We are on the precipice of only the third presidential impeachment in United States history. No US president, however, has ever been removed from office. After a marathon fortnight of congressional impeachment hearings, the United States Studies Centre has assembled a compilation of essays by its experts to comment on the discussions occurring behind doors, the arguments that will play out in public, and the precedents being set and broken every day that this process unfolds.

Excerpts from the essays include:

Professor Simon Jackman, CEO United States Studies Centre | The president’s party decides

“The impeachment inquiries underway would have to reveal new facts that damage the president among Republican partisans and Republican members of Congress. A remarkable feature of the Trump presidency is that his standing among Republicans has barely shifted over the course of his presidency, despite the criminal convictions of former aides, the Mueller probe, and an array of allegations of self-dealing.”

Dr Charles Edel, Senior Fellow | A short history of impeachment

“It is precisely because of the contested nature and depth of the alleged harm done that impeachment has always been a ferociously partisan and highly divisive affair. As Alexander Hamilton foresaw more than two centuries ago, impeachment will ‘agitate the passions of the whole community’, connect to ‘pre-existing factions’, and the outcome will be determined less by ‘real demonstrations of innocence or guilt’, and more by the competitive strength of the parties."

Gorana Grgic, Lecturer in US Politics and Foreign Policy | Impeachment and foreign policy

“When the heads of departments and agencies are missing, or are serving only in an acting capacity, it is difficult to coordinate policy implementation and plan strategically. It also opens up the space for informal channels of policymaking to arise. This is precisely how the likes of Rudy Giuliani and his associates have been able to insert themselves into the policymaking process. The high turnover within the key coordinating bodies such as the National Security Council and in managerial roles such as the White House chief of staff has enabled the rise of a parallel foreign policy.”

Mia Love, Non-Resident Senior Fellow & Fmr Congressional Republican |Impeachment and partisanship

“If those in the political centre are able to disassociate their dislike of President Donald Trump’s tweets or truculent personality traits from the current direction of impeachment proceedings, it becomes apparent that the complete lack of bipartisan support, transparency, selective release of information and absence of an actual crime point to a process that has been weaponised for political gain.”

Bruce Wolpe, Non-Resident Senior Fellow & Fmr Democratic staffer | The politics of impeachment

“No president has been under impeachment while running for re-election, much less facing a Senate trial 10 months before an election. In raw political terms, impeachment involves weakness and ridicule, and is an exercise in humiliation by virtue of the high degree of exposure of official actions to public scrutiny.”

Experts are available for comment. 

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Elliott Brennan
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elliott.brennan@sydney.edu.au