Sarat is a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College.
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.
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.
The internet and social media, often engines of democracy movements fighting powerful governments, are now more often being used as weapons against democracy and freedom.
That is the depressing conclusion of Freedom House's annual assessment, released Tuesday, which reported a ninth consecutive decline in internet freedom across the globe — including in the United States, where its very high marks nonetheless slipped for the third straight year.
While this country remains a beacon of internet freedom, Freedom House said, it was troubled by the expanded surveillance of the public by law enforcement and immigration agencies using social media and the internet. And it noted how disinformation campaigns continued to surround major political events of the past year such as the Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh of the Supreme Court.
Danielle Brian is executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates corruption, misconduct and conflicts of interest in the federal government. A South Florida native and National FOIA Hall of Fame member, Brian has testified before Congress more than 40 times in the 27 years she's been leading the organization, which goes by the memorable acronym POGO. She returned to the group and took the reins in 1993 after interning there a decade earlier. Her answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
What's the tweet-length description of your organization?
@POGOBlog is a nonpartisan watchdog that fights to fix the federal government. We investigate corruption, abuse of power and when the government silences whistleblowers. We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.
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.