Many big political news events give rise to colorful terms that stick in the public memory. The Teapot Dome. The Saturday night massacre. The stained blue dress. Hanging chads.
And if you found yourself wondering in recent days who the “three Amigos” are, what the “deliverable” was, or what Derek Jeter has to do with impeachment, you were not alone.
We’re here to help. Here is a quick glossary of memorable or confusing terms and phrases that we’ve heard so far during the Senate trial of President Donald Trump.
Impeachment managers: Essentially, the prosecutors. The seven managers are House Democrats chosen by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make the case that Trump abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress. They are led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (The president’s lawyers are simply called the defense team.)
Engrossment: The signing and certification of a bill or resolution passed by the House — in this case, the articles of impeachment. The House speaker and other managers held an “engrossment ceremony” at the start of the proceedings, and then marched to the Senate to deliver the articles.
Quid pro quo: Latin for “something for something.” The question of whether there was a quid pro quo involved in Trump’s demand that Ukraine open investigations that he thought could benefit him politically is at the heart of the trial.
The deliverable: A public announcement by Ukrainian officials that they would investigate Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, which Trump is said to have wanted in exchange for aid. The term was used in text messages between U.S. and Ukrainian officials that were released by the Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry.
Executive privilege: The executive branch’s right to withhold information in the public interest. If current or former White House officials do not want to comply with subpoenas, the privilege can provide them with legal protection.
The well: The area of the Senate chamber that you’re seeing on TV. Senators typically speak from their desks, not the “well,” where the defense and prosecution are situated.
Pettifogging: A term used by Chief Justice John Roberts while admonishing the House managers and Trump’s lawyers to respect the setting. He described an exchange during the 1905 impeachment trial of a federal judge, when a senator objected to the use of the word, which Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines as “a lawyer who handles petty cases, especially one who uses unethical methods in conducting trumped-up cases.”
“I don’t think we need to aspire to that high a standard, but I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are,” Roberts said.
The whistleblower: The anonymous CIA officer who touched off the impeachment inquiry with his explosive complaint about Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. He said he had heard from other officials that Trump, in a July 25 call, urged the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens.
Z.: Generally understood to be President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine. But Politico reported that Schiff may have mischaracterized a text message exchange about Z. when summarizing evidence from Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani. Parnas may have been referring to Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma, not the president.
Burisma: The Ukrainian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden served while his father was vice president.
“Perfect phone call”: How Trump has characterized that July 25 call with Zelenskiy, in which he memorably said, “I would like you to do us a favor.”
High crimes and misdemeanors: A broad phrase for misconduct by a public official. Presidents and other officials who have committed “treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” can be removed from office by a majority vote in Congress, according to the U.S. Constitution.
Three amigos: Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union; Rick Perry, the former energy secretary; and Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine. Sondland once referred to himself, Perry and Volker as the “three amigos” in an interview with Ukrainian television. These three officials influenced the Trump administration’s Ukraine policy, according to David Holmes, an official from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. Schiff used the term as he made his arguments.
Hamilton and “Hamilton”: The founding father Alexander Hamilton and a Broadway musical based on his life have been invoked or alluded to many times in the past week. Along with John Jay and James Madison in 1787 and 1788, Hamilton wrote the Federalist Papers, a series of essays expounding on the Constitution’s provisions and urging its adoption. Since the Constitution does not lay out rules for impeachment in detail, the papers are a vital reference. In Federalist 65, Hamilton described impeachable conduct as:
“… those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL …”
“Schiff quoted Hamilton so many times today he was nominated for five Tony Awards,” Jimmy Kimmel quipped on his television show “Jimmy Kimmel, Live!” In an interview with MSNBC, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, one of the jurors and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, name-dropped a song from the show, “The Room Where It Happens,” in arguing that more witnesses be called. This week the trial was again roiled by revelations in an unpublished memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” by John Bolton, the former national security adviser.
“Drug deal”: How Bolton is said to have referred to the Ukraine imbroglio. Fiona Hill, Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe, testified that Bolton instructed her to tell White House lawyers that he was “not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” according to two people who were present during her deposition. (Mick Mulvaney is now the acting White House chief of staff.)
Milk: Besides water, milk is the only other beverage allowed on the Senate floor. In 1966, Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois asked if it was a violation of Senate rules for a page to bring him a glass of milk. The presiding officer said no, and “Milk While Speaking” was added to the Senate rules. During the trial, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas was spotted drinking two glasses of milk. Thanks to Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, the lawmakers also have a “candy desk” filled with sweets made in Toomey’s home state. (Electronics and talking are also prohibited.)
CrowdStrike: An American cybersecurity company that investigated how Russians hacked Democratic National Committee servers in 2016. CrowdStrike is the subject of a false conspiracy theory, birthed on the dark web and promoted by Trump, that claims Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
Derek Jeter: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries joked about a fellow New Yorker asking him if he had “heard the latest outrage” — someone didn’t vote for Jeter on their Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, preventing the former New York Yankees star from becoming the second unanimously elected player:
“I understand that as House managers, certainly we hope we can subpoena John Bolton, subpoena Mick Mulvaney, but perhaps we can all agree to subpoena the Baseball Hall of Fame to try to figure out who out of 397 individuals, one person, voted against Derek Jeter.”
SCIF: (Pronounced skiff.) Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. The secure basement room in the Capitol where the Democrats conducted interviews and depositions related to the impeachment inquiry. Pat A. Cipollone, one of Trump’s lawyers, claimed that the Democrats denied Republicans access to the facility. But Republicans on the Oversight, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees did participate in interviews and depositions in the SCIF, according to PolitiFact.
Senate pages: High school students who work as assistants in the chamber, mostly delivering correspondence and documents within the Congressional complex. As the session drew to a close Wednesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell led a round of applause for the Senate pages before the last day of their term:
“In addition to witnessing this unusual event that we’re all experiencing, they’re studying for their final exams as well, and we wish them well as they head off back to boring normal high school,” McConnell said.
Sham investigations: What Democrats say Trump wanted Ukraine to conduct into the Bidens.
Sham impeachment: A social media hashtag that conservative lawmakers and others are using to describe the proceedings.
“Head on a pike”: During Schiff’s closing remarks Friday, he mentioned a CBS report that quoted an anonymous source who warned Republican senators “vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and other Republicans criticized this part of Schiff’s speech.
“Burden sharing”: This term was at the center of the president’s defense. On Saturday, his lawyer, Cipollone, argued that the Trump administration’s hold on military assistance to Ukraine was driven by the president’s belief that European allies were not doing their share in supporting the former Soviet republic in its struggle with Russia on its eastern border.
“Golden rule of impeachment”: During closing remarks Monday, Cipollone said, “For the Democrats, the golden rule could be, ‘Do unto Republicans as you would have them do unto Democrats,’ and hopefully we will never be in another position in this country where we have another impeachment, but vice versa for that rule.”