How Trump’s Impeachment Compares To Others In History | NBC News NOW

Channel: NBC News
Published: 12/18/2019 04:33 AM

Ahead of the historic House impeachment vote, many are looking to past impeachments for context as a guide for what comes next. Michael Conway, who served as counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in the impeachment inquiry of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, weighs in on how the impe...

Ahead of tomorrow's impeachment vote, let's take a look at impeachments past for a little bit of guidance, michael conway service counsel for the house judiciary committee during nixon's impeachment inquiry he's with us now from chicago and michael. You helped draft the house judiciary committee's final report during nixon's impeachment. How have these impeachment proceedings been different? Well, ...
they've been different in a couple of ways. We had the benefit of a senate investigative committee, senator sam ervin, who developed a lot of the factual evidence that we were lied upon in the summer of 1973. The impeachment inquiry really didn't begin until january of 1974. We also receive which the current house judiciary committee has not received areport from the grand jury, a special prosecutor who was investigating watergate, which included tapes and other documents. So we had a factual predicate to base our inquiry on and didn't start from scratch. The current investigation, at least has to ukraine really has started as a congressional investigation. They didn't have. The benefit congress hasn't had the benefit of a prior investigation. Do you think that's put them in at a disadvantage that they didn't have something to work off of, or have they done a pretty good job of making up the difference here, they've done a pretty good job against very daunting odds. One big difference here is that president trump has been much more brazen muchmore aggressive in claiming privilege than even president nixon did president nixon, and we found out later in the white house tapes mulled over the issue of asserting executive privilege and was concerned about frankly that How people would understand that that they would think he was covering up? A president? Trump doesn't seem to have that same misgiving.

President nixon did very much a a block congress from receiving in response to subpoenas the white house, tapes or documents, but he did allow some of his witnesses to testify now, albeit they committed perjury when they testified, but he did let them do it right yeah. They walked into that trap, i'm afraid michael. This is the first timethe articles of impeachment have come before the rules committee. That'S going on today. What do you make of that difference in today's process? Well, so the rules committee is designed to set up the procedure tomorrow for the vote. In 1986. There was a procedure set up and then it was adopted by in the clinton impeachment in 1999 and it set up the rules for procedure. The rules are kind of interesting tomorrow. One thing is that there can be a wide-ranging debate, but there's an express prohibition from saying anything derogatory about a member of the house or a member of the senate. So the republicans can't say anything about adam schiff as they have so farin their dialogue and the house. Members democrat members can't say anything about mitch: mcconnell prejudging on those kinds of issues. So i think that'll be important and then one other thing to consider is: there are two articles of impeachment under the rules, at least as they existed before, and i suppose they'll follow those today as well, is that each article is voted separately in the clinton impeachment.

The house judiciary committee submitted for articles of impeachment to the house only two were adopted and two were rejected. It'S possible tomorrow, we'll find some democrat voting for one article impeachment or not, but not the other, to sort of show that they were taking a very balanced viewof. The evidence, any other glaring differences. In your opinion, between the impeachment that we're seeing right now and president clinton not so much with president clinton, because it was a pretty much party line, impeachment, there's a huge difference between what happened in the house judiciary committee in the nixon impeachment of the 38 members Of the house there were 21 democrats, 17 republicans three articles when pietschmann were adopted in 1/6, republicans out of the 17 joined in the articles and another one 7 out of 17, but we're not going to find that tomorrow it's going to be much more of a Party line vote and you look back at impeachments over time. How do you feelthat media coverage, the introduction of social media? How has that changed the process? Today i mean it doesn't seem like the clinton proceedings were all that long ago, but the times we're living at are certainly very different to change things. Enormous ly i mean there's so much political pressure on both sides really on social media and that didn't exist them yeah either in the clinton time. It certainly didn't exist in 1974 for the watergate pietschmann we were able to operate and the committee was able to operate pretty much without outside influence. That'S just not true today, anything in particular you'll be watching for tomorrow. If someone wants to watch it with a little more historicalperspective any advice for them sure a couple things one is, i think we should see the moderate democrats and how they're voting at some other mamoni express their point of view that it's a vote of conscience. I think we should also see if both articles on pietschmann have the same number of votes or, if there's going to be any difference. Most importantly, i think public ought to hear this is a preview to what the trial is going to be. They'Re gon na hear both sides of the argument about impeachment and they can begin making a reasoned judgment for themselves, even if the president isn't removed.

This is gon na have a huge influence on the election nextyear michael conway. Thank you so much for being with us and sharing your insights. I appreciate it very much. Thank you. Hey nbc news viewers, thanks for checking out our youtube channel subscribe by clicking on that button down here and click on any of the videos over here to watch. The latest interviews show highlights and digital exclusives thanks for watching.

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