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4 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Democrats must not just focus impeachment on Ukraine scandal

Dave Lindorff

The impeachment theater on display in the House, bracketed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s maudlin reading of Article I of the Constitution, and by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s ludicrous evocation of the Stalin purge trials to characterise the full House vote to establish impeachment rules and procedures, is increasingly looking like the first act of an almost certain impeachment of President Trump. Unfortunately, if Democrats impeaching Trump on just the effort to extort an investigation of the Bidens by Ukraine’s government their goal, they’ll get their impeachment vote, but it will end up like the Clinton impeachment as a farcical trial in the Senate, perhaps even strengthening President Trump in next year’s presidential election contest.

The Democrats, that is to say, are following the Republican’s disastrous impeachment model, set in 1998-99 when they sought to oust President Clinton over a scandal in the Oval Office, and ended up making him one of the most popular presidents in the history of the job. Democrats should be looking instead to the Nixon impeachment, which obtained the desired result — removing a criminal president from office — without even having to go to a full vote of the House following passage of articles of impeachment by the House Judiciary Committee. When one looks back at that impeachment effort, it almost seems incredible that Nixon was forced out of office. This was a president, remember, who in 1972 was re-elected to a second term by a landslide 60.7 percent of the popular vote to just 37.5 percent for his Democratic opponent Sen. George McGovern.  Nixon won the electoral votes of 49 states, with only Massachusetts going for McGovern.

Congressional investigation into Nixon’s crimes began with the establishment of the so-called Watergate Committee, headed by Senator Sam Ervin. That committee’s public hearings into that scandal started on May 17, 1973, just six months after Nixon’s electoral triumph.

At the time, while Democrats had solid majorities in both houses of Congress, Nixon was still hugely popular, even as the early details of the Watergate break-in and of the cover-up of that tip-of-the-iceberg corruption in the Nixon White House and re-election campaign were starting to come out. At the time of his inauguration, Nixon’s popularity was at a peak of 67 per cent in a Gallup poll.

The writer is a journalist

and columnist

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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