Danny Reinan, Staff Writer
The Lindell Library has encouraged Augsburg students to watch history unfold by setting up a broadcast of the currently ongoing impeachment hearings concerning President Donald Trump.
The events leading to the impeachment hearings began in September of 2019 when a member of the CIA filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that a July 2019 phone call between President Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine would create security risks for the United States. The whistleblower claimed that this phone call revealed that President Trump was trying to coerce President Zelensky into intervening in the 2020 election by investigating several of his political rivals, namely Joe Biden. The whistleblower also claimed that the White House had ordered a “lock down” on this phone call, suggesting a potential cover-up of the sensitive information therein.
The White House made both the whistleblower’s report and the transcript of the call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky public on September 25. On October 31, the House of Representatives voted to begin the process for a series of public hearings which would be focused squarely on the July phone call and its implications. The public hearings began on Nov. 13 and are scheduled to continue through Nov. 21.
The decision to broadcast the hearings on a monitor in the Lindell Library was made by the library’s director, Mary Hollerich. This is the first time that the Lindell Library has broadcasted a current event in this manner.
“First and foremost, it’s American history in the making. People will be studying these hearings for decades to come,” Hollerich said. She believes that it is the Lindell Library’s purpose to educate Augsburg students and that our current moment is a particularly crucial time to be informed. “I’m also old enough to remember the Watergate hearings,” said Hollerich. “I was old enough to recognize its political importance, but not old enough to fully understand what was going on or who the players were. I found it confusing, and I’m sure many of our students will find these hearings confusing. It’s the library’s role to educate them and give them the chance to watch history unfold.”
The monitor displaying the hearings is not the only source of information available to students in the library who want to know more about the current events. The library staff have also laid out an assortment of books near the monitor, such as Impeachment: A Handbook and Impeachment: Trials and Errors, which contain valuable information about the impeachment process.
“We just wanted to pull out some material on general impeachment processes,” said Hollerich. “A lot of people are confused. They equate being impeached with being removed from office.” In reality, impeachment is only one step in the process of removing a president from office. The decision to impeach a president is essentially equivalent to a decision to charge them with a criminal activity – it is only after a president is impeached that a trial is held through the Senate to determine whether that president should be convicted and removed from office. Hollerich hopes that setting up the assortment of books nearby will make it easier for students to read up on the impeachment process and understand what it entails.
Hollerich hopes that broadcasting the impeachment hearings will help students become more engaged in politics.
“I think it’s important for every citizen to be politically educated and involved,” Hollerich said. Recalling her time as an activist in her college years, she said, “I hope that our students will become activists too – and many of them are already!”
Hollerich hopes that students are aware that the library is a resource for all students, whether they need help with research or homework, want to remain current on current historical moments, or just want to learn more about one of their passions.
“I hope all students realize that the library is here to help them learn about any subject they’re interested in,” she said.