Impeachment, Explained

Impeachment, Explained

We are living through history, but keeping up with the unending stream of revelations, statements, tweets, and disputes is already difficult enough. If we’re going to understand this inquiry–and this presidency–we need to slow down the news cycle long enough to separate the signal from the noise. Every Saturday, Ezra Klein will do just that – through deep conversations with Vox reporters and leading policy voices about what’s going on, why it matters, and where it leaves us now.


February 17, 2021 24 mins

Democrats made a strong case against Donald Trump. Republicans are being punished for supporting it. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp explains.

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Vox’s Andrew Prokop previews the historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Law professor Alan Rozenshtein explains what the Justice Department can and cannot do to prosecute insurrectionists.

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January 12, 2021 22 mins

Impeachment won’t stop the United States’ slide towards authoritarianism. Voter reform might.

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February 29, 2020 55 mins

Welcome to Weeds 2020! Every other Saturday Ezra and Matt will be exploring a wide range of topics related to the 2020 race. 

Since the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders has become the clear frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic primary, spurring lots of debate over whether he could win in the general election. We discuss where the electability conversation often goes off-the-rails, why discussing electability in 2020 is so different tha...

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February 20, 2020 82 mins

Jill Lepore is a Harvard historian, a New Yorker contributor, the author of These Truths, and one of my favorite past guests on this show. But in this episode, the tables are turned: I’m in the hot seat, and Lepore has some questions. Hard ones.

This is, easily, the toughest interview on my book so far. Lepore isn’t quibbling over my solutions or pointing out a contrary study — what she challenges are the premises, epistemology, and...

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This episode, likely the final episode of this podcast, is a bit different: It’s a look not just at what happened this week, but at the deep lessons of impeachment, and the unresolved conflicts and contradictions we’re left with.

Put simply, the Senate will acquit Donald Trump. But in refusing to even hear witnesses, they have convicted American politics.

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January 25, 2020 42 mins

The Senate trial is officially underway. What’s happened so far? How will the trial proceed from here on out? And will any Republicans defect? Vox’s Li Zhou has the answers.

Then Andrew Prokop and I talk Mitch McConnell: who he is, what motivates him, how he amassed so much power, and what his actions reveal about the underlying forces driving American politics. Contrary to much of the rhetoric on the left, McConnell is not the sour...

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January 18, 2020 50 mins

This week, Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in to preside over the third presidential impeachment trial in US history. What happens next? What’s Mitch McConnell’s game plan? And who the hell is Lev Parnas? Andrew Prokop breaks it all down. 

Then, a Senate impeachment trial is one of the rarest and least understood events in American politics. Constitutional expert Jeffrey Tulis explains how the trial works, what the founders env...

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January 11, 2020 42 mins

This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would finally send impeachment articles to the Senate. Why now? What is the Senate trial shaping up to look like? And how will things change if former National Security Advisor John Bolton testifies before the Senate? Andrew Prokop has the answers. 

Then, the most popular question I’ve gotten over the past week is: Did Trump bomb Iran to distract from impeachment? This reflects a b...

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December 21, 2019 63 mins

This week, Donald Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached. What does that mean? Why is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waiting to send the articles of impeachment to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? And what should we expect from the upcoming Senate trial? Vox’s Matt Yglesias explains it all.  

Then, we have something special this week. Vox teamed up with PerryUndem to conduct a focus group with undecided vo...

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December 14, 2019 49 mins

This week, the House Judiciary Committee announced and approved two articles of impeachment. Why two instead of 10? Why is this process moving so quickly? And why are Democrats prioritizing trade deals the same week as impeachment? Vox’s Jen Kirby answers the key questions.

Noah Feldman is a Harvard Law professor and one of the constitutional scholars who testified at the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing. He joins me to talk abou...

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This week, the fact-finding phase of the Trump impeachment inquiry officially ended. Reports were released, hearings were held, articles of impeachment are being drafted. Andrew Prokop helps us break it all down.

Then, the impeachment analogue that most closely resembles what we are going through today isn’t Clinton or Nixon, it’s Andrew Johnson. Historian Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers, helps us understand the trial tha...

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November 30, 2019 57 mins

Rudy Giuliani will prove to be the crucial character who pushed Donald Trump towards impeachable offenses. But how did Giuliani go from “America’s Mayor” and icon of the moderate Republican establishment to…whatever he is now? There’s an answer, and it’s crucial to both the impeachment story and the broader approach Trump takes to running the White House. Preet Bharara joins me to give it.

In addition, Matt Yglesias and I discuss wh...

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November 23, 2019 73 mins

The core question this impeachment process is raising isn’t “what did Donald Trump do?” The hearings have filled in important details and added confirming witness, but the story is largely the one we’ve known since the White House released the call record.

Instead, the core question the hearings are raising is: “What will Republicans accept and defend?” The answer, at least judging by the arguments of Reps. Devin Nunes and Jim Jorda...

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November 16, 2019 42 mins

This week kicked off the public phase of the impeachment inquiry. On Wednesday, we heard the testimonies of State Department officials Bill Taylor and George Kent and on Friday the testimony of former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Vox’s Andrew Prokop helps us break them down. 

Then, Brianne Gorod, the chief counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center, helps us understand the term “obstruction of justice.” What...

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This is a helluva episode.

First, we’ve been working with Ipsos and PerryUndem on a national survey exploring Americans' beliefs about what is impeachable. The results are back, and they’re both fascinating and chilling.

Then, there was an amazing moment a few weeks back when Geraldo Rivera told Sean Hannity, “You are the difference between Donald J. Trump and Richard Nixon.” He was right. Nicole Hemmer, the brilliant historian o...

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This week, the House passed an impeachment resolution laying out how the process will work from here. There were unusual and important decisions made that will shape what comes next, and Vox’s Andrew Prokop joins me to explain them.

Then, California Rep. Zoe Lofgren is the only member of Congress who was part of the Nixon impeachment, the Clinton impeachment, and is still serving today. Lofgren is also the second-most-senior Democra...

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October 26, 2019 53 mins

We talk about this as a Ukraine story. But it's also a Russia story. The leverage Trump had on Ukraine came from Russia's invasion of Crimea and continuing support for insurgents in Ukraine. The leverage Trump had on his own government came from the strategic threat posed by Russian aggression. And Trump’s willingness to use military aid to Ukraine as political leverage came from his odd lack of concern about Ukraine fallin...

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This was the week of confessions. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted to a Trump administration quid quo pro with Ukraine, with cameras rolling. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed that President Trump made Rudy Giuliani the hinge of America’s Ukraine policy. And then the administration announced that the location for the upcoming G7 summit: Trump’s own resort in Doral, Florida. We break down the three stor...

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October 12, 2019 1 min

This will, in all likelihood, be the fourth time a US president is impeached. But it’ll be a devilish story to follow. Already, there are more threads, places, names, and events than even full-time reporters can remember. What’s the role of the EU ambassador? What was Rudy Giuliani doing for Donald Trump in Ukraine? Why is Australia involved? What’s the secret server where the Trump administration stored damaging call records? Why ...

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