Donald Trump’s ‘Conduct Is More Serious’ Than Richard Nixon’s, Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren Says

Chip SomodevillaGetty Images

A Democrat who was involved in the impeachment proceedings against former President Richard Nixon, who resigned from office amid a likely impeachment, and President Bill Clinton has charged that the accusations against President Donald Trump‘s involving the Ukrainian government are more serious than those of Nixon.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who made the comments Sunday to CNN anchor Dana Bash on State of the Union, explained why she thought President Trump’s actions differed than those of the presidents before him who also faced the threat of impeachment.

“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 told Bash, per a recap from The Hill.

Lofgren evoked the founding fathers and said that in setting up the United States government, they most feared interference from foreign nations. The lawmaker who has served in Congress for 25 years said that Nixon’s actions with the Watergate scandal did not involve foreign interference, but the accusations with President Trump and Ukraine do, making his actions “more serious.”

While Lofgren wasn’t elected to Congress until 1994 – just after former President Clinton took office – she was a staffer on the House Judiciary Committee during the committee’s drafting of articles of impeachment against the 37th president.

As The Hill noted, Lofgren – a Judiciary Committee Member – also compared the proceedings against Trump to those against Clinton, who in 1998 was impeached by the House of Representatives following accusations he lied about his infamous affair with White House staffer Monica Lewinsky. While Clinton was impeached by the House, he was acquitted by a Senate trial and was not removed from office.

Lofgren said that Trump’s actions differ from those of the 42nd president in that it did not “disrupt the constitutional order.” She added that in lying about his affair, the president did not threaten national security, implying that Trump’s actions with Ukraine did threaten U.S. national security.

“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,” the California Democrat said.

Lofgren did not for certain say that the House would create articles of impeachment against the president, saying she hopes there is a “benign explanation” for the president’s actions with Ukraine that would prove that the president did not attempt to negotiate a quid pro quo arrangement with the Eastern European nation. She added that she believed the possibility of that was small, though she insisted she wanted to see the process play out before drawing definite conclusions about the president’s impeachment.