Former GOP Senator Who Called For Nixon's Resignation Says Trump Should Be Impeached

A former longtime GOP senator said members of his party are betraying the country and the Constitution by refusing to confront the fact that President Donald Trump should be impeached for "shaking down" Ukraine.

Slade Gorton, who represented Washington state from 1981 through 1987 and 1989 through 2001, described reluctantly breaking with the Republican Party and the president in March 1974, when he called for Richard Nixon's resignation amid the Watergate scandal. Gorton quoted John Adams' famous "Facts are stubborn things" maxim in comparing the two impeachment processes, and he warned today's GOP against writing off the Ukraine investigation as a "partisan witch hunt."

The ex-senator penned an op-ed in Monday's New York Times, titled "My Fellow Republicans, Please Follow the Facts," that urges Republicans to put the truth over their party.

Gorton challenged Republicans in both the House and the Senate to "wrestle with the facts at hand" instead of hiding behind "deep state" conspiracy theories. He expressed his shame at Republican congressmen like Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan as they "try to find some reason to denounce every witness who steps forward, from decorated veterans to Trump megadonors."

According to the former senator, now 91, the Ukraine scandal involving Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and several administration officials is a clear-cut case that demands impeachment.

"It seems clear that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine was subjected to a shakedown—pressured to become a foreign participant in President Trump's re-election campaign, a violation of the law," Gorton wrote. He later cites Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Papers, which express the Founding Father's fear that a president could one day betray the interests of the country for his personal benefit.

slade gorton nyt impeach trump
Former GOP Senator Slade Gorton says Republicans in both the House and the Senate need to "wrestle with the facts at hand" instead of hiding behind "deep state" conspiracy theories when considering an impeachment of President Donald Trump. Matthew Cavanaugh/ Stringer/Getty Images

Hamilton, Gorton wrote, warned that "an avaricious man might be tempted to betray the interests of the state to the acquisition of wealth" and that a president might "make his own aggrandizement, by the aid of a foreign power, the price of his treachery to his constituents."

Gorton repeatedly stressed it was not pleasant to part ways with the Republican Party or the president in the 1970s, on both a political level—Nixon easily won Washington state—and on a personal one, given that the move tested his loyalty to his conservative colleagues. But Gorton reiterated that the purpose of impeachment is, at the very least, to view the facts and not to hide from them.

"Several credible witnesses have testified to the existence of a quid pro quo, including William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine; Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the White House's top Ukraine expert; and [EU ambassador] Gordon Sondland," Gorton wrote. "Are they to be believed? Here's my bottom line: That's what an impeachment inquiry and a Senate trial are designed to find out. That's why there's a process under the Constitution."

Several former Republican members of Congress have denounced Trump and called for a return to conservative values or normalcy. Ex-Representative David Jolly of Florida recently appeared on MSNBC's Deadline: White House to declare that today's Republicans are lacking in "human integrity" and are "without virtue."