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Will Impeachment Movement Help Trump and Republicans?

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 25 September 2019 06:43 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Less than two hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced late Tuesday afternoon that the House would begin an inquiry into the impeachment of President Trump, the questions began to resound throughout official Washington: would this become a full-blown impeachment of a U.S. president for the third time in history, or would it fade quickly?

Trump himself obviously hopes for the latter. On Tuesday evening, he announced through Twitter that on the following day he would release a "full, unredacted" transcript of his telephone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky — in which, it is alleged, he sought damaging information about Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden's involvement with that country.

One question recently discussed is the long-term impact of the impeachment movement. Regardless of its outcome, would the impeachment drive leave lasting political bruises on Trump and the Republicans in 2020, or would it actually boost their political fortunes — as the unsuccessful Republican-led impeachment against Bill Clinton in 1998-1999 inarguably boosted his political stock?

Newsmax spoke to several Republicans who were in Congress during the Clinton impeachment and got some interesting — and very diverse — analysis.

Asked if the impeachment could help Trump and the Republicans, former Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott, R.-Miss., who voted for Clinton's removal following his Senate trial in 1999, replied without hesitation: "Hopefully, it will."

Former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, R.-La., a vigorous House backer of Clinton's impeachment, recalled: "Clinton was impeached for lying under oath … a crime for which there were numerous people, civilian and military, in prison at that same time.

"Where is the crime for which Trump should be impeached? [Special Prosecutor Robert] Mueller couldn't find it. Congress hasn't found it. Our economy has never been better. Unemployment is low and more people are gainfully employed than ever before and our military is being rebuilt. Where's the beef?"

Livingston believes that Democrats "lost the election in 2016 and far too many of them have lost their minds since then. There is no reason to even consider impeachment, let alone prosecute it. To do so is to launch a foolish witch hunt that endangers the future of our nation."

But, he quickly predicted, "It will guarantee a Trump victory in 2020."

Former Sen. Jon Kyl, R.-Ariz., voted for Clinton's removal and had a different take on the analogies between impeachments of 1998 and 2016.

"I know the conventional wisdom is that impeachment of Clinton helped Democrats and impeachment of Trump would help Republicans," Kyl told us. "I'm not sure I fully buy into the former and don't know about the latter. A bigger factor, I suspect, will be what the inquiry into Trump produces, if anything."

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R.-Neb., who also voted to remove Clinton, pointed out, "there are some big differences between the Trump and Clinton scenarios. First, Trump's has had the lowest continued job approval ratings in his first three years of any president, and always over 55% disapproval. Clinton was a second term president who usually had pretty good numbers.

"Second, the issues are completely different. Clinton's was minor compared to the seriousness of the issues and charges against Trump. Third, we are in a terribly divided and polarized time — the worst since the Civil War. It wasn't that way in 1998."

Hagel doubts Trump would lose the Senate if he is impeached by the House and is subsequently tried by the Republican-controlled Senate.

But, he told us, "Democrats could gain politically next year in congressional and presidential races. Go back and look at how bad Trump's numbers are. You could argue it the same way for Republicans. The answer is ... release the telephone transcript of the conversation. No redactions [which Trump has promised to do]. That'll either prove Trump lied or he didn't."

Hagel, who went on to serve as President Barack Obama's secretary of defense, believes that regardless of the possible quid pro quo of the conversation with Zelensky, "Trump dangerously abused the power of the presidency. He's already admitted to bringing up the Biden investigation. We'll see. But this story is unfolding pretty quickly."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Will the Democrats' impeachment effort lead to an actual impeachment, or will it fade quickly? Newsmax's John Gizzi spoke with several Republicans who were in office during the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
trump, impeachment, house, senate, pelosi
Wednesday, 25 September 2019 06:43 AM
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