person, check out Buzzfeed's flowchart and USA Today's visual timeline.