Zoe Lofgren is one of the impeachment managers who presented the Articles of Impeachment for Donald John Trump to the Senate and will be part of the prosecution of the Houses’ case for impeachment.
She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1995, and was on the Judiciary committee when the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton was being conducted.
She was an aide to Representative Don Edwards (D-Calif.), who sat on the House Judiciary Committee in 1973. She was sent to Washington to work on a bankruptcy bill but was swept up in the Nixon impeachment inquiry.
Everybody got sucked into the tornado that was the impeachment inquiry. I was a law student, so I wasn’t running the show, but I did work on it. You had a sense of how historic it was, how serious it was. But to be present was both an honor and also an obligation, and to be able to play a small part in something, it felt profound.Washington Post
So she has a unique perspective on the subject of impeachment.
I remember when Bill Clinton was impeached. I remember that I was pissed off for having to explain what a blow job was to my then seven-year-old daughter. I understood that Bill Clinton had broken the law. I also understood that what the Republicans were doing was entirely for show. They had no intention of acting on the evidence against him in any real fashion; or perhaps they knew that the charges they could bring against him were insufficient to have him removed from office. They just wanted to embarrass a popular Democratic president, and perhaps keep the next president from being a Democrat.
…a task that they weren’t capable of pulling off without the help of the Supreme Court. I knew that if they had been serious about getting Bill Clinton out of the White House, they would have called him on fraternization. But then most of them would also have skeletons in their closets that they wouldn’t have wanted dragged out into public after conducting that trial.
What Bill Clinton did was a crime. However the crime was engaging in a sexual relationship with a direct subordinate, which should be much more of a crime than lying to the grand jury about the sexual relationship. Worse, it was apparently a common practice of his to engage in sex with his subordinates, as other women took pains to testify about. Even to sue him over.
I also remember when Richard Nixon left office. I was a little older than the daughter was when Clinton was impeached, but I remember the sadness and betrayal that many people felt. Betrayal by the president of the people he was supposed to represent. I don’t know how many of my relatives and neighbors supported him before he was found to be culpable by the tapes he was forced to release to the House of Representatives. But I do remember that Grandma didn’t have a single kind word to say about him, so she wouldn’t say much other than he got what was coming to him.
Nixon and Clinton both were compelled to release information to the impeachment inquiry that the House embarked upon against them. Both of them understood that the United States government was not just the president. It was the entire nation, figuratively. The U.S. Government is made up of at least the other two branches of government outside of the executive branch, and it is also made up of all the people who worked in all the branches of government that make up the government. It is and was bigger than any one person. That is perhaps the most telling argument against Donald J. Trump. He doesn’t admit that anything is bigger than he is. I doubt he even has the capacity to understand just how small he really is.
It is that lack of understanding that made these events we are witnessing inevitable. Nixon understood that if he was impeached he would be removed from office because the country had turned against him. He knew that he would face prosecution, and that he couldn’t be pardoned if impeached. So he left office on the heels of his even more crooked vice president, Spiro Agnew, the Bag Man of Rachel Maddow’s podcast.
…and Richard Nixon was pardoned by Spiro Agnew’s replacement, Gerald Ford.
Bill Clinton knew that what he had done was wrong and he apologized to the country. His behavior since that time publicly has been exemplary. I haven’t had to explain one other uncomfortable thing about him to a minor since that day.
Nixon knew when he was beat. Clinton knew how to appease the people who were rightly offended at his behavior. Donald Trump? He doesn’t acknowledge that others exist or that his behavior varies in any way from the absolute straight and narrow, even when caught red handed lying, cheating and stealing. That has been his standard of practice since I first ran across his name back in the days of Trump tower and the Trump Taj Mahal. Donald Trump doesn’t have the presence of mind to understand just how far out on a limb he is right now.
Zoe Lofgren knows how precarious his position is and hopes to hold him accountable for the crimes he has always gotten away with before. I wish her luck in her endeavor. Perhaps someone exercised caveat emptor after all.