June 11, 2019

John Avlon drew historic parallels between Richard Nixon's support at this point in an impeachment timeline, and Donald Trump's.

"Guys, it was back to the future yesterday on Capitol Hill, with John Dean testifying to House Democrats 45 years after he set off a chain of events that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon," Avlon said.

"Meanwhile, over at the White House, President Trump, who echoed Nixon slogans throughout his campaign, had history on the brain, as well.

TRUMP: When you look at past impeachments, whether it was President Clinton or, I guess, President Nixon never got there, he left. I don't leave. There is a difference, I don't leave.

"He's right that Nixon left before he got impeached. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton faced the constitutional nuclear option, and neither was convicted by the Senate. Impeachment, set aside for treason, bribery, high crimes, misdemeanors, is a political, not a legal proceeding.

"That's why public opinion matters so much. Folks didn't care much about Watergate initially. It was dismissed as a campaign caper in Nixon's re-election landslide. In '73, 19% of Americans thought Nixon should be impeached. 6% of republicans and 18% of independents, 27% of Democrats. The numbers steadily rose as more information came out during the hearings.

"In July of the following year, 46% of Americans thought Nixon should be removed from office. 59% of democrats, 47% independents, and 17% of Republicans. Months later, it was 57%. Nixon resigned. It was 18% to 55% that drove Nixon's numbers underwater. With Bill Clinton, just 19% supported impeachment in February of 1998. They numbered 29% ahead of impeachment hearings, accounting for the political backlash republicans faced in the year's midterms.

"In their second terms, Bush and Obama faced hyper partisan resolutions for impeachment, without objective cause, and they went nowhere. (Editor's note: Bush fabricated a basis to invade Iraq, remember?) 30% of Americans said Bush should be impeached. 33% said the same about Obama. Since Watergate, we've seen the development of what might be caused an impeachment caucus. 30% or either side getting pumped up by partisan media. What is stunning about Donald Trump's situation, according to CNN's recent poll, 41% of Americans believe he should be impeached. The numbers reflect a predictable partisan spread. 76% of the Democrats. 35% independents. 6% Republicans.

"Consider this, the percent of Americans who think trump should be impeached is equivalent to his job approval rating. We've never seen anything like this. Keep in mind, it took Nixon until the spring of '74 to get to a point where 41% thought he should be impeached. Folks, no one should be an impeachment enthusiast. Yes, it is set aside by Founding Fathers for extreme circumstances. It is divisive and disruptive to our democracy.

"What is clear, Donald Trump is in a deeper hole regarding the public's will to impeach than any president since Nixon. while in his first term. History shows the numbers are likely to get worse rather than better."

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