Nov 11, 2019

Impeachment heads to live TV

Senate Watergate hearing room in 1973 (left). House Ways and Means Committee hearing room (right). Photos: AP (left), Reuters.

The public phase of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump begins Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The big picture: The public phase is arguably the most important part of Democrats' efforts so far, as how the public experiences the hearings will determine how impeachment plays out.

Then: Back in 1973, tens of millions of Americans tuned in to what Variety called "the hottest daytime soap opera" — the Senate Watergate hearings that eventually led to President Nixon's resignation, AP's David Crary writes.

  • It was a communal experience, and by some estimates, more than 80% of Americans watched at least part of the telecasts.
  • Why it matters: Seeing the witnesses lay out the case against the president moved public opinion decidedly in favor of impeachment.

Now ... But this time may be different:

  • Many will watch on more than one screen, with real-time reinforcement of their preexisting views — on platforms that didn't exist during Watergate.

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Impeachment during a not normal presidency

Pics from the Clinton (upper left) and Nixon impeachments

This is a not normal presidency, so expect a not normal impeachment process when the House impeachment public hearings kick off tomorrow.

The big picture: "There are consistencies in the process — televised hearings, partisan rancor and memorable speeches — but each impeachment process also stands alone," the AP reports in a useful "then and now" preview.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019

Giuliani pens defiant WSJ op-ed ahead of impeachment hearings

President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to the Organization of Iranian American Communities in New York City on Sept. 24. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday attacking Democrats and defending the Ukraine call ahead of the start of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry — which he labeled "unprecedented, constitutionally questionable."

What he's saying: In the op-ed, Giuliani outlined why he believes Trump's July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which triggered a whistleblower's complaint and Democrats' subsequent inquiry, was "innocent."

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019

The state of play on impeachment for Thanksgiving week

Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The shortened Thanksgiving week promises far less public spectacle for the House impeachment inquiry, but it still could see several significant events.

Driving the news: A ruling is expected Monday on whether or not former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify under subpoena in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019