'Historic tipping point': Law experts compare situation in DC to Nixon Watergate hearings

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Law experts compare situation in DC to Nixon Watergate hearings
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A San Francisco law expert is explaining why if Pres. Trump wants to protect himself from criminal liability, "the safest way to do that is do what Richard Nixon did."

WASHINGTON D.C. (KGO) -- Constitutional law experts are reacting to what we're seeing in Washington D.C. and they're breaking down what could actually happen within the next week with President Donald Trump.

"It looks like we're reaching a kind of historic tipping point, much like in the Watergate hearings when Senator Goldwater turned against President Nixon," says UC Hastings constitutional law professor Joel Paul.

RELATED: House approves resolution calling to remove Trump despite Pence rejecting 25th Amendment push

This comes as a growing number of Republican lawmakers say they now support an impeachment of President Trump.

Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Tuesday, saying he won't invoke the 25th Amendment.

Now, all the talk is on impeachment, a possible self-pardon, and even a possible repeat of what we've seen a former president do in the past.

VIDEO: What would self-pardon mean for President Trump? Law professor says it could get messy

"I certainly imagine his advisors would be telling him, 'if you want to protect yourself from criminal liability the safest way to do that is do what Richard Nixon did.' Which is to resign and then have your vice president, who becomes president, pardon you and that would make the pardon valid and there would be no question about it," says law professor Julie Nice of University of San Francisco.

UC Hastings Professor Joel Paul says Congress might consider a joint resolution inciting insurrection, connecting President Trump to this violence we saw last week, something that could then involve a ban of President Trump from ever holding office again.

Nice says whatever happens will most certainly play out in Congress.

"The House and the Senate have the sole power to impeach and try the impeachment, so they are really the ones who get to decide, and when the Senate and the House are making the rules, that means politics are governing this," says Nice.