Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry of President Trump

September 24, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today that the U.S. House of Representatives will begin a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. The announcement is in response to allegations that President Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son. USC experts can speak to the events that have prompted the inquiry and the possible impact on an increasingly polarized electorate.

Contact: Jenesse Miller (213) 810-8554 or jenessem@usc.edu

Robert ShrumHas Trump “crossed the final frontier” to impeachment?

“Trump has brazenly acted as if there nothing he could be held accountable for. Then he crossed the final frontier to impeachment with Ukraine. Democrats have decided that now they have to act; that the Constitution is more important than political calculation or caution.

“I also think you can make the case that Speaker Pelosi handled the  demands for impeachment with  an extraordinarily well tuned strategic sense. Timing is everything in a situation like this.”

Robert Shrum is director of the Center for the Political Future at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He’s an expert in presidential elections, political advertising and policy and a longtime Democratic political strategist.

Contact: shrum@usc.edu or (202) 338-1812

The Center for the Political Future will host “The Dis-United States: Tribalism in American Politics” this Friday, September 27. Visit bit.ly/TribalismConference for more information.

Are Democrats underestimating Republicans?

“Voters deserve stark clarity in the wake of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, and there is one certain way to get it. The Democratic House must impeach the president and force the question on the Senate: yea or nay on Donald Trump?”

“My Democratic friends assume the worst, seeing most elected Republicans as little more than a corrupt cartel of Trump bitter-enders. I think they underestimate the character of many of the men and women I know well who serve the Republican Party. But now is the time the country must find out. Force the question with impeachment.”

Mike Murphy is the co-director of the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future and one of the Republican Party’s most successful political consultants. He’s worked on six Republican presidential campaigns and is widely known for his work in the 2000 GOP primaries as a senior strategist for Senator John McCain. His comments are excerpted from his opinion piece published by the Washington Post today.

Contact: hburke@usc.edu

If allegations are true, is impeachment inevitable?

“If the latest allegations of President Trump pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden are true, coupled with the White House’s refusal to let lawmakers see the whistleblower complaint, it’s difficult to see how Speaker Pelosi cannot now back impeachment.”

Jeffrey Fields is an associate professor of the Practice of International Relations and director of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences‘ Washington D.C. program. His research and teaching focus on U.S. foreign policy, terrorism, counterterrorism and international security.

Contact: jeffrey.fields@usc.edu or (831) 915-2064


What motivates the whistleblower?

“Whistleblowing is an inherently political act. The disclosing of wrongdoing perpetuated against or by government agents is seen as an ethical obligation of public servants. Indeed, research evidences that whistleblowers are generally motivated by duty and commitment to public service even more than typical government employees. Whistleblowers are crucial, therefore, for revealing hidden wrongdoing to both the executive and Congress.

“Members of the Republican party have already started calling the whistleblower from the intelligence community a ‘leaker’ despite the fact that this person followed legal protocol in their disclosure. The basis of the claim and the evidence mounting against the president are serious, and I suspect that this will be the tipping point in the Democratic majority.”

William Resh is a professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and an expert in the U.S. presidency and executive branch politics and management. He focuses on how administrative structure and political environments affect the behaviors, perceptions and working relationships of civil servants and how political control affects agency performance and policy prerogatives.

Contact: wresh@usc.edu or (213) 821-7844

Speaker Pelosi has been “wary of impeachment”

“We know that Speaker Pelosi has been wary of impeachment lest the almost sure impossibility of convicting in the Senate backfire.  But from we now know, using U.S. aid as a lever to further narrow objectives in domestic politics, goes way over the line, even if the quid pro quo was not explicit in the President’s call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky.  On top of everything else, opening an impeachment investigation has become imperative.”

Gregory Treverton is a professor of the practice of international relations and spatial sciences at the Spatial Sciences Institute at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Contact: (310) 393-0411 or 


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