MSNBC's Jon Meacham: Clinton Impeachment Was Partisan, Trump's Is Not

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As impeachment passions continue to heat up in Washington, MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle thought it would be a good idea to bring some historical perspective to the conversation on her Tuesday show. Unfortunately for viewers however, that perspective was brought by historian Jon Meacham who bungled some key points on his way to making a more partisan, than objective historical analysis.

Ruhle asked Meacham to address Republican concerns about the fairness of the process, "Jon, give us a history lesson, Republicans’ number one complaint seems to be that this impeachment inquiry is treating the president unfairly. They're arguing that Bill Clinton was treated much better in 1998, are they right?"

 

 

Meacham bluntly stated that, "No, they're not" before going into the history of the Nixon impeachment inquiry, rather than the Clinton one. When he did finally get to the Clinton impeachment he illustrated media hypocrisy on the issue when he made the laughable claim that, "The Clinton process was ferociously partisan, I personally don't think this one feels that way." Meacham is not just biased, he is objectively wrong. The Clinton impeachment inquiry passed the House 258-176, with 31 Democrats joining Republicans, by contrast Democrats won't even bring such a vote to the floor.

But Meacham wasn't done with his faulty analysis, "But the basic object that somehow or another, this is an unfair process and no legal rights or whatever it was the president said in that outrageous comment, really doesn’t have much standing. Impeachment is not a judicial process. If it were a judicial process, I think there would be a lot more anti-Trump feeling than there is now, it is a political process." 

If impeachment was a legal process rather than a political one, than there would be less "anti-Trump feeling than there is now" because the House would have to meet a higher burden of proof. Furthermore, while Meacham is obviously correct in that assertion it still does not exonerate Democrats of accusations that they are running an impeachment inquiry behind closed doors, out of sight from the public, the media, and even other members of the House or that they are selectively leaking information to build a narrative, rather than releasing whole transcripts.

Here is a transcript of the October 22 show:

MSNBC

MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle

9:11 AM ET

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Jon, give us a history lesson, Republicans’ number one complaint seems to be that this impeachment inquiry is treating the president unfairly. They're arguing that Bill Clinton was treated much better in 1998, are they right? 

JON MEACHAM: No, they're not. Nixon had a slightly more bipartisan experience with impeachment, and that was partly because of the era and partly because a Tennessee Senator Howard Baker who decided that he would follow reason and not passion, he would actually follow the facts as opposed to reflexively deciding that his guy, his president who had won a massive landslide in 1972 40% of Democrats in America voted for Richard Nixon in 1972 and Baker who asked the question of the president, of aides “what did he know and when did he know it” it gave the process a bit more legitimacy. The Clinton process was ferociously partisan, I personally don't think this one feels that way. I know the president wants us to have that conversation. I know he wants to muddy everything up and that is one of the reasons I think Rudy Giuliani is continuing to roll along the countryside, swerving his car to hit people along the way. But the basic object that somehow or another, this is an unfair process and no legal rights or whatever it was the president said in that outrageous comment, really doesn’t have much standing. Impeachment is not a judicial process. If it were a judicial process, I think there would be a lot more anti-Trump feeling than there is now, it is a political process. 

 

 
NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment MSNBC MSNBC Live Video Stephanie Ruhle Jon Meacham Donald Trump Bill Clinton

 

 
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