Impeachment pop-up roundtable

Close up of yellow impeachment trial ticket

Impeachment pop-up roundtable

Melody Barnes, Chris Lu, Barbara Perry, Saikrishna Prakash, Philip Zelikow

Monday, October 21, 2019
4:00PM - 5:00PM (EDT)
Event Details


With the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump accelerating, the Miller Center assembles five leading experts on the presidency and the Constitution to offer context and answer questions from the audience. How did we get here? Has anything like this ever happened before? And where are things headed? Join us as we go beyond the headlines.

The Miller Center's Director of Presidential Studies Barbara Perry will host the nonpartisan, bipartisan panel, which includes Senior Fellow Chris Lu, former deputy secretary of labor in the Obama Administration; Senior Fellow Saikrishna Prakash, a UVA law professor and noted expert on executive power who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; UVA Democracy Institute Co-Director Melody Barnes, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council in the Obama Administration who had a front row seat during the Clinton impeachment as chief counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee; and Philip Zelikow, a career diplomat and intelligence expert who held positions in the White House, State Department, and Pentagon during five presidential administrations.

Monday, October 21, 2019
4:00PM - 5:00PM (EDT)
The Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Melody Barnes

Melody Barnes

Melody Barnes is co-director for policy and public affairs for the Democracy Initiative, an interdisciplinary teaching, research, and engagement effort led by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia. She is a professor of practice at the Miller Center and distinguished fellow at the UVA School of Law. A co-founder of the domestic strategy firm MB2 Solutions LLC, Barnes has spent more than 25 years crafting public policy on a wide range of domestic issues. 

During the administration of President Barack Obama, Barnes was assistant to the president and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. She was also executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and chief counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Chris Lu headshot

Chris Lu

Over the course of a 20-year career in public service, Chris Lu, the Teresa A. Sullivan Practitioner Senior Fellow, worked in all three branches of the federal government, including seven years in the Obama Administration. From 2014 to 2017, Lu was the deputy secretary of labor, having been confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. In this role, he served as the chief operating officer of a department with 17,000 employees and a $12 billion budget.

From 2009 to 2013, Lu was the White House cabinet secretary and assistant to the president, serving as the president’s primary liaison to the federal agencies. At the end of the first term, Obama said: “Through his dedication and tireless efforts, Chris has overseen one of the most stable and effective cabinets in history – a cabinet that has produced extraordinary accomplishments over the past four years.”

Barbara Perry headshot

Barbara Perry

Barbara A. Perry is the Gerald L. Baliles Professor and Director of Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, where she co-directs the Presidential Oral History Program. She has authored or edited 12 books on presidents, First Ladies, the Kennedy family, the Supreme Court, and civil rights and civil liberties. Professor Perry has conducted more than 100 interviews for the George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush Oral History Projects; researched the Bill Clinton Oral History Project interviews, and directed the Edward Kennedy Oral History Project. She served as a U.S. Supreme Court fellow and has worked for both Republican and Democratic members of the Senate.

Her books include 42: Inside the Presidency of Bill Clinton (edited with Michael Nelson and Russell Riley); 41: Inside the Presidency of George H.W. Bush (edited with Michael Nelson); Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch; Jacqueline Kennedy: First Lady of the New Frontier; Edward Kennedy: An Oral History (forthcoming), and The Priestly Tribe: The Supreme Court's Image in the American Mind.

Saikrishna Prakash headshot

Saikrishna Prakash

Saikrishna Prakash, faculty senior fellow, is the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Paul G. Mahoney Research Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School. His scholarship focuses on separation of powers, particularly executive powers. He teaches constitutional law, foreign relations Law and presidential powers at the University of Virginia Law School.

After law school, Prakash clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the author of Imperial from the Beginning: The Constitution of the Original Executive (Yale University Press 2015).

Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the University of Virginia, where he has also served as dean of the Graduate School and director of the Miller Center. His scholarly work has focused on critical episodes in American and world history. 

He was a trial and appellate lawyer and then a career diplomat before taking academic positions at Harvard, then Virginia. Before and during his academic career, he has served at all levels of American government. His federal service during five administrations has included positions in the White House, State Department, and the Pentagon. His last full-time government position was as the counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Condoleezza Rice, with whom he recently published the book To Build a Better World