Representative Swalwell talks impeachment



An estimated 400 East Bay residents attended a townhall meeting Tuesday evening with U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell and John Dean, former President Richard Nixon’s attorney, to discuss the impeachment of Donald Trump and relevant precedents set by former administrations.
“This president is going to make Richard Nixon look like a choir boy,” Dean said.
The gathering took place on the indoor basketball court at James Logan High School in Union City, where much of the opening discussion was inaudible due to problems with the sound system and frequent interruptions by a marching band practicing on the football field just outside.
Some of the broadcast news outlets covering the townhall were unable to use the audio they recorded.
During the question and answer session that followed, however, concerned Californians asked the two men what to do next. One person asked about the possibility that impeachment proceedings against the president could fail due to lack of support in the U.S. Senate.
“Doing nothing will make his behavior worse,” Swalwell said, to applause from the audience.
“I also think about future presidencies,” he added. “If we do nothing, we will lower the standard of conduct.”
Swalwell added that he may also be willing to support impeachment proceedings against Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, although doing so would be a secondary priority, after impeaching Trump.
“Right now we have to focus on the impeachment of the president,” Swalwell said. “If you deal with the principle you may find that the issues around the deputies and their misconduct will also be dropped.”
If Trump is eventually impeached, one woman asked about the odds he actually ends up seeing jail time.
“There seems to be a provision that we don’t want to see our former presidents prosecuted,” Dean said, adding that this particular president has been so good at breaking long-standing political norms that norm may also go by the wayside.
“I’d say it’s about 70-30 right now in terms of him being indicted,” Dean said.
The event began at 6:30 p.m. It ended at 8 p.m. on a question from a Danvy Le, a professor at California State University East Bay, who wanted to know what she could tell young people who are likely to end up frustrated if the impeachment process fails.
“Because of the way the process is not working in many regards…they just have to double and triple down on not only getting themselves to the polls, but getting (out) others who might have difficulty getting to the polls,” Dean said.
“I loved the response that they just need to double down, triple down,” Le said, when asked about Dean’s response after the meeting.
“The thing about the young generation is that they have so much energy and they don’t know how to channel it, and it’s our job as instructors to help them,” Le said.