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Impeachment | Munk Debates

EPISODE #9

Impeachment

Be it resolved, Donald Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanours

Guests
David Frum
Kimberley Strassel

About this episode

President Trump is standing trial in the Senate charged with using the powers of his office to pressure a foreign government to investigate a political rival for personal benefit. Many see Trump’s actions as meeting, in spirit and substance, the founder’s definition of an impeachable office or “high crimes and misdemeanours”. The President’s defenders believe that this is anything but the case. They see Trump’s contact with the Ukrainian government as similar to countless interactions of other US presidents with foreign heads of state. For the president’s defenders, impeachment is a blunt political weapon which threatens to permanently damage U.S. democratic institutions.

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Guests

David Frum

"This is not a matter of a president negotiating with a foreign power on behalf of the United States. The president was looking for a benefit for himself personally. This was an extortion."

David Frum

"This is not a matter of a president negotiating with a foreign power on behalf of the United States. The president was looking for a benefit for himself personally. This was an extortion."

David Frum is a staff writer at The Atlantic and a frequent guest on television in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. His popular Twitter feed is followed by about 825,000 people. 

From 2001 to 2002 he served as a speechwriter and special assistant to U.S. President George W. Bush and, from 2014-17, chaired the board of trustees of Policy Exchange, the United Kingdom's leading center-right think tank. He was for many years a member of the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition in the United States. 

Frum is the author of nine books, most recently New York Times bestseller Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic. His latest book, Trumpocalypse, will be published by Harper Collins May 5, 2020.

He and his wife Danielle Crittenden Frum live in Washington, DC and Wellington, Ontario. 

 

Kimberley Strassel

"Donald Trump inspires deep loathing in his critics, but mere disgust should not and cannot be a reason to overturn our basic mechanisms of representative democracy"

Kimberley Strassel

"Donald Trump inspires deep loathing in his critics, but mere disgust should not and cannot be a reason to overturn our basic mechanisms of representative democracy"

Kimberley Strassel is a member of the editorial board for The Wall Street Journal. She writes editorials, as well as the weekly Potomac Watch political column.

Ms. Strassel joined Dow Jones & Co. in 1994, working in the news department of The Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels, and then in London. She moved to New York in 1999 and soon thereafter joined the Journal's editorial page, working as a features editor, and then as an editorial writer. She assumed her current position in 2005.

Ms. Strassel, a 2014 Bradley Prize recipient, is a regular contributor to Sunday political shows. She is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: "The Intimidation Game” and “Resistance (At All Costs).”  

An Oregon native, Ms. Strassel earned a bachelor's degree in Public Policy and International Affairs from Princeton University. 

Show Notes

For more on David Frum’s case for impeachment, read his Atlantic article here.
 
For more on Kimberly Strassel’s case against impeachment, read her Wall Street Journal column here.
 
This is a step-by-step guide on how impeachment works.  
 
David Frum talks about how impeachment ended up in the constitution in 1787.  This article offers some background on how America’s founding fathers came to define impeachable offenses. It also discusses how the process imitated Britain’s in some ways (through two branches of government) yet differs in its sentencing. American lawmakers decided that impeachment could only lead to a president’s removal from office. Afterwards, he could still be indicted and face criminal prosecution.
 
David talks about previous impeachments of US presidents. There have been three presidents who faced impeachment before Donald Trump: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. Here is an explainer of how Donald Trump’s impeachment compares to those past.
 
Kimberly Strassel says that there is a bare majority support for impeachment. According to recent polls, American support for impeachment is almost evenly split, mainly along party lines. 91% of Democratic respondents approve of Trump's impeachment and 92% of Republican respondents oppose it.
 
Kimberly argues that due to no evidence of bribery or extortion, the House Democrats used two other charges against Donald Trump: Contempt of Congress and Abuse of Power. You can read the articles of impeachment in full here.
 
David mentions Trump's public call on China on October 3rd, when he pressured them to also investigate Joe Biden. You can watch that address here.
 
David talks about Donald Trump’s construction projects in foreign countries, like India, Pakistan, and Turkey, for which he has not disclosed financial records.
 
Kim references a 2012 discussion between Barack Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about continuing discussions about the European missile defense program. Caught on a hot mic, Obama asked for some space until after the election, after which he would be more willing to discuss the sensitive topic.
 
 

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