Impeachment Problems: Why Republicans Prefer to Portray Trump as a Victim

Impeachment Problems: Why Republicans Prefer to Portray Trump as a Victim

Kirsten Carlson, Chris Edelson

Politics, Americas

The impeachment clause is one of several powers given to Congress that allow it to oversee the executive and judicial branches.

Editor’s note: Wednesday was the first day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry. Two career diplomats – William B. Taylor Jr., acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs – gave testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. Two scholars listened, and each picked one quote to analyze.

Kirsten Carlson, Wayne State University

“What we will witness today is a televised theatrical performance staged by the Democrats.” – Rep. Devin Nunes, Republican of California

In this highly partisan era, Rep. Nunes’ words come as no surprise. Nunes was attempting to discredit the impeachment inquiry as a partisan attack on President Donald Trump.

But his emphasis on partisanship obscures a vital function of Congress in protecting the public and preserving democratic government: oversight.

Oversight is part of the U.S. Constitution’s carefully orchestrated balance of power among the three branches of government. The Constitution authorizes, if not obligates, Congress to exercise oversight over the executive branch.

The impeachment clause is one of several powers given to Congress that allow it to oversee the executive and judicial branches. Other congressional oversight powers include the power of the purse, the power to organize the executive branch, the power to make laws, the power to confirm officials and the power of investigation.

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