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Listen: On the Origins of the Impeachment Process

WNYC Studio

Originally Posted: April 29, 2019

We’ve had only two presidential impeachment trials in the Senate — for Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — and both ended in acquittals. While we have little experience with this presidential removal apparatus, there’s much to learn from the history of impeachment, going back to the framers who wrote the measure into our constitution. Jeffrey Engel is founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, and coauthor of Impeachment: An American History. He explains to Bob that the authors of the constitution, having just freed themselves from a tyrant, wanted to make sure that there would be a way to counter what seemed to be an inevitable impulse toward tyranny in their new United States. LISTEN