Presidential historian Jon Meacham said Monday that he thinks impeachment will be the “season finale” to President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE’s time in office.
Meacham told “Morning Joe” that Trump’s vow to ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the FBI spied on his campaign is similar to former President Nixon’s behavior ahead of firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and that his presidency is likely to end the same way as Nixon’s.
Meacham said that the midterm elections present a likely opportunity for Democrats to impeach Trump.
“I would bet a good bit of money this is going to end up in the House with some kind of impeachment proceeding, and the makeup of that body and ultimately the reaction of the United States Senate, which is supposed to be the great deliberative check and the great final hammer on these things,” he said. “I think … that’s going to be the season finale of this.”
A majority vote in the House is required under the Constitution to impeach a president, which would be much more likely if Democrats retake the majority in this fall's midterm elections. Democratic leaders have been cautious in talking about impeachment, fearing it could become an election issue for Republicans to turn out their base of voters.
In the Senate, a two-thirds majority vote is needed to win a conviction on impeachment — a high bar even if Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate.
Nixon was not impeached, but resigned after being told an impeachment vote in the House was unavoidable and that he would likely be convicted in the Senate.
Former President Clinton was impeached by the House in 1998, but was acquitted by the Senate in early 1999.
Meacham said that Trump’s “obsession” with former President Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMeghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Hill: Trump reelection would spur 'one constitutional crisis after another' Trump defends indicted GOP congressman MORE evokes Nixon.
“Both Nixon and Trump have an ongoing obsession with their former opponents in a way that I think shapes what they do in deleterious ways, to say the least,” Meacham said. “He was always obsessed with what President Kennedy had gotten away with, in his view, and remember, of course, that’s clearly true with President Trump.”
Trump said Sunday that he would ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the FBI under Obama surveilled his campaign, after claiming several times without evidence that there was an FBI informant embedded in his campaign.
The Justice Department asked its inspector general to look into Trump's claims.
“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action," Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE said in a statement.