David Gergen, a contributor to CNN and former adviser to four separate presidential administrations, recently penned an op-ed on that news agency’s website in which he described the stark differences between President Donald Trump and the way other modern presidents have behaved in the modern era during their impeachment proceedings.
Of deep importance, Gergen noted in his analysis, both Nixon and Clinton, while resistant to released documents right away, eventually cooperated with their respective investigations against them.
“[Nixon] did yield to public pressure and let key witnesses testify. And he eventually turned over the infamous Watergate tapes when ordered by the Supreme Court,” Gergen wrote in his op-ed piece over the weekend. “Clinton, on the other hand, agreed to testify after establishing predetermined conditions.”
Trump, meanwhile, “has not turned over a single document to Congress and the White House has blocked key witnesses from testifying.”
"This President is so embittered that he will come out and spend the rest of his time in office getting even. That's what troubles us. What kind of President will he be?" – Former presidential adviser David Gergen on President Trump's reaction to impeachment pic.twitter.com/0eGPb77J9H
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) December 19, 2019
Gergen isn’t naive — he’s well-aware that Trump is likely to be spared from removal by the Senate during their impending impeachment trial, due to strong, “steadfast support among Senate Republicans.”
If and when that happens, “we can only brace ourselves once that happens,” Gergen said.
Both Nixon and Clinton expressed remorse for their actions having caused harm or difficulties for the nation. Gergen doesn’t expect Trump to do the same.
“No, this is a President who is likely to lash out, seek revenge, and continue abusing the powers of his office,” Gergen said. “And if he is acquitted — and if his behavior thus far is any indication — Trump is bound to feel vindicated and strengthened by the support of his followers.”
As a result, “Trump may emerge from the impeachment trial embittered and emboldened,” Gergen added. “If so, we are probably in for a heap of trouble, regardless of who wins the 2020 elections.”
Gergen’s assessment matches what former Trump Organization executive vice president Barbara Res told Rachel Maddow on MSNBC last week. After Trump was impeached by the House, Res described to Maddow how he liked to place blame on others — and act out against those he perceived had done him wrong.
“He will, once he gets through this, and he probably will, he will exact revenge on a lot of people. A lot of people,” Res said.