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House leans on Rep. Zoe Lofgren's experience from Nixon, Clinton impeachments

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., (L) and Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, walk into the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Lofgren, a House manager in the trial, has worked in some capacity on all three modern impeachments. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., (L) and Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, walk into the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Lofgren, a House manager in the trial, has worked in some capacity on all three modern impeachments. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Rep. Zoe Lofgren's fellow House impeachment managers are relying on the unique background she's brought to the trial as the only member of Congress to have worked on all three modern impeachments.

Lofgren, who represents Central California's 19th District, was a staffer for former Rep. Don Edwards, D-Calif., during the 1974 impeachment of former President Richard Nixon. In 1998, she was a member of the House judiciary committee during former President Bill Clinton's impeachment.

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Last week, she became the first female House manager to deliver arguments in an impeachment trial, this time for President Donald Trump.

"Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren brings incredible institutional history and knowledge to our group of House impeachment managers," Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, told CNN. "I will certainly be leaning on her wisdom and expertise as we make the case to the American people."

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Joining Lofgren and Garcia on the team of House managers are intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff, judiciary committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, and Reps. Jason Crow, Val Demings and Hakeem Jeffries.

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Trump is charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his dealings with Ukraine last year. The charges say the president used Congress-approved military aid and a potential White House visit as leverage to pressure Kiev into announcing investigations of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, a former board member for Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

The second article says Trump interfered with the House impeachment investigation by refusing to cooperate and defying subpoenas to keep administration officials from testifying in the inquiry.

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Before she was even named to the House managers team, Lofgren wrote an op-ed in Newsweek describing her experience as the only member of Congress to work on all three impeachments.

"This is not something I planned on," she wrote Dec. 13. "It's not something I'm happy about."

During her time working on Edwards' staff, she was assigned to write one of the articles of impeachment against Nixon that didn't pass out of committee.

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"I had the profound opportunity to have a bird's-eye view of the proceedings," Lofgren wrote.

She said that like Nixon, Trump abused his power when he attempted to influence the 2020 presidential election. But unlike the former, Trump "used a foreign power to do it."

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During Clinton's impeachment, Lofgren was a member of the judiciary committee. She said she didn't believe Clinton abused the power of the presidency when he lied about his affair, but instead abused the trust of his wife.

Republicans voted to impeach Clinton despite what Lofgren described as her warning that it would "damage the American people's faith in our democracy."

"Unfortunately, they didn't listen, and that, in part, helped create the atmosphere for the antics, untruths and an emboldened president wielding unchecked power that subverts the Constitution we're seeing today," she wrote.

"It's important to remember: Impeachment is not about punishing the president; it is about protecting the American people from constitutional violations so extreme they threaten the country's future."

This time around, Lofgren said she encouraged younger Democrats in the House to "familiarize themselves" with a 1974 report on the origins of the process of impeachment and what the Constitution means where it describes high crimes and misdemeanors.

"It's not just whatever you think," she said in an interview in December. "We are the product of our history and we should be creatures of our law -- the most important of which is the Constitution."

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