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Impeachment, Explained

Author: Vox

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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.

16 Episodes
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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 meta-structure that form the foundation of my book, and much of my work. Her question, in short, is: What if social science itself is too crude to be a useful way of understanding the political world? But that’s what makes this conversation great. We discuss whether all political science research on polarization might be completely wrong, why (and whether) my book is devoid of individual or institutional “villains,” and whether I am morally obliged to delete my Twitter account, in addition to the missing party in American politics, why I mistrust historical narratives, media polarization, and much more. This is, on one level, a conversation about Why We’re Polarized. But on a deeper level, it’s about different modes of knowledge and whether we can trust them. New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. My book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Portland, Seattle, Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Ezra's book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com You can subscribe to Ezra's other podcast The Ezra Klein Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts Credits: Host - Ezra Klein Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Theme Music - Jon Natchez EP - Liz Nelson Special thanks to Andrew Prokop and Matt Yglesias Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The McConnell effect

The McConnell effect

2020-01-2500:40:23

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 source of our political dysfunction; he is merely a manifestation of the dysfunction that already exists.  References: Andrew Prokop's profile of Mitch McConnell Host(s): Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior politics correspondent, Vox Guests:  Li Zhou (@lizhou), Politics and policy reporter, Vox Andrew Prokop (@awprokop), Senior politics correspondent, Vox  Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Ezra's book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com You can subscribe to Ezra's other podcast The Ezra Klein Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts Credits: Producer, Engineer, Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma EP - Liz Nelson Theme music composed by Jon Natchez Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 envisioned when they designed it, and why things should look very, very different from the Senate per usual.  And, at the end, the new evidence released by Lev Parnas was damning, but, then again, all of the evidence so far has been incredibly damning. The problem we face in this impeachment trial is not that we lack damning testimony, it’s that we lack Republican senators who are willing to put country over party. Host: Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox Guests:  Andrew Prokop (@awprokop), Senior politics correspondent, Vox  Jeffrey Tulis, Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Ezra's book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. You can subscribe to Ezra's other podcast The Ezra Klein Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts Credits: Producer, Engineer, Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma EP - Liz Nelson Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Impeachment and Iran

Impeachment and Iran

2020-01-1100:40:232

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 broader view that presidents routinely start foreign conflicts to distract from domestic political troubles. Is that true? And if it is true, does it work? MIT political scientist Adam Berinsky, author of In Time of War: Understanding American Public Opinion from World War II to Iraq, joins me with the facts. And, at the end, a few thoughts on what the Senate Republicans’ resistance to hearing from witnesses reveals about the impossible problem this impeachment process has posed. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Ezra's book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. You can subscribe to Ezra's other podcast The Ezra Klein Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts Credits: Producer, Engineer, Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma EP - Liz Nelson Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 voters in Pennsylvania on the impeachment process. This conversation is different than our usual, but it is equally, if not more, crucial to understanding some of the most important forces at play in impeachment — and our politics more broadly.  And, at the end, some reflections on what all of this means for not just American politics, but how, and whether, Americans feel they can participate in our politics. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Ezra's book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. You can subscribe to Ezra's other podcast The Ezra Klein Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts Credits: Producer, Engineer, Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma EP - Liz Nelson Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 about what he saw, what he learned, and the Republican argument that truly scared him. Plus, on page five of the articles of impeachment lurks a clause many will miss, but I think it’s the single most important argument for removing Donald Trump. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Ezra's book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. You can subscribe to Ezra's other podcast The Ezra Klein Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 that shaped our nation’s conception of what impeachment means. Plus, how the GOP has become a definitively anti-Constitutional party. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Ezra's book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. You can subscribe to Ezra's other podcast The Ezra Klein Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 whether Democrats are wrapping their impeachment inquiry too early, and what it means that Lindsey Graham wants to turn the Senate trial into an investigation of Joe Biden. And remember when Donald Trump promised to run the government like a business? I have a few thoughts on how a board of directors might look at this presidency. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 Jordan, is chilling. On this week’s episode, Andrew Prokop joins me to analyze the first, and perhaps only, week of public impeachment inquiry. Then, Thomas Mann, co-author of It’s Even Worse Than It Looks joins me to discuss how the Republican Party became the institution on display in this process. I’ve heard from listeners who enjoy this podcast, but wish it could be more “balanced.” I wish it could be more balanced too. But to pretend that an imbalanced system is balanced is a poisonous form of bias. This episode is about seeing what’s right in front of our eyes, and taking seriously what it means for our future. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 does it mean? When does it apply? And has the president committed it?  Plus: How Republicans are normalizing obstruction of justice in all of its forms -- and the precedent that sets for the future. References: Andrew Prokop's 4 takeaways from the first public impeachment hearing Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Guest host - Sean Illing Producer, engineer, and editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 of conservative media, joins to discuss how Fox News and the larger conservative media-verse protects Trump, but also lures him into disaster. References: Nicole Hemmer's Vox article on Trump's relationship with Fox News Ezra's explainer on the national survey results Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Cynthia Gill and Ernie Erdat Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 Democrat on the crucial Judiciary Committee. She walks us through how a House impeachment process actually works, what she learned participating in the past two, what’s different this time, and the role those of us who don’t serve in Congress need to realize we’re playing. Plus: The implicit theory of presidential accountability offered by House Republicans, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s approach to legislative timing, and a question for all of you. References: Andrew's explainer on the House impeachment vote Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Malachi Broadus & Topher Ruth Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 falling to Russia. In this episode, I talk with Evelyn Farkas, the Pentagon’s former point person on Russia and Ukraine, about the Russia-Ukraine crisis Trump exploited. It’s a conversation that changes how I understood this story. It’ll change how you understand it, too. I also talked with Vox’s Alex Ward about Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor’s testimony, former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker’s argument that “abuse of power is not a crime,” and the GOP’s fury over the House Democrats’ process. And, at the end, a thought on why it’s Mitch McConnell, not Donald Trump, who poses the core threat to our constitutional structure. References: Read Bill Taylor's opening testimony "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," explained Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Malachi Broadus & Chris Shurtleff Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 stories that mattered most in impeachment this week. And then we dig into the four words that will shape the entire impeachment fight: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” What did they mean when they were added to the Constitution? How have they been interpreted through American history? And do Trump’s acts qualify? Welcome to Impeachment, Explained. References: "Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power" by Gene Healy "The case for normalizing impeachment" by Ezra Klein Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Malachi Broadus & Jeremey Dalmas Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 was America involved in firing a Ukrainian prosecutor in the first place? And what does Joe Biden have to do with any of this? Keeping up with the daily revelations, statements, and disputes is difficult enough. But understanding impeachment demands grappling with deeper questions in our political system — questions that don’t get covered in the daily news but will shape the process from here. What did the Founders mean by “high crimes and misdemeanors”? How does an impeachment trial work? Has partisan polarization broken the impeachment process? How do other countries handle impeachment? How does polarized media change the way impeachment will play out? Every Saturday, Vox's founder and editor-at-large 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. Subscribe to Impeachment, Explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get stay updated on this story every week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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