Impeachment Is The Focus of Social Studies Classes

Inquiry by House of Representatives leads to discussions Government, Contemporary Issues classes


Photo by Gracie Kruep

Beckmann explains in his Contemporary Issues class what filling articles of impeachment means. Beckmann uses current day articles as a tool to teach his students the most updated information.

Kierigan McEvoy, Web assignments editor

The last week, history classes around school have been muddling over one word, a specific word: impeachment.



This word has recently been made popular by current political events which now has forced actions to be taken and classrooms to address the complexity this word brings to the nation’s politics. AP Government and Contemporary Issues teacher Nicholas Beckmann believes with this news the country’s politics could soon be drastically changing. 

“We are headed in a different direction than we have been in the previous three years,” Mr. Beckmann said. “There’s a lot of people that have been, you know, claiming things about the president, you know, positive and negative. But we’ve kind of crossed over that threshold and now Nancy Pelosi announced that they are opening up an impeachment inquiry.”

On Sept. 25, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry would be conducted in regards to President Trump’s recent foreign exchanges with Ukraine and more recently, Australia. Impeachment has been a word thrown around in American government and politics quite frequently since the Regan administration. By rights the word is as threatening as it sounds, but the real question is not how powerful impeachment is, but how practical it is and how it is conducted. 

Impeachment of the president is when the lower house presents formal charges against the president. This is done by the house first identifying that an action the president has taken in some way violates the Constitution. For President Trump’s case, the Democratic party is claiming he has violated Article II, Section IV of the Constitution which states that the president may not conduct bribery, treason, or other high crimes. This subjective statement of “high crimes” is often why impeachment has been thrown around in political discussions so recently, because of its subjectiveness people are often divided on what falls under the high crime category. 

The facts are, President Trump made a phone call to the president of Ukraine. This call is believed to contain a conversation about President Trump withholding money from Ukraine if the president does not open an investigation between former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. The reason this phone call even reached the surface, AP Government teacher Kimberly Schellert says, is because of how the phone call was categorized. 

“When the president takes a phone call, a group of people go down to the Situation Room of the White House and they basically listen in on the phone call,” Mrs. Schellert explained. “These would be like White House office staff that are very close to the president, so they are pretty aware of what happens on a day-to-day basis. These phone conversations are transcribed, so if it’s a phone conversation about foreign relations or trade, the notes of the phone conversation are going to be passed on to specific committees … once transcribed, they go into a server; the server is where we keep an electronic record.” 

What led to the red flags and the whistleblower coming out is that these phone conversations that are supposed to be about simple foreign relations were filed under a classified secret server. Thus leading to the allegations and now the process of filing a formal investigation through articles of impeachment. 

Currently, the articles of impeachment are still being formally drawn up. Should the House of Representatives vote to impeach President Trump, then the case would go to the Senate who would hold a trail over the accused. The Chief Justice would preside over the trial while the Senate acts as the jury in the case. If the Senate finds the president to be guilty, then he would be formally removed from office. This means that a majority of the currently Republican-controlled Senate would have to vote against their own party in order to remove President Trump from office.

Based on the information above and your own knowledge, do you feel Speaker Pelosi has the grounds to order Articles of Impeachment against President Trump?

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However, there are political drawbacks for both the Republican and Democratic party. Should the president get impeached and removed from office, the Republican party faces substantial deficits from the removal of a president while in office while the Democratic party grows stronger. Yet, if the articles of impeachment do not pass, then the Democratic party looks foolish and walks away with a tarnished reputation and less voters while the Republican party is painted as a martyr and the party significantly strengthened. 

“It’s realistic that the charges can be filled. What the Democrats have to worry about is fallout and losing any independent voters that would lean democratic,” Mrs. Schellert said. “So the Democrats have to worry about losing House seats, they have to worry about losing Senate seats, and then they have to worry about the 2020 presidential election … so with Nancy Pelosi moving forward, it has to be pretty serious and there has to be some substantial evidence because of the potential blowback.”