Trump Impeachment for DUMMIES

Elisa D.
November 18, 2019

“Why a Trump Impeachment Should Terrify You” and “We Must Impeach Trump” are just some of the headlines plastered on various websites and newspapers surrounding the Trump impeachment. With so many varying news platforms and outlets, it’s hard to plow through falsities and get to the heart of the issue. Spyglass has created a breakdown of the Trump impeachment to simplify and clarify what’s been going on.


Read the timeline below and check out the Spyglass-recommended resources at the bottom.



JULY 25: President Trump speaks with Ukrainian

President Volodymyr Zelensky

Trump presses Zelensky in a phone call to investigate the following:

  1. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter, over Hunter’s former role as a board member of a Ukrainian gas company and the possibility of nepotism. Getting dirt on Biden may potentially benefit Trump’s reelection campaign.

  2. The 2016 election conspiracy theory—that Ukraine worked with the Democratic National Committee to interfere in the 2016 election with an anti-Trump agenda.


AUG. 12: Whistleblower complaint

A U.S. intelligence officer delivers a whistleblower complaint to Inspector General Michael Atkinson about the July 25 phone call.


AUG. 28: Reports show Trump withheld aid to Ukraine

The military aid/assistance to Ukraine is essential to Ukraine’s ability to combat Russian military intervention. There are concerns that the withholding of aid acted as a way to pressure Ukraine into cooperating on the Biden investigation. Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the E.U. and involved in the Ukraine dealings, denies any “quid pro quo” (a Latin term meaning a service in return for something).


SEPT. 24: Impeachment inquiry is announced

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces a formal impeachment investigation into Trump, stating that his dealings with Ukraine presented a “breach of his Constitutional responsibilities.”


SEPT. 26: Unclassified version of whistleblower complaint is released

The House Intelligence Committee releases an unclassified version of the whistleblower complaint. The complaint reported an "urgent concern" about Trump's request to investigate Biden as well as how records of the call were handled.


OCT. 4: White House defies the subpoena

The White House is subpoenaed for Ukraine documents. They refuse to comply with the impeachment inquiry on 10/8.


OCT. 25: Federal judge rules that the impeachment inquiry

is legal and legitimate

The judge also orders the Department of Justice to hand over evidence from the Mueller report.


OCT. 11-onward: (TESTIFYING *note: these are not all of the people who testified) the following people testify before the House:

10/11 - Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies that Trump pressured the State Department to remove her from office.

10/14 - Trump’s top former aide to Russia Fiona Hill testifies under subpoena behind closed doors.

10/17 - U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland testifies that Trump ordered Rudy Giuliani to pressure Ukraine’s investigations. See Sondland’s opening statement here.

10/22 - Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor testifies in a closed hearing. See his written testimony here.

10/29 - National Security Council expert on Ukraine Alexander Vindman testifies that he was "concerned" by Trump's pressuring of Ukraine to open an investigation.

10/30 - Foreign service officer and Ukraine expert Catherine Croft says she heard an official at an Office of Management and Budget meeting say that the hold on military aid came “at the direction of the president.”

11/4 - Gordon Sondland revises his testimony and admits to quid pro quo.

Public Testifying Begins…

11/13 - Bill Taylor testifies again, publicly, and says he was told that Trump cared more about the Biden investigation than Ukraine.

11/13 - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Eastern Europe, George Kent, testifies that political motivations are “infecting” U.S. policy for Ukraine. See his opening statement here.

11/13 - Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff, summarizes the key facts of Trump’s actions with Ukraine and asks, “If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”

11/15 - Marie Yovanovitch testifies again. She says she felt “Shocked. Appalled. Devastated.” and threatened by Trump.




Confused about what impeachment is and how it works? 

Try this The New York Times article: How the Impeachment Process Works or this Associated Press video: The Impeachment Process

Want another simple guide to the impeachment inquiry?

Check out this NPR article: Trump Impeachment Inquiry: A Guide To Key People, Facts And Documents

Want a more detailed timeline of the beginning of the Trump impeachment inquiry? 

Read this NBC News article: Timeline: Trump impeachment inquiry



The Missing Link: Getting Dirt on Biden Was Key Part of “Investigation into 2016 Election” Too

Timeline: Key dates in the U.S. House's impeachment inquiry into Trump


Did Ukraine try to interfere in the 2016 election on Clinton's behalf?

Impeachment Briefing: What Happened Today

Trump impeachment inquiry: A visual timeline