As per Watergate Era, Public Support For Impeachment Inquiry Will Likely Increase Over Time

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Not having the support of the Republican Party led US Senate is par for the course. As per Wikipedia, Nixon is 1 of only 3 U.S. presidents against whom articles of impeachment have been reported to the full House for consideration. The other two—Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998—were both impeached; however, both were also acquitted from all charges following a Senate trial, and thus allowed to remain in office. The impeachment process against Nixon is the only one resulting in the departure from office of its target.”

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Thus the excuse for US House Dems delaying the commencement of an impeachment inquiry against the republican President Donald Trump for his numerous felonious acts as detailed in the FBI’s 3/22/2019 final report based on its 22 months long Trump-Russia probe, led by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, doesn’t hold water. There’s no way that President Trump welcomes his name being forever associated with the word, impeached by the US House of Representatives.

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The other fear that’s holding back the House Democrats for acting on their constitutionally mandated duty via an impeachment inquiry, which is to hold President Trump accountable for all of his wrongdoings, is that independent voters are not yet on board with the concept of impeachment. We all know that GOP members will never be in favor of impeachment, but history tells us that over time, more and more independent voters are likely to favor the impeachment inquiry.

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PRESIDENT NIXON

A look back in time…

As per Wkipedia, “An impeachment process against Richard Nixon was formally initiated on February 6, 1974, when the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution, H.Res. 803, giving its Judiciary Committee authority to investigate whether sufficient grounds existed to impeach Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States of high crimes and misdemeanors, primarily related to the Watergate scandal. ”

This was 6 months after the Senate Select Committee had begun to end its hearings and to wrap up its investigation. Does any of this feel like ‘deja vu?’

August 15, 1973 (Source: 1/18/2018 History.com)

“The same day the Senate Select Committee wraps up its hearings, Nixon delivers a second primetime address to the nation on Watergate, saying “It has become clear that both the hearings themselves and some of the commentaries on them have become increasingly absorbed in an effort to implicate the President personally in the illegal activities that took place.” He reminded the American people that he had already taken “full responsibility” for the “abuses that occurred during my administration.”

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As per June 3, 2019, the Washington Post Analysis, Will support grow for impeaching Trump? Data on Nixon offers a clue” by Greg Sargent

“So now let’s look at what happened with Nixon in that regard. Gallup provided me with this breakdown of 4 of its national polls on impeachment (the question wording shifts midway through):”
Gallup polling on Nixon and impeachment (Gallup/Gallup)

“As you can see, among Republicans, support for impeachment or removal moved from 6 percent in June of 1973, to 31 percent in August 1974.”

“Among independents, those numbers moved from 18 percent to 55 percent. And among Democrats, they moved from 27 percent to 71 percent.”

“This offers more grist for believing that public opinion can be shifted again. Note that the shift was more substantial among independents, eventually amounting to a solid majority, than it was among Republicans.”

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WATERGATE ERA

“Right now, independents are a key reason public support for impeachment is low. A recent Post-ABC News poll, which found that only 37 percent of Americans support beginning impeachment proceedings while 56 percent oppose it, also found that among independents, those numbers are 36 percent to 59 percent.”

“The Gallup numbers on Nixon suggest that big shifts among independents are possible and show that a substantially larger percentage of independents now support impeachment hearings than at the outset in Nixon’s day.”

“In other words, it might be possible to build majority support for an impeachment inquiry on Trump, even if Republican voters don’t ever move much on this question.”

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(Source for Timeline as of 1/1973 is from History.com)

January 30, 1973

Former Nixon aide and FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord, an ex-CIA agent and former security director of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), are convicted for their roles in the break-in at the Watergate complex. They are found guilty of conspiracy, bugging DNC headquarters, and burglary. Four others, including E. Howard Hunt, had already plead guilty. Judge John J. Sirica threatens the convicted burglars with long prison sentences unless they talk.

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March 21, 1973

In a White House meeting, White House Counsel John Dean tells Nixon, “We have a cancer—within—close to the Presidency, that’s growing.” He and Nixon discuss how to pay the Watergate bribers as much as $1 million in cash to continue the cover-up.

March 23, 1973

Watergate burglar James McCord’s letter confessing the existence of a wider conspiracy is read in open court by Judge Sirica. The Watergate cover-up starts to unravel.

April 6, 1973

“Dean begins cooperating with Watergate prosecutors.

John Dean testifying for the second day before the Senate Watergate Committee, saying he was sure that President Nixon not only knew about the Watergate cover-up as early as last fall, but also helped try to keep the scandal quiet.
John Dean testifying for the second day before the Senate Watergate Committee, saying he was sure that President Nixon not only knew about the Watergate cover-up as early as last fall, but also helped try to keep the scandal quiet. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
April 9, 1973

“The New York Times reports that McCord told the Senate Watergate Committee that a Republican group, the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP) had made cash payoffs to the Watergate burglars.”

April 27, 1973

“Acting FBI director Patrick Gray resigns after admitting that he destroyed documents given to him by John Dean days after the Watergate break-in.”

April 30, 1973

“The Watergate scandal intensifies as Nixon announces that White House aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman have resigned. White House counsel John Dean is fired. (In October that year, Dean would plead guilty to obstruction of justice.) Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resigns. Later that night, Nixon delivers his first primetime address to the nation on Watergate, stressing his innocence.”

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May 17, 1973

“Senator Sam Ervin opens the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities into the Watergate incident.”

May 18, 1973

“The first nationally televised hearings of the Senate Select Committee begin. Attorney General-designate Elliot Richardson appoints law professor and former U.S. Solicitor General Archibald Cox as special prosecutor in the Watergate investigation.”

June 3, 1973

“The Washington Post reports that Dean told Watergate prosecutors that he discussed the cover-up with Nixon at least 35 times. On June 25, Dean testifies before the Senate Select Committee about Nixon’s involvement.”

Pieces of police evidence around the Watergate scandal. To the left are arrest photo enlargements of the 4 Cubans from Miami who committed the crime: Valdez Martinez, Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard Barker, and Frank Sturgis.
Pieces of police evidence around the Watergate scandal. To the left are arrest photo enlargements of the 4 Cubans from Miami who committed the crime: Valdez Martinez, Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard Barker, and Frank Sturgis. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
June 13, 1973

“Prosecutors discover a memo to John Ehrlichman regarding plans for the Plumbers’ break-in of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.”

July 13, 1973

“Alexander Butterfield, former presidential appointments secretary, meets with Senate investigators, where he reveals the existence of an extensive, secret taping system in the White House. On July 16, he testifies before the Senate Committee in a live broadcast, revealing that since 1971 Nixon had recorded all conversations and telephone calls in his offices.”

July 18, 1973

“Nixon reportedly orders the White House taping system disconnected.”

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July to October 1973

“President Nixon refuses to turn over recordings of his White House conversations to the Senate investigation. The tapes are believed to include evidence that Nixon and his aides had attempted to cover up their involvement in the Watergate break-in and other illegal activities. Nixon files appeals in response to various subpoenas ordering him to turn over the tapes”.

August 15, 1973

“The same day the Senate Select Committee wraps up its hearings, Nixon delivers a second primetime address to the nation on Watergate, saying “It has become clear that both the hearings themselves and some of the commentaries on them have become increasingly absorbed in an effort to implicate the President personally in the illegal activities that took place.” He reminded the American people that he had already taken “full responsibility” for the “abuses that occurred during my administration.”

October 10, 1973

“Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns, amidst bribery and income-tax evasion charges, unrelated to the Watergate break-in. Two days later, Nixon nominates Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford as vice president. Ford is sworn in in December.”

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October 19, 1973

“Nixon attempts a legal maneuver to avoid handing over the tapes to Cox by suggesting U.S. Sen. John Stennis to summarize the tapes for investigators. Cox will refuse the offer the next day.”

October 20, 1973

“Nixon orders the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox in what becomes known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resign rather than carry out these orders. Solicitor General Robert Bork fires Cox. Several days later, Leon Jaworski is appointed as the second special prosecutor.”

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November 17, 1973

“During a televised press conference in Florida, Nixon famously declares, “I’m not a crook,” and continues to profess his innocence.”

November 21, 1973

“White House Watergate counsel J. Fred Buzhardt reveals the existence of an 18 ½ minute gap on the tape of Nixon-Haldeman conversation on June 20, 1972. The White House is unable to explain the gap, although Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods, will later claim she accidentally erased the material.”

March 1, 1974

“Indictments are handed down for the “Watergate Seven,” including John Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. The grand jury names Nixon as an “unindicted co-conspirator.”

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April 30, 1974

“Transcripts of more than 1,200 pages of edited transcripts of the Nixon tapes are released by The White House.”

May 9, 1974

“House Judiciary Committee starts impeachment proceedings against Nixon.”

July 24, 1974

“The Supreme Court rules that Nixon must surrender dozens of original tape recordings of conversations to Jaworski.”

Transcripts of edited versions of many of President Nixon's Watergate conversations arriving on Capitol Hill to be turned over to the House Judiciary Committee.
Transcripts of the Watergate tapes arriving on Capitol Hill to be turned over to the House Judiciary Committee. (Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)
July 27-30, 1974

“Three articles of impeachment are debated and approved by the House Judiciary Committee against Nixon—obstruction of justice, misuse of power and contempt of Congress. The impeachment was sent to the floor of the House but the vote was never carried out.”

August 5, 1974

“Nixon releases transcripts of 3 conversations with Haldeman on June 23, 1972. Known as the “smoking gun,” the transcripts reveal Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate cover-up.”

August 8, 1974

“President Nixon resigns. In a nationally televised speech, the president says, “I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as president, I must put the interest of America first…Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.”

Nixon Resignation
President Nixon as he boards the White House helicopter after resigning the presidency. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
August 9, 1974

“Nixon signs his letter of resignation. Vice President Gerald Ford becomes president.”

September 8, 1974

“Nixon is pardoned by President Gerald Ford for any offenses he might have committed against the United States while president.”

January 1975

“Former chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, former domestic policy advisor John Ehrlichman, and former attorney general and Nixon campaign manager John Mitchell are tried and convicted of conspiracy charges arising from Watergate.”

3 comments

  1. Considering the visceral blind support the pro-Trump lobby can muster by playing the victim card, it could be argued the best strategy would be to cast him out in 2020 and then go for him when he can’t hide behind the seat in the Oval Office

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Roger,

      You favor ousting President Trump in 2020 when he’s up for reelection. I had been in agreement with that course of action until I took time to read and study the FBI’s final report by Mr. Mueller. Now, I’m on the other side of the fence.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • Being on this side of ‘The Pond’ and not having to put up with The Oaf-in-Office on a daily basis, I’ll defer to the judgement of folk ‘on the ground’.
        Though to take this course of action will require the mobilisation of a large numbers of the public. A media campaign in fact. It is vital to meet the Unholy Church of Trump head on in such a battle ground

        Liked by 1 person

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