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Democracy Works

135 EpisodesProduced by Penn State McCourtney Institute for Democracy/The Democracy GroupWebsite

Examining what it means to live in a democracy


Understanding impeachment — from the Federalist Papers to the whistleblower

We bring you special episode of Democracy Works this week that’s all about impeachment. Michael Berkman takes the lead on this episode and talks with Michael Nelson, the Jeffrey L. Hyde and Sharon D. Hyde and Political Science Board of Visitors Early Career Professor in Political Science and affiliate faculty at Penn State Law.

Michael and Michael discuss the constitutional framework for impeachment and what the Framers had in mind when they set it up. They also discuss how impeachment is a unique cooperation between the three branches of government, where the inquiry launched last week against President Trump is likely to go, and what it all means for our democracy.

We recorded this episode on Friday, September 27, 2019. Everything we talk about is accurate as of that recording.

Episode Highlights

[1:20] Impeachment in the Constitution

[2:35] “High crimes and misdemeanors”

[6:21] Impeachment in the Federalist Papers

[10:30] Impeachment vs. “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal law

[11:25] The role each branch of government plays in impeachment

[12:15] Separation of powers

[15:30] The rules of the Senate, and how those rules change

[19:03] John Roberts and Supreme Court

[21:40] What could an impeachment proceeding look like?

[23:30] Political motivations for launching an impeachment inquiry

[24:53] Why the Ukraine phone call is important to democracy

[28:10] Comparing Trump to Nixon

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