I’m still mulling over this week’s writing prompt: Write an Unbiased Essay on Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial. And, honestly, I’m wondering if it’s possible. Why? Because I’m also asking myself: is an impeachment trial inherently biased and political? Is there a way to have an impeachment trial without party politics swaying its proceedings and verdict?
Sure, each side of the political aisle is decrying the fact that their political opposition is saying these biased things or saying those biased things, and doing these unprecedented things and doing those unprecedented things, all as a political maneuver to gain and sustain political power and leverage. But isn’t that the point of proceedings in Congress? At least, as we consider where we are in our political history as a nation? (That’s fodder for an entirely different post and writing prompt, for sure. So, I’ll try my best to stay on point here.)
To be clear, I’m not saying I condone the political situation we’re in, or that I want things to be as they are by any means. Far from it. But that doesn’t make what is what isn’t.
So bear with me as I try to consider the above questions, that ultimately only lead to more questions, as I attempt to draft this week’s writing prompt.
At the moment, as I work on this writing prompt, I’m looking into previous impeachments of presidents of the United States. I’m also considering the resignation of President Nixon. Why did he resign and not the other presidents who faced articles of impeachment? Was it because he didn’t have enough political power and leverage on either side of the aisle? Or was it because there truly was irrefutable evidence against him? If so, what makes that evidence different from the evidence brought forward in Trump’s second impeachment trial?
And as far as impeachment proceedings are concerned, I’m also considering why each presidential impeachment trial has ended with an acquittal. Is it because the proceedings themselves are inherently political and biased in nature, turning off the other side of the aisle? Because the entire process is set up in a political courtroom with political stakeholders— not set up in a courtroom of truly impartial judges, jurors, prosecutors, and defenders? Ultimately making all evidence and documents and statements offered and disclosed portrayed and perceived as biased, even if the evidence and documents and statements themselves aren’t biased. Is it fair to even call it a trial then? And if an impeachment trial is ultimately policial and biased in nature, where do public opinion and the voice of the people factor into impeachment proceedings and rulings?
Of course, all of those questions only produce more questions. But I’ll keep my musings centered around those considerations above for now, so I can continue to focus on this week’s writing prompt.
As I’m writing my draft this week, I’m also weighing the verdicts of impeachment trials for other government officials who were found guilty and convicted. Were those officials able to be convicted because their judges, jurors, prosecutors, and defenders in impeachment proceedings were truly impartial? Do impeachment proceedings for presidents not end in conviction because the executive branch of government is a lot more politically and operationally intertwined with the legislative branch than they should be, or actually are in reality?
Here are a few sources I’m parsing through as I consider some of the questions above.
- senate.gov: Impeachment
- governing.com: As Trump’s Trial Nears, Here’s a History of Unusual Impeachments
- Time: What to Know About the U.S. Presidents Who’ve Been Impeached
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Impeachment
- Congressional Research Service: The Impeachment and Trial of a Former President
- NPR: There Is Precedent For Trying A Former Government Official, Established 145 Years Ago
- Politico: Constitutional Law Scholars on Impeaching Former Officers
- Vox: Presidential impeachments are about politics, not law
- Chicago Tribune: Column: Impeachment trials aren’t about proving criminal behavior
- U.S. News & World Report Analysis: Impeachment Proves Imperfect Amid US Polarization
And as I parse through the information and sources above, here are some pieces about Trump’s second impeachment trial I’ll consider as I attempt to write my own unbiased essay on the impeachment trial. They’re being considered because they refer to political parties and politics, because they have a unique take, or because they are insinuating or revealing a particular bias of the impeachment proceedings and topics or concerns surrounding the impeachment proceedings.
- NPR: Article Of Impeachment Cites Trump’s ‘Incitement’ Of Capitol Insurrection
- Fox News: Trump Impeachment Inquiry [multiple articles]
- CNN: Republicans acquitted Trump again, but this time is different
- Vox:1 winner and 5 losers from Trump’s second impeachment trial
- The New York Times: You Can Barely Tell It’s the Same Trial in Cable Impeachment Coverage
- The Independent: Fox News accused of cutting away from Trump impeachment proceedings to avoid bombshell videos
- CNBC: 7 Republicans explain their vote to convict Trump for Capitol attack
- ABC News: Impeachment trial solidified views on Trump conviction: POLL
Stay tuned for my completed essay on Trump’s second impeachment trial. It’ll be posted on the blog on Friday.
What are your thoughts and feelings on the impeachment proceedings we witnessed last week? Discover anything interesting you want to share with others as you’re working on this writing prompt? Comment below to join this dialogue! Or tag me @kecreighton on social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium.
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