Episode 21: President Trump Impeachment vs. Second Term?

May 22nd 2017

Given the steady trickle of news regarding the investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign, the word "impeachment" has been kicked around quite a bit recently. (Just last week CNN reported that sources claimed White House lawyers were researching impeachment.) On this week's "Got Your Attention," the group weighs in on the topic.

tan-trumpAP Photo/Evan Vucci - apimages.com

ATTN:'s Mike Rothschild previously explained what it takes to impeach a president, and beyond that what it would take to remove one from office. (Spoiler: It's a long process.) FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver shared five factors that would play into the process of impeachment in a very thorough piece on the subject. Here are some helpful definitions from Silver:

  • "Impeachment is the sole authority of the House of Representatives and requires a simple majority vote. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the House.

  • "The Senate then holds an impeachment trial and essentially acts as the jury, voting on whether or not to convict the president and remove him from office; it takes a two-thirds majority (67 of 100 votes) to do so. Neither Johnson nor Clinton was convicted by the Senate, although it came down to one vote in Johnson’s case. The Senate can also vote to bar an impeached president from holding office again."

Two presidents have been impeached, none have been removed from office, and President Richard Nixon resigned during the impeachment process. And while 19 officials (total, including presidents) have been impeached, only eight officials have been removed from office.

But what about the appointment of a special counsel? Where does this fit? Again FiveThirtyEight offers some insight: Clare Malone interviewed an expert on political scandals, who believes the investigation into potential Trump-Russia ties could take years.

And then there are those who posit that Trump won't be impeached at all, instead he'll win a second term. Musa al-Gharbi, a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University, explains in a piece for Quartz:

"Even when people are unhappy with a state of affairs, they are usually disinclined to change it. In my area of research, the cognitive and behavioral sciences, this is known as the 'default effect.'"

The piece concludes with advice for the Democrats:

"For Trump to be the next Jimmy Carter, it won’t be enough to count on his administration to fail. Democrats will also have to produce their own Ronald Reagan to depose him. So far, the prospects don’t look great."

The "Got Your Attention" panel also discusses "Master of None," a controversy around "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and the Edward Albee estate, along with Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia.

Podcast notes:

Read more about the stories we did (and didn't) talk about this week on "Got Your Attention."

  • Though Americans aren’t pleased with President Donald Trump (he has low approval ratings), some predict he will get a second term based on previous patterns, new research, the absence of a strong Democratic contender, and human behavior.
  • And here's an interesting interview from FiveThirtyEight about how the special counsel's probe could take years. (And here's Nate Silver's take.)
  • Last week the FCC began the process of rolling back Obama-era rules about net neutrality.
  • Trump's reported pick for a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security is pissing a lot of people off.
  • The male romper quickly became the most controversial item of 2017.
  • Walt Disney World has an attraction called The Hall of Presidents that features animatronics of every president in U.S. history. Of all these robots, the ones who get to speak are George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and traditionally, the current president. However, people want Disney World to keep robot Trump's mouth shut.
  • Read ATTN:'s Shonitria Anthony on "Master of None's" episode "Thanksgiving" and representations of coming out.
  • Read the Atlantic piece about Lola who was a slave for the the late writer Alex Tizon's family. Then read the Science of Us response about the importance of humanizing evil.
  • There’s a birth trend new parents are trying called lotus birth that has people up in arms about whether or not it’s safe.
  • An attempted production of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" was called out by the Albee estate for casting a black actor in the play. They demanded they change casting. The casting director/producer chose instead to cancel the production. Albee was against casting anyone but a white man in the lead role. (We call BS.)
  • President Donald Trump is on his first trip abroad: How is it going so far? The New York Times has updates.
  • While on that trip abroad, Trump was photographed in Saudi Arabia gripping a giant orb. The internet went wild.
  • A large group of students at Notre Dame walked out at their own graduation because Vice President Mike Pence was their speaker.

What is the "Got Your Attention" podcast?

If you've ever wondered how the staff pitch and select the stories that you read or watch on ATTN:, we're giving you an inside listen. ATTN: Media is excited to announce "Got Your Attention," a podcast where ATTN: staffers compete to have their pitches accepted by our host — while also unpacking some of the week's most important headlines.

The game is simple: Three ATTN: staff members—Editor Shonitria Anthony, Senior Editor Sarah Gray, and Staff Writer Almie Rose—pitch their best stories to our host and Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi. If Mike picks their story, they get a point, and the four discuss the story.

Share your opinion

Do you think Donald Trump will be impeached?

No 17%Yes 83%