Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton shares a smile with friends following a joint funeral Mass for former Gov. John Spellman and his wife, Lois Spellman, at St. James Cathedral Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, in Seattle. John Spellman, the last Republican to serve as Washington's chief executive, died last month at the age of 91. Lois Spellman, his wife of 63 years, died days later.
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Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton shares a smile with friends following a joint funeral Mass for former Gov. John Spellman and his wife, Lois Spellman, at St. James Cathedral Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, in Seattle. John Spellman, the last Republican to serve as Washington's chief executive, died last month at the age of 91. Lois Spellman, his wife of 63 years, died days later.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

This Republican told Nixon to resign. Here's what he says about impeaching Trump

Former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton is urging fellow Republicans to follow the facts on impeachment.

Back in 1974, Gorton was Washington state's attorney general when he called on President Richard Nixon to resign. He was the most prominent Republican in the country to support impeachment.

Gorton told KUOW reporter David Hyde that it wasn't hard for him to follow the facts back then:

Slade Gorton: That's the way a lawyer ought to think. You know, you start, what is the situation? What actually happened? What are the relevant facts in the Nixon case? As I say, here are the facts that everyone agrees to recount. Debate those facts. What is the proper conclusion from those facts?

David Hyde: And then you later became U.S. senator from Washington state for many, many years. What's your advice for Republican U.S. senators and elected members of Congress today on this same question of impeachment?

Gorton: Follow the facts. Look at what exactly happened. You can make your own interpretation of it...

For me, the key one was the president of the United States dealing with the president of the Ukraine, who was in desperate shape. The Ukraine is a struggling new republic under a great deal of pressure from Russia. That wasn't the conversation between equals. In my view, it was a shakedown.

Hyde: Just how different is this moment from 1974 when it comes to how public officials see themselves on these basic values and principles that you had when you were attorney general, when it came to following the facts?

Gorton: It was easier to appeal across these partisan lines, which have grown so steep in the course of the last several years, that one party automatically takes its position opposite the other.

In 1974, we were, unfortunately, probably beginning to move in that direction. But there was much more common knowledge, common ways of reaching conclusions than there is today.

Hyde: How do we recapture that?

Gorton: One issue at a time, almost one person or one group at a time, probably easier to reach across lines at this local level, a little less so at the state level. Very, very difficult in Washington, D.C. But we built this wall around ourselves brick by brick. We're going to have to take it down brick by brick.

Hyde: What do you think about whether the president should be removed from office?

Gorton: I'm still working on that.