Johnston made the remarks on Sirius XM’s The Dean Obeidallah Show.
Speaking with Obeidallah, the journalist drew parallels between Trump and former President Richard Nixon, warning that there is significant difference between the two men.
Unlike Trump, according to Johnston, Nixon “was a patriot,” and in the end realized that him staying in the public eye would not be good for the United States.
Nixon did not put the country through an impeachment trial, resigning from office before the House even had a chance to vote to impeach him, the journalist pointed out.
“Nixon realized that the game was up, there was no point in putting the country through this…he knew it was not good for the country, that’s why I say Richard Nixon at the end of the day was a patriot,” he said.
Trump has not signaled willingness to do the same, which means that the country is now facing “a different problem,” according to Johnston.
The journalist argued that even if the House of Representatives impeaches Trump, and even if the GOP-controlled Senate decides to convict him, the problem will not go away.
“Even if Trump is convicted and removed and we get briefly Mike Pence as President, that’s not enough,” he said, explaining that he believes Trump would — even if convicted by the Senate — spend his time touring the United States, holding rallies, sowing division, and calling for violence.
“Trump will spend the rest of his life traveling the country fomenting violence. He’s already fomenting violence.”
The only solution, the author suggested, is to prosecute and imprison the president.
“So it’s I think it’s vital…he needs to be prosecuted for the many, many, many crimes he has committed and put in jail,” he said.
Tonight Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist @DavidCayJ is on my @SXMProgress show to talk why Trump is really changing his legal address from New York to Florida. LIVE 7:05PMET on @SIRIUSXM channel 127 pic.twitter.com/XLR1zClP1G— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) November 1, 2019
Nothing indicates that the GOP-controlled Senate would be willing to convict Trump, however. The vast majority of Republican lawmakers has remained loyal to the president, alleging that the Democratic Party wants to move forward with impeachment in order to undo the 2016 presidential election.
Senate Republicans are fighting for the president, and helping him defend against the impeachment inquiry. They are reportedly not happy with Trump’s strategy, however, and believe that the White House should admit to a quid pro quo agreement with Ukraine, while insisting that the president’s actions do not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
A number of Trump allies have suggested that impeachment could lead to a civil war, and the president has amplified similar claims.
In a recent interview, Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, warned against such rhetoric, urging all Americans to push back on it.