Richard Nixon, President Trump, President Johnson discussed on NPR Politics Podcast
About impeachment then and now because it turns out there are a lot of parallels between past impeachment situations and the current impeachment inquiry very into president trump so there's a pretty small sample size when it comes to impeachment in America Right we have President Bill Clinton and President Richard Nixon and don't forget President Johnson you know I gotTa tell you I have forgotten President Johnson it was a little before my time but I do personally remember Nixon journalism school at the time right the big roughly yes roughly at the time of Watergate yes I was in graduate school so I met during Andrew Johnson's Okay arching okay so we are going to focus on the two that happened in Ron's lifetime modern time yes in modern live and we should say that President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House but not convicted by the Senate President Richard Nixon then resigned before the House voted on impeachment the through line through all of these impeachment inquiries is that a president has never been removed WBT from office via impeachment and as we are in the fourth ever impeachment inquiry in American history it's also probably reasonable to conclude Dude that Donald Trump will not be removed from office by this process either that's right because there are fifty three Republicans in the Senate and right now we don't have a commitment from any of them to actually vote for the president to be removed from office and there would need to be twenty. I can't wait to play this clip in like six months yeah I mean either you will be so right or we will be so wrong well if trump is being removed from office the impeachment it means events have had spend that none of us could predict that have radically shifted the political landscape of this country in such dramatic and profound way that we would have of at least twenty Republican senators willing to vote to convict him on articles of impeachment and remove him from office even in the Weird Wild Times even I can't imagine a scenario where that could play out right now but yeah you're right to and play this back to me in six months all right so let's go through some of all these radical moments that shaped the past impeachments and I think we should talk about what's similar and also what's different so let's start Ron with what is malar the most important thing that similar here is the similarity between this particular process and what happened with Richard Nixon because in both cases the allegations of wrongdoing had to do with the abuse of power for the purpose of securing re election so Richard Nixon's original burglary and all the other events around it that got labeled Watergate because the original burglary was in the Watergate hotel and they were breaking into the Watergate Hotel because the Democratic National Committee had its office's headquarters there that was all about securing and assuring Richard Nixon's re election in nineteen seventy two that's when the burglary happened end in this particular instance what's being alleged about this phone call with Ukraine and a number of other issues around it had to do with President Trump's effort it's to secure his own re-election twenty twenty and there are tapes well Thir- aren't tapes that we know of this time but there were tapes for Richard send transcripts yes yes let's say there is crucial evidence that emerged in the first round of hearings that we're looking into Watergate back in the summer of nineteen seventy Three when one of the witnesses testified everything in the oval offices recorded. Why don't you guys just listen to the tapes well it took about ten months to get home hold of those tapes and it took a decision by the Supreme Court to turn those tapes over and at that point Richard Nixon essentially resigned just days later so getting that essential evidence to us tablet what the president's role had been Watergate was the crux of a year and a half of struggle between the Congress and the president a back into Watergate era and we're probably going to have a Lotta struggle over evidence now again in the trump instance a possibly more information about that Ukraine phone call and possibly information about a lot of other phone calls to we don some audio of of Richard Nixon talking about the tapes as far as what the president personally new embiid with regard to Watergate and the up is concerned these materials together were those already made available we'll tell I shouldn't be Chairman Roy Dino and the committee's ranking minority member Congressman Hutchinson Michigan to come to the White House and listen to the actual full shakes of these conversations so that they can determine for themselves beyond question that the transcripts are accurate the everything on the tapes relevant Mindich my Atkins on Watergate included in this audio he is saying like I have nothing to hide aid here you go and that's exactly what president trump was saying about the rough call log of his call with presidents Alinsky of Ukraine the only thing that matters is the transcript of the actual conversation that I had with the president of Ukraine it was perfect the fascinating thing about how Nixon left office was that it never even came up for a full vote in the House of Representatives articles of impeachment were approved out of the Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction to draft those artist goals and they were approved with bipartisan support and it was in that time afterward that public sentiment and the political reality of the time made clear that the president did not have the support to stay in office that because that was the shift from within his own party members of his own party informed the president including the Senate that he was likely to news and would be forced out of office and what Nixon did and you see some parallels today in which they're saying trump would be less likely to do this is part of the reason why he left is that he was doing it to protect the party that the Republican Party Saul Nixon as such an existential threat that he left office and the Party was grateful to him for that and Republicans in some ways I think were supportive of Nixon in the end because he quote unquote did the right thing and step down for the good of the country for the party he fell on his sword exactly that is Donald Trump and here's how Nixon characterized his departure I have never been a quitter the leave office before my term is completed it's hard to every instinct in my body but as president I must put the interests of Aca i America needs a full time president and a fulltime Congress one of the unique realities of this moment is donald trump is a republican president but he is not a creature of the Republican Party I think it's fair to say that he does not share the same level of loyalty to his political party as past presidents of all parties have felt loyal to there's you know what that Nixon tapes makes me think of out is just how incredibly wrenching impeachment is for a country this is not something gone into slightly this is not easy this is painful and when Gerald Ford then comes in after Nixon and he says our long national nightmare is over we are now in the midst of one of these incredibly wrenching moments in American history at a time when the country's already pretty wrenched that's right just is again with Andrew Johnson that followed on the civil war immediately upon the civil war and with Richard Nixon it followed on years and years of division over Vietnam Vietnam was in fact still going on at the time this is also a divisible time in our history but impeachment could be said to have emerged from much larger issues and that would to a lesser degree apply to Bill Clinton as well and we're GonNa talk about the lessons we can take from the Clinton Peach Mint and applied to this moment after quick? break support for this podcast and the following message come from Aspen snowmass dedicated to meaningful action on climate change for over twenty years Aspen snowmass is implemented large-scale solutions from generating clean power to wielding.