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Analyzing U.S. Impeachments Throughout History

AP_740429022.jpg
Associated Press
President Richard M. Nixon is shown pointing to the transcripts of the White House tapes in this April 29, 1974, file photo, after he announced during a nationally-televised speech that he would turn over the transcripts to House impeachment invesigators.

Impeachment processes spanning U.S. history can help add perspective to the current ongoing inquiry against President Donald Trump. 

Two presidential historians join River to River host Ben Kieffer on this episode of the show to talk about details of past impeachments in comparison to today. Tim Walch, the retired director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, and Tim Naftali, former director at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum co-author of "Impeachment: An American History," discuss the impeachment proceedings of former presidents Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Andrew Johnson.  

Naftali talks about how the framers of the constitution outlined  impeachment in the case of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.  He says a high crime is an action that threatens the constitutional system. However the constitution still left many specifics up in the air.

"The constitution is remarkably vague about [impeachment]," Naftali says.

In lieu of details in the constitution, Walch explains how Congress has helped shape impeachment  over the years. 

Guests:

  • Tim Walch, presidential historian and retired director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
  • Tim Naftali, author and former director at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Matthew is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa