Presidential historian explains why Lev Parnas’ Ukraine allegations will be ‘the real test’ for Senate Republicans
This week, Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas gave two bombshell cable news interviews — one with Rachel Maddow for MSNBC, one with Anderson Cooper for CNN. And in both interviews, Parnas laid out a compelling case for removing President Donald Trump from office via his impeachment trial. Presidential historian Jon Meacham, appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday morning, agreed that Maddow’s interview with Parnas was quite damning of Trump — and he stressed that how Senate Republicans respond to Parnas’ assertions will speak volumes about their integrity, or lack thereof.
Parnas, speaking to Maddow, made it clear that Trump and his supporters demanded an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — and in return for that investigation, Ukraine would get military aid.
Making a Watergate/Ukraine scandal comparison, Meacham told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that during the Summer of 1974, more and more Republicans in Congress were turning against President Richard Nixon. That summer, Meacham recalled, many “Republican partisans” — including Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater — were willing to act “in the national interest” rather than sticking by Nixon simply because he was a Republican. But Meacham is extremely skeptical that Parnas’ assertions will sway the Senate Republicans of 2020.
“If you’re a United States senator,” Meacham told Scarborough and Brzezinski, “here’s the real test of whether you want to be on the side of reason versus partisanship.”
Meacham went on to say that how Senate Republicans vote in Trump’s impeachment trial will determine how history judges them. The 50-year-old presidential historian asserted, “What do you want us to think when we look at your portrait?..... Do you want to be a machine hack who gets reelected?”
Scarborough (a Never Trump conservative and former GOP congressman) agreed with Meacham’s assertions, citing the late Republican Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee as a “man of virtue” who, in 1974, was willing to put country above party rather than reflexively sticking by Nixon.