Former congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman voted to impeach President Nixon. She also has a key lesson about the probe into Trump and Russia.
“We saw in regard to Nixon, we had a president engaging in criminal conduct. Covering up a crime, breaking into Democratic National Committee headquarters,” she said. “But he also engaged in abuses of power that had nothing to do with Watergate or the cover-up. So we had a president who put himself above the law. It was very important to get a marker and to show that our democracy could work.”
Holtzman says that bipartisan effort to punish the president for operating above the law can be made and that officials need to be courageous enough to give that lesson when it is necessary. She also co-wrote the 1978 law detailing when a special prosecutor should be named to look into serious charges against a president. However, in the aftermath of Ken Starr’s investigation into Bill Clinton, Congress let the statue expire rather than try to repair it.
“Today we’re confronted with a situation where the president keeps threatening to fire the special prosecutor. That’s not a good situation,” she said. “[The 2016 election] needs to be investigated properly. But how can it be investigated properly when you have a president constantly threatening to have that investigation shut down and attacking that investigation and trying to undermine that investigation?”