"Nixon, Clinton, Trump and the blast of impeachment"

The four presidents of the United States who were the subject of impeachment proceedings: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
The four presidents of the United States who were the subject of impeachment proceedings: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. MATHEW BRADY, J. DAVID AKE, MANDEL NGAN / AFP

Washington, July 1974. Richard Nixon spent his last weeks in the White House, hunted, exhausted, emotionally drained. The dismissal procedure launched against the 37e US president will succeed, it was assured in the federal capital. The Republican has just been charged by a committee of the House of Representatives. The Senate will dismiss him, drive him out of the White House, accomplish this smashing political act: undo the verdict of universal suffrage – in the name of behavior "Highly tortious" Of the president.

Rather than suffer this humiliation, Nixon, on August 9, will prefer to resign. But the dismissal procedure carried out against him is today considered to have been a "model", the benchmark, the impeachment as the drafters of the Constitution wanted it, and very exactly everything that the procedure will not be these days against the 45e president, Donald Trump. Why ?

Read also How does an impeachment procedure work?

America in 1974 suffered the torments of the Vietnam War. Thousands of GIs are still in Indochina. At the end of the first mandate, in February 1972, Nixon changed the profile of the Cold War by reconnecting with Communist China – a major strategic fact. But the American bombings redoubled in Vietnam and spread to Cambodia. On campus, students are mobilized against the war. Racial riots in the late 1960s traumatized the country. These are storm times.

Elected for a first term in 1968, Nixon was quietly re-elected in 1972. Victory was won in advance. But Nixon is a somber, suspicious, cunning man, a bit paranoid, convinced that the "elites" are after him. There is never enough information about the opponent: during the campaign, the White House sponsored the robbery of the Democratic headquarters in Washington, in a building on the banks of the Potomac, Watergate. Tragicomedy: the five climbers are caught putting down microphones.

At that time, a fact was a fact and Nixon did not dispute it

It is not so much this miserable little political "breakage" that will be at the heart of the triggering of impeachment as the way in which the White House will do everything to camouflage its role in this affair: pressure on witnesses, manipulation of the services of the State, refusal to comply with justice and the Congress. Trainee in a radio affiliated with the ABC network, I walked from the White House to the Supreme Court, from the Senate to the House. I watch the machinery in action of the powers and counter-powers of American democracy. The Watergate was not only the result of Washington Post, followed by New york times, but the cumulative and simultaneous result of press, judicial and Congress inquiries.


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