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Pelosi: Trump worse than Nixon

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The House Speaker also says the US President is welcome to 'present his case'

WASHINGTON: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is amplifying her unfavourable comparison of President Donald Trump to fellow Republican Richard Nixon, saying that the disgraced president at least cared enough about the country to leave office before his impeachment.

The top Democrat in Congress told reporters last week that Mr Trump's pressure on Ukraine to investigate one of his potential opponents in the 2020 election "makes what Nixon did look almost small".

In a CBS interview broadcast on Sunday, she alluded to Mr Nixon's resignation after the Watergate scandal involving a break-in at Democratic Party headquarters and the subsequent cover-up.

"I mean, what the President did was so much worse than even what Richard Nixon did, that at some point Richard Nixon cared about the country enough to recognise that this could not continue," Mrs Pelosi said on CBS' Face The Nation.

Mr Nixon, whose name has become synonymous with scandal and ignominy for many Americans, resigned in 1974 after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against him but before the full House voted on the issue, and he was not impeached. He is the only US president who has resigned from office.

Mrs Pelosi had for months resisted calls from her more liberal Democratic lawmakers to initiate impeachment proceedings but said Mr Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky compelled her to open the inquiry against Mr Trump.

Since launching the proceedings on Sept 24, Mrs Pelosi has not been in the room as the House Intelligence Committee held public hearings on Mr Trump's impeachment. However, her voice is loud and clear on the outside, where she drives messaging in a nuanced but sharp manner.

Her comparison of Mr Trump to Mr Nixon came amid the trial of a long-time ally of Mr Trump, Roger Stone, a self-proclaimed "dirty trickster" who worked for Mr Nixon's re-election campaign and has Mr Nixon's face tattooed on his back.

Stone was convicted on Friday of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.


Mr Trump and his supporters have attacked the impeachment probe as politically motivated.

Mr Trump says his call with Mr Zelensky was "perfect" while Republican lawmakers criticise the impeachment process as unfair.

"Do you have any evidence at all that the President did anything criminal or illegal? And the answer is no," Republican Representative Chris Stewart said on ABC's This Week.

The President has "every opportunity to present his case", Mrs Pelosi told CBS, including coming before the Intelligence panel.

"If he has information that is exculpatory - that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame - then we look forward to seeing it."

Mr Trump unleashed a daylong flurry of three dozen tweets and retweets on Sunday, most of them critical of the impeachment.

"The Crazed, Do Nothing Democrats are turning Impeachment into a routine partisan weapon" he wrote.

Mrs Pelosi accused Mr Trump of bribery last week in having his aides dangle a White House meeting, then US$400 million (S$545 million) in suspended security assistance, if Mr Zelensky announced an investigation into a Democratic 2020 political rival, former vice-president Joe Biden. - REUTERS