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Government Ethics
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"So even if President Trump were impeached and convicted, there is the possibility that he could be reelected to the same office from which he had been removed," writes Austin Sarat.

Could President Trump be impeached and convicted – but also reelected?

The ConversationSarat is a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College.

The launching of an "official impeachment inquiry" into President Donald Trump's conduct has sailed America into largely uncharted waters.

While there have been demands for the impeachment of many presidents, just three previous ones – Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton – have faced formal impeachment inquiries, and the Senate convicted none of them. None of those three sought reelection.

After Johnson's acquittal, he was denied his party's presidential nomination. Nixon and Clinton were in their second terms already and could not run for reelection.

Trump, however, is already doing so.

As a scholar of American legal and political history, I have studied the precedents for dealing with this strange conundrum. A little-known wrinkle in the Constitution might allow Trump to be reelected president in 2020 even if he is removed from office through the impeachment process.

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"The Constitution makes clear that impeachment is not a criminal prosecution," writes Clark D. Cunningham.

Founders: Removal from office is not the only purpose of impeachment

Cunningham is the director of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics & Professionalism at Georgia State University.

As Congress moves toward a possible formal impeachment of President Donald Trump, they should consider words spoken at the Constitutional Convention, when the Founders explained that impeachment was intended to have many important purposes, not just removing a president from office.

A critical debate took place on July 20, 1787, which resulted in adding the impeachment clause to the U.S. Constitution. Benjamin Franklin, the oldest and probably wisest delegate at the Convention, said that when the president falls under suspicion, a "regular and peaceable inquiry" is needed.

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Voters say they have nothing to fear more than government itself

There's fresh evidence that anxiety about the many ways American democracy is malfunctioning remains very high in the national consciousness.

More than a third of Americans now view the government itself as the top problem in the United States, the Gallup survey out Monday finds. Those results offer all candidates now running for office a clear rationale for elevating plans to "fix the system" closer to the top of their policy agendas.

So far, however, proposals for reforming democracy have received minimal attention in the 2020 campaign — neither in the presidential race that's been underway all year nor in the hundreds of congressional and state legislative contests just starting to gel.

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Government Ethics
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"The issue at hand is whether Trump committed crimes grave enough to warrant his removal from office," writes Erica Etelson.

The one question every American can ask themselves about impeachment

Etelson is a member of Better Angels, a citizens group fighting political polarization, and the author of "Beyond Contempt: How Liberals Can Communicate Across the Great Divide."

In my one-year retrospective last month on the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, I observed that partisan bias played a huge role in whether one believed nominee Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford. Extreme partisan disparity is evident once again in public opinion polls concerning impeachment.

Eighty-seven percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Republicans approve of Congress launching an impeachment inquiry, according to a September 26-27 YouGov poll commissioned by CBS News. Likewise, when asked whether Trump's handling of Ukraine is "typical — a thing most presidents do" or "unusual — something few have done," 71 percent of Republicans but just 15 percent of Democrats say it is typical.

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