The Truth Will Come Out: As With Nixon, Time Will Darken Views Of Trump And His SupportersBreaking News
tags: Richard Nixon, Watergate
What else will emerge as the planned 9/11-type commission, the FBI, and the new attorney general work through their investigations, beginning, as Merrick Garland said, “with the people on the ground and work[ing] our way up to those who are involved and further involved?”
Such new information is unlikely to leave Trump unscathed, and may tie him to the planning for the violence. And what will that say about the 43 Republican senators who voted to acquit, and the seven who to vote to convict?
On this point, Watergate is an instructive precedent. In 1974, seven Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee took a similarly brave stand when they broke with their Republican colleagues and joined all the Democrats in voting to impeach President Richard Nixon for abuse of power.
Most Republicans on the Committee, slavishly loyal to Nixon, refused to vote for impeachment despite evidence that was as overwhelming as that against Trump. The Committee had spelled out in meticulous detail how Nixon and his enablers covered up the Watergate break-in by operatives connected to his re-election campaign, and orchestrated another break-in at Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office searching for defamatory information, among many other grave abuses of power. As a member of that Committee, I recall feeling that I was stepping into quicksand — there seemed to be no bottom to the endless litany of Nixon’s misdeeds.
The Committee’s Republican hold-outs remained blind to evidence that the rest of us found compelling. But the American people strongly supported its impeachment vote. Because its process was fair, thorough, and also because it was bi-partisan, most Americans felt assured that the point of the impeachment effort was to protect the country from a lawless president, not simply to enable Democrats to topple a Republican president.
The seven Republicans who voted with Democrats were key to that assurance. It took enormous courage for them to oppose Nixon, who was much more popular than Trump. They put country over party, and were willing to risk their seats in the next election, only months away.
Facts have a funny way of asserting themselves. Shortly after the Nixon impeachment vote, the Supreme Court ordered the “smoking gun” White House tape to be released. The tape indisputably showed that Nixon himself directed the cover-up, which the Nixon die-hards on the Committee previously refused to acknowledge. At that point, they all reversed their position, and announced support for impeachment. But they looked like fools.
The 43 Trump loyalists in the Senate may find history repeating itself. As happened with Nixon, more of the ugly truth about Trump will come out, and the Republican Senators who refused to convict him will be judged in its very harsh, unrelenting light.