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Political Scandals: 2013-2020


Trump's Impeachment - 2019 to 2020

What Happened?

What happened: "the House of Representatives voted to impeach the 45th President, Donald Trump, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on December 18, 2019… Trump became only the third president ever to be impeached…after concerns about his alleged attempts to seek foreign interference in the 2020 election... In September 2019, the public learned of a whistleblower complaint…that Trump had threatened to withhold U.S. foreign aid money until [president] Zelensky promised to investigate Hunter Biden…for suspicious dealings in Ukraine."

Why it was so scandalous: "it was clear that the Democrats felt confident enough in their case for wrongdoing and obstruction of Congress that they would go through with impeachment… in a vote that again fell largely along party lines, the Senate voted to acquit President Trump on both charges… On January 13, 2021, President Trump was impeached again following the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, becoming the only U.S. president to be impeached twice." 

Diagram of Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine's inquiry of Biden

Flow chart of the possible avenues of the Trump impeachment process

Clinton's Emails - 2015 to 2016

What Happened?

What Happened: “The announcement…three days before the Iowa caucuses, that 22 of the messages from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server contained Top Secret information” was a major controversy... investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department of the potential mishandling of classified information…of 909… e-mails. the process…dragged out as State and the six largest intelligence agencies… reviewing the e-mails have found more than 1,500 that contain material originally declared classified by the State department…The department said that none of the emails, including those originally created by the spy agencies, had been marked classified at the time they were sent.”

Why it was so scandalous: "the slow, deliberate, and largely invisible investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department…means…political costs for Clinton… The Clinton campaign has focused its criticism on the process of releasing the e-mails…Clinton’s press secretary Brian Fallon told MSNBC that the process had been “hijacked” by the inspectors general at State and the intelligence community. He said that all the e-mails should be released and that Clinton was falling victim to rampant “over-classification.” Previously he accused… one of the inspectors general of colluding with Republicans on Capitol Hill.”

Edward Snowden - 2103 to 2014

What Happened?

What happened:  On June 6, 2013, Americans learned that their government was spying broadly on its own people…The material exposed a government-run surveillance program that monitored the communications records of not just criminals or potential terrorists, but law-abiding citizens as well…Snowden was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence. Facing up to 30 years in prison, Snowden left the country…to avoid being extradited to the U.S.”

Why it was so scandalous: "While the changes resulted in greater transparency, many experts say the regulations improved the surveillance practices only slightly and did not address the question of invasion of privacy…In July 2013, a petition was started to have Snowden pardoned, but the government rejected it in 2015… In 2017, Moscow extended Snowden’s right to asylum until 2020; he was then given Russian citizenship in 2022.”


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