Can Congress Hold Trump Accountable? America Has a History of Power Struggles.

Naomi Schalit

The vote to impeach President Donald Trump will be held soon in the House of Representatives. It brings to a head the battle that has raged for months between the president and Democratic members of the House.

Democrats and Trump have fought over everything from the meaning of the words in his July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Zelinsky to the president’s refusal to allow administration officials to testify. Trump has also refused to comply with Democrats’ requests for documents essential to their investigation.

The conflict is about more than the tug-of-war between Trump and the Democrats in the House. It is the latest, and most extreme, example of a power struggle between the executive branch and Congress that has existed since George Washington was president.

That struggle comes down to one question: Can Congress effectively hold the president accountable?

Here are four stories that The Conversation published this year that attempt to answer that question.

1. Nixon tested the limits – and lost

Way back in May – when many Americans didn’t know where Ukraine was, let alone the name of its president – presidential scholar Ken Hughes at the University of Virginia wrote about a congressional committee that had voted to impeach the president for defying congressional subpoenas.

Hughes’ subject was Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal that ultimately forced him from office. But while those events were almost 40 years ago, Hughes wrote of the parallels between Nixon and the current U.S. president, Donald J. Trump.

“Like Donald Trump, Richard Nixon tried to stonewall congressional investigations into crimes allegedly committed in the White House,” wrote Hughes.

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