Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the only House Democrat to have worked on both the Nixon and Clinton impeachment proceedings, said Sunday that President Trump‘s alleged misconduct is worse than that of President Nixon.
CNN “State of the Union” host Dana Bash asked Lofgren if she agreed with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff‘s (D-Calif.) assessment that Trump’s behavior was “far more serious” than that of Nixon.
Lofgren said she agrees with the chairman, adding that while Nixon tried to “use the leverage” of the government to cover up the Watergate burglary, he did not involve other foreign nations.
“President Nixon’s misconduct related to trying to use the levers of government to hide the Watergate burglary to — his misconduct had to do with trying to throw the election. But at least it didn’t involve involving other foreign nations,” Lofgren said.
“If you take a look at what the founding fathers were concerned about, it was the interference by foreign governments in our political system that was one of their gravest concerns. Nixon’s behavior didn’t fall into that range. So, in that way, this conduct is more serious.”
Interference from foreign nations was central to the founding fathers’ concerns, Lofgren said.
But Lofgren did not go so far as to say that articles of impeachment will definitely be created.
“Here’s what I want to do, I want to let the process play out,” she said, adding that the committee has welcomed the president or his counsel to appear to provide information.
She said it would be “wonderful” if there was “some benign explanation” that would show the president did not negotiate the alleged quid pro quo deal. But she said she is “struggling to think what it would be at this point.”
“But we have to at least allow for the possibility,” Lofgren said.
Lofgren was elected to the House in 1994, ahead of former President Clinton’s impeachment. She also worked as a Judiciary Committee staffer when the articles of impeachment against Nixon were prepared.
Lofgren also separated the ongoing probe into Trump from the impeachment of Clinton.
“My concern with the Clinton impeachment was there was no high crime or misdemeanor. Lying about sex does not disrupt the constitutional order. It does not threaten the national security,” she said.
“We’re not pursuing President Trump’s lying about sex. His former lawyer is in prison because he lied about the president’s affairs…if we were pursuing President Trump for his coverup of his affairs, that would be improper and we’re not doing that,” she added.
Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty of breaking campaign finance laws by facilitating payments to two women who accused Trump of having extramarital affairs with them.