Trump Is 'Involved in a Big Cover-Up,' Watergate Congresswoman Says: 'He Knows He's in Big Trouble'

A former Democratic congresswoman who was on the House Judiciary Committee when it adopted articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal accused President Donald Trump of being "involved in a big cover-up."

It was Nixon's role in the cover-up of Watergate that sank his presidency, and he resigned from the White House before he could be impeached when it became clear he had lost the support of too many Republicans.

Elizabeth Holtzman, who represented New York in Congress for four terms, including during the Watergate scandal, told MSNBC that she had to study the constitution's provisions for impeachment when considering the case against Nixon.

"Why did the framers put it in? They didn't know there was going to be a Donald Trump or a Richard Nixon, but they knew some time there'd be a president who would abuse the power of the office, put himself above the law, and threaten our democracy," Holtzman said. "And we've seen that here and we've got to do something about it."

She accused Trump of having "no shame," but said he "knows he's done something wrong because he's been engaged in this huge cover-up. He's tried to keep people from going to the Congress and telling what happened."

The White House has refused to comply with the impeachment inquiry, which the president dubs a "hoax," and would not honor congressional subpoenas related to it. Moreover, the White House urged others hit with subpoenas to do the same.

Trump is facing impeachment for allegedly trying to coerce Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election by opening dubious corruption investigations that would damage his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.

The president is accused of withholding military aid and offering a White House visit for Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to secure the investigations. But Trump denies any wrongdoing and claims his concern about corruption was legitimate.

"He knows he did something wrong. He knows he's in big trouble," Holtzman told MSNBC. "And I think that has to be part of the articles of impeachment... When the intelligence committee issued the subpoenas they said if you don't show up, we're going to use it, draw adverse inferences. And that's what they need to do. The president is involved in a big cover-up here."

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, announced that the inquiry would press ahead and adopt articles of impeachment against Trump.

"Our democracy is what is at stake," Pelosi said in a statement. "The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections."

Donald Trump impeachment Ukraine Nixon Watergate
First lady Melania Trump and U.S. President Donald Trump attend the 97th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in President's Park on December 05, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is facing impeachment over his alleged Ukraine misconduct. Paul Morigi/Getty Images