Trump's been impeached — here's what Harvard scholars believe will happen next
For the third time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives voted to impeach a sitting U.S. president.
- The House vote means the Senate will hold a trial to determine whether President Donald Trump is guilty of either or both of the two articles of impeachment.
- One article of impeachment alleges the president abused his power for personal political gain, the other alleges he obstructed Congress.
- The Senate is widely expected to acquit the president.
After being accused of abusing his power and obstructing Congress, President Donald Trump was impeached on Wednesday by the House of Representatives. The Senate is set to hold a trial early next year to determine whether the president should be removed from office. Trump is the third U.S. president to be impeached.
"We gather today under the dome of this temple of democracy to exercise one of the most solemn powers that this body can take: The impeachment of the President of the United States," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday. "If we do not act now we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the President's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice."
Despite the House vote, Trump is still president, and it's unlikely that two-thirds of the Republican-controlled Senate will vote to convict and remove him from office. For that to happen, 20 Republican senators would need to defy party and vote against Trump.
The Washington Post
The road to impeachment has been controversial and polarized, to put it mildly. Democrats have generally framed the months-long impeachment inquiry as a necessary check on a clear abuse of presidential power and, subsequently, an obstruction of Congress.
Meanwhile, Trump has spearheaded the GOP's strategy, which has been to flatly deny the claim that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in exchange for personal political favors, and to paint the inquiry as the latest in a series of bad-faith attempts (or, in Trumpian terms: "witch hunt," "scam," "hoax") by Democrats to bring down the president by any means necessary.
In short, it's a mess — a sad mess. Both sides explicitly agreed on that much this week, though for different reasons, of course. To help make sense of it all, the Harvard Gazette asked some of the university's expert alumni about what impeachment means for Trump and the state of our politics and media. Here's what a few of them had to say.
Trump could become "more destructive" to democratic norms
David Gergen, J.D. Former White House adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Public Service Professor of Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School."Based on the scorching letter that Trump just sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it is clear that Trump is emerging from his impeachment more embittered than ever. Similarly, the way that he and aide Rudy Giuliani are thumbing their noses at the establishment, searching again in Ukraine for dirt against the Bidens, strongly suggests he will also emerge from this process feeling fully vindicated. An embittered, emboldened Trump will not only be a continuing threat to checks and balances as well as congressional oversight — he could become even more erratic and more destructive of our democratic norms."
Who benefits most from impeachment?
Alice Stewart. CNN political analyst, former communications director for presidential campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Mike Huckabee.
"There are no winners or losers in impeachments, there are simply political consequences and collateral damage. The saga of the Democrat impeachment of President Donald Trump has been three years in the making: starting on election night in 2016, with the final chapter being written on Election Day of 2020.
The impeachment in the Democrat-led House of Representatives was predicted, an acquittal in the Republican-led Senate is expected, and the consequences for the 2020 election remain to be seen. If history is any guide, I expect the impeachment quest to ultimately be beneficial to President Trump and conservatives, and damaging to Democrats who sought to subvert the outcome of the 2016 election. The real damage will be in swing districts, congressional districts won by President Trump in 2016 that are currently held by Democrats. Their vote for impeachment is almost a certain first step to being voted out of office."
Why we should differentiate between media and press
Nancy R. Gibbs. Former editor in chief, Time magazine. Lombard Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.
"The dramatic democratization of media since then has brought all kinds of benefits, but at a moment like this we are also weighing the costs. We are watching lawmakers talk past one another to distinct audiences who can't hear each other; we've seen partisan identity, fueled by partisan media, become the defining division of our time, quite apart from differences over issues or ideology.
For more and more people, team red and team blue have become their church; the mainstream media is no longer gospel. So we should differentiate between media, which is arguably more powerful than ever, and the press, which still has a crucial civic obligation to fulfill and yet faces economic, political, and cultural challenges unlike any we've ever seen before."
The scope of a president's power to set foreign affairs
Joseph S. Nye Jr., Ph.D. '64. Author of "Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump" (2020). Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus, Harvard Kennedy School.
"In the role of commander in chief, presidents have a lot of leeway in foreign policy, but it is not unlimited. As Edward Corwin once wrote, the Constitution creates "an invitation to struggle" for control of foreign policy. President Trump had the right to define the American national interest in Ukraine as corruption rather than defense against Russia, but when he withheld, without explanation, funds that Congress had appropriated for the latter cause, Congress had the right to investigate, and Trump did not have the right to obstruct Congress.
President Trump also had the right to ask President [Volodymyr] Zelensky for a favor, but not one for personal gain that involved foreign involvement in our elections (which the Founders warned against). Corruption is the abuse of public power for personal gain, and that high immorality was at issue when Trump invited Zelensky to announce an investigation of a principal likely opponent in the 2020 election."
How will impeachment affect Trump psychologically?
Leonard L. Glass. Contributing author, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" (2017). Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.
"Mr. Trump, caught in the humiliating spotlight of impeachment, will react as he always does: Deny any responsibility for his predicament and seek to degrade and vilify his accusers.
His disparagement of the truth-tellers who testified before Congress reliably predicts his response to impeachment: claims of victimization and a thirst for revenge.
From a psychological perspective, Trump's impeachment has played out with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. Arising from character flaws that were clearly evident at his inauguration, his impeachment inexorably has traced that classic arc. He remains blind to his offenses, insisting he wrote a "perfect" letter and has been subjected to a witch hunt. That is Mr. Trump's hallmark: externalizing all blame as though his inflated self-image would be irreparably punctured by any acknowledgment of his own imperfection."
To read the full questions and answers, head over to the Harvard Gazette.
Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling has an important favor to ask of the American people.
- Michael Dowling is president and CEO of Northwell Health, the largest health care system in New York state. In this PSA, speaking as someone whose company has seen more COVID-19 patients than any other in the country, Dowling implores Americans to wear masks—not only for their own health, but for the health of those around them.
- The CDC reports that there have been close to 7.9 million cases of coronavirus reported in the United States since January. Around 216,000 people have died from the virus so far with hundreds more added to the tally every day. Several labs around the world are working on solutions, but there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
- The most basic thing that everyone can do to help slow the spread is to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and to wear a mask. The CDC recommends that everyone ages two and up wear a mask that is two or more layers of material and that covers the nose, mouth, and chin. Gaiters and face shields have been shown to be less effective at blocking droplets. Homemade face coverings are acceptable, but wearers should make sure they are constructed out of the proper materials and that they are washed between uses. Wearing a mask is the most important thing you can do to save lives in your community.
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
What are they?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODgyMDA0NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTM1ODc0Mn0.NH33LuauIo__sUBi4tvhwxDcsvhflDFD-Nhx9FjlSNk/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=148%2C0%2C149%2C0&height=700" id="cec96" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="acb78abe2ab46a17e419ad30906751d6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Artist's impression of the Kordylewski cloud in the night sky (with its brightness greatly enhanced) at the time of the observations.
G. Horváth<p>The<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kordylewski_cloud" target="_blank"> Kordylewski clouds</a> are two dust clouds first observed by Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski in 1961. They are situated at two of the <a href="https://www.space.com/30302-lagrange-points.html" target="_blank">Lagrange points</a> in Earth's orbit. These points are locations where the gravity of two objects, such as the Earth and the Moon or a planet and the Sun, equals the centripetal required to orbit the objects while staying in the same relative position. There are five of these spots between the Earth and Moon. The clouds rest at what are called points four and five, forming a triangle with the clouds and the Earth at the three corners.</p><p>The clouds are enormous, taking up the same space in the night sky as twenty lunar discs; covering an area of 45,000 miles. They are roughly 250,000 miles away, about the same distance from us as the Moon. They are entirely comprised of specks of dust which reflect the light of the sun so faintly most astronomers that looked for them were unable to see them at all. </p><p>The clouds themselves are probably ancient, but the model that the scientists created to learn about them suggests that the individual dust particles that comprise them can be blown away by solar wind and replaced by the dust from other cosmic sources like comet tails. This means that the clouds hardly move but are <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/11/news-earth-moon-dust-clouds-satellites-planets-space/" target="_blank">eternally changing</a>. </p>
How did they discover this?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODgyMDAzNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1Nzc4MjQ4MX0.7uU9OqmQcWw5Ll1UXAav0PCu4nTg-GdJdAWADHanC7c/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C180%2C0%2C181&height=700" id="952fb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a778280a20f1c54cd2c14c8313224be2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
"In this picture the central region of the Kordylewski dust cloud is visible (bright red pixels). The straight tilted lines are traces of satellites."
J. Slíz-Balogh<p>In their study published in the <a href="https://academic.oup.com/mnras" target="_blank">Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society</a>, Hungarian astronomers Judit Slíz-Balogh, András Barta, and Gábor Horváth described how they were able to find the dust clouds using polarized lenses.</p><p>Since the clouds were expected to polarize the light that bounces off of them, by configuring the telescopes to look for this kind of light the clouds were much easier to spot. What the scientists observed, polarized light in patterns that extended outside the view of the telescope lens, was in line with the predictions of their mathematical model and ruled out other possible sources. </p>
Why are we just learning this now?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODgyMDAzOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MjUyNDMyMH0.Zl8GmQ_rJHiL4b7hN0r_YBmgb6_ZqIRvqOVuko2ubpw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C141%2C0%2C185&height=700" id="87afe" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dd4c0b5088e601d7279cc5eb226f8b7b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
"Mosaic pattern of the angle of polarization around the L5 point (white dot) of the Earth-Moon system. The five rectangular windows correspond to the imaging telescope with which the patterns of the Kordylewski cloud were measured."
J. Slíz-Balogh<p>The objects, being dust clouds, are very faint and hard to see. While Kordylewski observed them in 1961, other astronomers have looked there and given mixed reports over the following decades. This discouraged many astronomers from joining the search, as study co-author Judit Slíz-Balogh <a href="https://ras.ac.uk/news-and-press/research-highlights/earths-dust-cloud-satellites-confirmed" target="_blank">explained</a>, <em>"The Kordylewski clouds are two of the toughest objects to find, and though they are as close to Earth as the Moon are largely overlooked by researchers in astronomy. It is intriguing to confirm that our planet has dusty pseudo-satellites in orbit alongside our lunar neighbor."</em></p>
Will this have any impact on space travel?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c3d797fff5430c64afcb5a49bddc3616"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ou8N3v9SFPE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Lagrange points have been put forward as excellent locations for a space station or satellites like the <a href="https://jwst.nasa.gov/about.html" target="_blank">James Webb Telescope</a> to be put into orbit, as they would require little fuel to stay in place. Knowing about a massive dust cloud that could damage sensitive equipment already being there could save money and lives in the future. While we only know about the clouds at Lagrange points four and five right now, the study's authors suggest there could be more at the other points.</p><p>While the discovery of a couple of dust clouds might not seem all that impressive, it is the result of a half-century of astronomical and mathematical work and reminds us that wonders are still hidden in our cosmic backyard. While you might never need to worry about these clouds again, there is nothing wrong with looking at the sky with wonder at the strange and fantastic things we can discover. </p>
Instead of looking forward, we should be consulting the past.
When will the pandemic end? All these months in, with over 37 million COVID-19 cases and more than 1 million deaths globally, you may be wondering, with increasing exasperation, how long this will continue.
New cancer-scanning technology reveals a previously unknown detail of human anatomy.
- Scientists using new scanning technology and hunting for prostate tumors get a surprise.
- Behind the nasopharynx is a set of salivary glands that no one knew about.
- Finding the glands may allow for more complication-free radiation therapies.
PSMA PET/CT technology<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="676e611b970c9b516cace0870447b325"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RHAyoQF09X4?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>PSMA PET/CT is a new combination of <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pet-scan/about/pac-20385078" target="_blank">PET scans</a> and <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ct-scan/about/pac-20393675" target="_blank">CT scans</a> that is believed to offer a more reliable means of locating prostate cancer metastasis. A <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2020/prostate-cancer-psma-pet-ct-metastasis" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">study</a> published last spring suggests it may be the most accurate way to diagnose prostate cancer metastasis than any method previously available.</p><p>Prior to PSMA PET/CT, the primary way to look for metastatic prostate cancer was to image the body using x-ray-based CT scans and to perform bone scans, since bone is where prostate cancer often spreads. CT scans, however, often miss small tumors, and bone scans can generate false positives as a result of other damage or abnormalities that have nothing to do with prostate cancer.</p><p>PSMA PET/CT scans track the travels of an intravenously administered radioactive glucose tracer throughout the body. For hunting down prostate cancer, this tracer contains a molecule that binds to the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1472940/" target="_blank">PSMA</a> protein that's present in large amounts in prostate tumors. The molecule is linked to a radioisotope, <a href="https://netrf.org/2018/11/13/gallium-68-scan-for-neuroendocrine-tumors/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">gallium-68</a> (Ga-68).</p><p>In last spring's research, PSAM PET/CT was shown to be 27 percent more accurate than previous methods at finding metastases (92 percent accuracy as opposed to 65 percent). In addition, it was found to be much less likely to produce false positives, and it was particularly good at detecting tumors far removed from the prostate.</p>
A good kind of avoidance behavior<p>"Radiation therapy can damage the salivary glands," says Vogel, "which may lead to complications. Patients may have trouble eating, swallowing, or speaking, which can be a real burden."</p><p>The researchers looked back through the cases of 723 patients who had undergone radiation treatment, interested in seeing if inadvertent radiation of the tubarial glands was associated with the complications experienced by the patients. It turned out that this <em>was</em> the case: In cases where more radiation had been delivered to this area, patients did indeed report more in the way of complications of the type one would expect when salivary glands are radiated.</p><p>Now that we know the tubarial salivary glands exist, therapists can stay out of their way. Vogel says, "For most patients, it should technically be possible to avoid delivering radiation to this newly discovered location of the salivary gland system in the same way we try to spare known glands."</p><p>He's hopeful that that things may be about to get at least a bit better for cancer patients: "Our next step is to find out how we can best spare these new glands and in which patients. If we can do this, patients may experience less side effects which will benefit their overall quality of life after treatment."</p>
A new survey found that 27 percent of millennials are saving more money due to the pandemic, but most can't stay within their budgets.