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impeachment

On December 13, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend two articles of impeachment against President Trump, and the full House of Representatives adopted them on December 18. On February 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted the president on both articles.

Going by those dates, the full, official impeachment saga lasted 54 days.

Our side-project, Saturday-show chronicling of the impeachment, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), launched on December 6, 2019. 11 episodes and 12 hours of radio later, Pardon Me has come to its close.

This hour, in lieu of a proper Colin McEnroe Show, and continuing the Presidents' Day weekend festivities, we present the final installment of Pardon Me.

Four Department of Justice prosecutors working on the case of Roger Stone, a close friend of President Trump, withdrew from legal proceedings Tuesday after Attorney General William Barr overruled their sentencing recommendations. The president had complained about the long sentence.

Barr denied that President Trump asked him to intervene and claimed he wouldn't be "bullied or influenced by anybody." He said Thursday that the president should stop tweeting about DOJ criminal cases. The president took to Twitter Friday to say he has the "legal right." Shortly therafter, the DOJ dropped their probe into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Before you think this is more than theater, keep in mind that Barr also set up a process to vet information that Rudy Giuliani is gathering in Ukraine. And he tasked prosecutors to review the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Note: This episode contains strong language.

This hour, we air an updated version of the most recent episode of our weekly impeachment show, Pardon Me, which normally airs Saturdays at noon.

The Senate acquitted President Trump on both articles of the impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican who voted to convict the president on one charge, for "egregious" behavior he believed rose to the level of a "high crime and misdemeanor."

Note: This episode contains strong language.

The Senate acquitted President Trump on both articles of the impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican who voted to convict the president on one charge, for "egregious" behavior he believed rose to the level of a "high crime and misdemeanor."

President Trump responded with anger. He fumed at his perceived enemies at Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast. They include members of Congress, people on his staff, FBI agents, and even the state of New York. Senate Republicans hoping for a more subdued Trump were wrong. Others knew better. One remains hopeful.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

President Trump declared victory on Thursday, a day after being acquitted by the Senate on two articles of impeachment, and lashed out at his political opponents in lengthy extemporaneous remarks.

"We went through hell, unfairly. I did nothing wrong," he said in a public statement from the White House.

"It was all bulls***," he said, tracing his impeachment woes back to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Senate has voted, 51 to 49, not to subpoena witnesses or documents in its impeachment trial of President Trump. Closing arguments are expected on Monday, and a verdict could come next Wednesday afternoon.

This week, Colin and The Gist's Mike Pesca puzzle over the Republican strategy and Alan Dershowitz. He's the Trump attorney who argued that the president could engage in a quid pro quo that benefited him personally as long as he believes his reelection is in the public interest. Dershowitz believes the media misunderstood his argument. These are his words.

And New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik gets into the impeachment as television. He's not entirely sure democracy will be renewed for another season.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

As President Trump's legal team pressed the case for acquittal on Monday, they repeatedly made two points: the charges against Trump do not meet the constitution's criteria for impeachment. And if the president is removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, it will set a "dangerous" precedent.

"You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like quid pro quo," said one of Trump's lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, calling the charges "vague, indefinable."

Updated on Saturday at 3:01 p.m.

With the State Department facing continued questions over the treatment of Marie Yovanovitch before she was recalled as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would not say on Friday whether he owed the career diplomat an apology.

"I've defended every single person on this team," Pompeo said in an interview with NPR. "I've done what's right for every single person on this team."

Chief Justice John Roberts scolded House managers and the President's counsel early Wednesday for using language beneath the dignity of the world's "greatest deliberative body." This, after Senator Susan Collins complained about "unsettling comments" she felt went against Senate rules of decorum.

Speaking of decorum, senators played with fidget spinners and did crossword puzzles while House managers made their case for impeachment. Enough of this pettifoggery!

Updated at 9:00 p.m. ET

House Democrats on Friday finished their third and final day of arguments that President Trump, impeached by the House, now should be convicted and removed from office by the Senate.

The president's lawyers will get their turn to lay out the case for acquittal starting this weekend.

"A toxic mess"

Blumenthal, Murphy Battle Rules As Trump Impeachment Trial Begins

Jan 21, 2020
CSpan

The Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began Tuesday with warring views of how it should proceed.

Democrats, including Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rules for conducting the trial, calling them corrupt and “rigged” to result in Trump’s acquittal before the president gives his State of the Union speech on Feb. 4.

Connecticut Public

Slate's Stephen Metcalf thinks President Trump is a hostage to 1979.

Why else would he overreact by killing Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani for inciting protesters to storm the U.S. Embassy in Iraq?

Updated Jan. 21 at 2:26 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made last-minute, handwritten changes Tuesday to the parameters for how President Trump's impeachment trial process will play out. Departing from a draft resolution he released Monday night, the resolution now allows impeachment managers and the president's defense to have 24 hours to make arguments over three session days. The draft had stipulated 24 hours over two days. McConnell also altered the rules for admitting the House evidence into the record.

Connecticut Public

Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey argue that President Trump has changed the function of the presidency from one of public service to one that serves his personal interests.

The President was impeached for withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for a political investigation into his political rival and obstructing the House investigation into his behavior.

The President will likely be acquitted in the Senate. It may be up to voters in November to decide whether to ratify or reject Trump's vision of the presidency.

President Trump fretted this week that White House lawyer Pat Cippolone and personal lawyer Jay Sekulow lacked experience on television. So he added a few TV-ready lawyers to the mix, each with scripted roles to play.

This week, Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey argue that President Trump has changed the presidency from one of public service to one that serves his personal interests. Will we ratify his vision or reject it? It may be up to voters to decide.

Also this hour: Slate's Stephen Metcalf thinks Trump is a hostage to 1979. Why else would he be obsessed with U.S. embassies and Jimmy Carter?

And singer/songwriter Lara Herscovitch proves music is the antidote to our troubled times.

Hyde Campaign

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, said he dismissed information given to him by Robert Hyde, a Republican candidate for Congress in Connecticut's 5th District. 

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

Amid much pomp and circumstance, the Senate took some of its first steps on Thursday to prepare for next week's impeachment trial of President Trump, just the third such trial in Senate history.

Chief Justice John Roberts, having crossed First Street from the Supreme Court building over to the Capitol, joined senators in the chamber and then was sworn in by Senate President pro tempore Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Roberts will preside over the trial.

Connecticut Congressional Candidate Involved In Ukraine Scandal

Jan 15, 2020
Hyde Campaign

Robert F. Hyde, a Simsbury construction company owner, Trump donor and a Republican candidate for the U.S. House, is now a figure in the presidential impeachment inquiry after documents suggest he spied on the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives has delivered articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate, which is expected to begin a trial next week.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named seven Democratic members of Congress as the managers who will argue the case for impeachment.

Those managers brought the articles to the Senate on Wednesday evening.

This hour, we air an updated version of the most recent episode of our weekly impeachment show, Pardon Me, which normally airs Saturdays at noon.

Law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that President Trump's order to kill Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a far graver offense than his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. Think about it: He's bragging about his decision to kill a high-ranking official of another country. Will Chief Justice John Roberts save us?

And that's the positive view on the show this week.

Law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that President Trump's order to kill Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a far graver offense than his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. Think about it: He's bragging about his decision to kill a high-ranking official of another country. Will Chief Justice John Roberts save us?

And that's the positive view on our show this week.

Sarah Kendzior studies autocratic governments. She thinks we'd be foolish to believe there are limits to what the Trump administration would do -- whether jailing witnesses and whistleblowers, threatening protesters, or using nuclear weapons.

Last month, we launched a whole other show. It's a weekly show airing on Saturdays at noon and hitting your podcast feeds on Fridays most weeks hopefully. It's called Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?). It's about all the latest trends and tech in the world of industrial welding. Wait, no. That's not right. It's about the impeachment, silly.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut’s two U.S. senators believe that the release of a previously redacted email strengthens the impeachment case against Donald Trump.

Professor Michael Gerhardt argues that the impeachment process is legitimate, despite efforts by President Trump and his defenders to deny it. It is the president's conduct that is not normal.

Gerhardt was one of four law professors summoned by the House Judiciary Committee in December, to share their legal expertise on whether President Trump's conduct met the legal threshold for impeachment. Three out of four of them believe it did.

Also this hour: State Department witness George Kent's bow tie and Rep. Jim Jordan's jacket have their own Twitter accounts. Nancy Pelosi's dagger-like gold pin turned heads on the day she opened up House debate on the president's impeachment. We talk about the fashion semiotics of impeachment.

As President Trump's impeachment trial approaches, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is under close scrutiny from Democrats and her fellow Republicans ahead of a vote that could once again test her reputation for centrism and independence.

The spotlight on Collins has come a bit earlier than expected.

In the narrowly divided Senate, just four Republicans could force Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reconsider his vow for a speedy acquittal and "total coordination" with the Trump White House.

Peter Sokolowski, lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, fears we're currently having a crisis of meaning in our cultural understanding and use of words.

How do we understand phrases like "fake news"? Does it mean news that has no relationship to reality or is it how President Trump refers to truth-based news he doesn't like? What is an "alternative fact"?

There's a good chance that President Trump knows that the stain of impeachment will be part of his legacy. And as damning details about the president's behavior trickle out, we're realizing how much we still don't know. This may explain why impeachment may be more popular than we realize.

It wasn't that long ago that House Democrats didn't know who would lead them.

They were warring over the speaker's post just days after the 2018 midterm elections handed them back the majority.

But Nancy Pelosi was certain of her fate.

"I intend to win the speakership with Democratic votes," Pelosi told reporters soon after the November elections. "I happen to think at this point, I'm the best person for that."

There's actually some question whether President Trump has officially been impeached, it turns out.

In any case, on Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two Articles of Impeachment charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of congress.

On our third full episode, we talk to the founder of Politico about the huge difference a tiny bit of self-control would make to the Trump presidency and a Yale historian about what those crazy founders were thinking when they put impeachment in the Constitution in the first place.

Plus: Our first AccuFrankie report from the Target parking lot in New Britain, Conn., and a song performed live in our studios by Nekita Waller, "Big Al" Anderson, Jim Chapdelaine, and The Shinolas.

Updated at 9:27 p.m. ET

House lawmakers voted to impeach President Trump on Wednesday in only the third such rebuke in American history.

The move triggers a trial for Trump in the Senate, expected in January — one in which majority Republicans are likely to permit him to retain his office.

The vote was 230 to 197 on the first of two articles of impeachment — abuse of power — with one member voting present. The House then passed the second article — obstruction of Congress — with a vote of 229 to 198, with one member voting present.

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