In 1973, a Vote for a Watergate Select Committee Passed 77-0
No question in terms of partisanship there has been a rising arms race. Like the Dems are playing hardball now due in large part to the unprecedented obstruction of Mitch McConnell and friends during the Obama years.
In the 1990s with all the craziness of the GOP desire to impeach Bill Clinton-which they ultimately did, though they failed to remove him from office-you’d often hear Republicans suggest it was payback for Nixon.
The suggestion was that Nixon got a raw deal and was only removed because of partisanship. But this was not true-the parties were actually much less partisan then. The Democrats still had a large number of Southern Democrats. The claim that Watergate was just a partisan exercise was belied by the 77-0 vote for the Select Committee.
Nixon had made few friends on the GOP side by doing nothing to provide his party any coattails.
So when comparing Watergate to Lewinskygate, it’s clear which was the partisan exercise. With Clinton it was a strictly partly line vote-so they had no chance to remove Clinton from office which had been their goal. Another thing that tells you the difference between the Watergate and Bill Clinton is that the public thought Nixon had to go but the public, while critical of Clinton’s conduct with Lewinsky, did not agree it was an impeachable offense.
In the end even Rush Limbaugh had to acknowledge that the more the GOP pushed, the more popular Clinton got. The week of the impeachment vote his approval rating was 81 in one gallup poll.
That was the breakdown with Clinton: the GOP wanted him to resign-and a lot of newspaper editorial writers demanded he resign. But the public never agreed.
This brings us to Watergate 2.0. This is the long game. Impeachment won’t happen yet. It probably requires a Dem House in 2018. For now the GOP is trying to close the circle and shield Trump.
We have the shocking news that both Devon Nunes and Richard Burr-who are allegedly leading Trump-Russia probes in the House and Senate respectively were actually making calls on background to the media and telling them there’s nothing to the ties of Trump’s team to Russian intelligence figures.
Uh, that’s what this investigation is supposed to uncover.
“On Friday night, The Washington Post reported that the White House had enlisted intelligence officials and key members of Congress — including Burr and House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) — to call media outlets to challenge allegations about repeated communications between Trump associates and Russia.”
In response, Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a warning:
“I will not accept any process that is undermined by political interference,” Warner said in a statement. “I am consulting with members of the Intelligence Committee to determine an appropriate course of action so we can ensure that the American people get the thorough, impartial investigation that they deserve, free from White House interference.”
Warner also issued a warning to his GOP counterparts, saying that if he determines the Intelligence panel “cannot properly conduct an independent investigation, I will support empowering whoever can do it right.”
As well as Adam Schiff (D-CA).
“Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, blasted the White House’s behavior, saying intelligence professionals “are not there to serve as the President’s PR firm.”
“For its part, the intelligence community must resist improper efforts like these by the Administration to politicize its role, and in Congress we will have to redouble our vigilance to ensure that the community is never compelled to do otherwise,” Schiff said.
As noted above, for now the GOP as a whole is still trying to shield Trump while going through the necessary motions to insist they’re doing they’re conducting real probes.
But now Darrell Issa (R-CA) is calling for a Special Prosecutor.
“Also on Friday night, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) called for a special prosecutor to oversee an investigation into Trump associates’ ties to Russia, saying Attorney General Jeff Sessions should not be involved.”
“It’s unclear if Issa, who was a major supporter of Trump during the presidential campaign, was aware of the Post’s report when he made the remarks on HBO’s “Real Time” with Bill Maher.”
“You cannot have somebody, a friend of mine Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa, the former chairman of the House oversight committee, said. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office to take — not just to recuse. You can’t just give it to your deputy. That’s another political appointee.”
Issa is in a very vulnerable district where Hillary won by a solid margin.
Probably the most vulnerable GOP incumbent in the country https://t.co/ATYDhe5Toa
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) February 25, 2017
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