A president acquitted. The balance of power tested.

A president acquitted. The balance of power tested. Cover Image
The Senate has now said yes, the president can do that, regarding his conduct in Ukraine. So what does Trump’s acquittal mean for the powers of the presidency? Post senior editor Marc Fisher talks about the future of our country’s balance of power.

About Can He Do That?

“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring this extraordinary moment in American history with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and what happens when branches of government collide.

In this episode

The United States Senate acquitted President Trump on charges — brought by the House of Representatives — of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The vote fell largely along party lines, with one exceptions. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah historically voted with the Democrats to convict the president on the first article: abuse of power. That marked the first time in American history that a member of the president’s own party has voted to remove him. Romney voted with Republicans to acquit Trump on the second article: obstruction of congress.

This moment is only the third time in U.S. history that the Senate has held an impeachment trial. The Senate has never voted to convict and remove a president.

An impeachment trial in the Senate means Congress is deciding where to draw lines around presidential conduct: What’s acceptable, what’s inappropriate and what rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors?”

Over the course of the Senate trial, House managers and Trump’s lawyers engaged in arguments for their respective positions. Trump’s acquittal can be interpreted as a reflection of the Senate agreeing with those arguments.
And if that’s case, which of the Trump team’s arguments have established new precedent? How might this acquittal embolden not only this president, but future presidents? At the end of this partisan impeachment process, has the balance of power shifted in this country and can the pendulum ever swing back toward equilibrium?

About Can He Do That?

“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring this extraordinary moment in American history with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and what happens when branches of government collide.