I refer you to the Watergate impeachment proceedings..
Although many privately expressed doubts about Nixon’s innocence and criticized his handling of Watergate, congressional Republicans, with surprisingly few exceptions, publicly proclaimed Nixon’s innocence and opposed either his resignation or impeachment until nearly the end. Many congressional Republicans viewed Watergate as a political attack against Nixon and defended the president out of partisan considerations.
File under "nothing new under the sun." Also bear in mind: we like to think of the Nixon situation as a slam dunk in terms of public opinion, but there was little public enthusiasm for impeachment or removal from office even then:
despite the increasingly negative views of Nixon at that time, most Americans continued to reject the notion that Nixon should leave office, according to Gallup. Just 26% thought he should be impeached and forced to resign, while 61% did not.
-From today's Pew Research article.
Another interesting tidbit from that article:
By April, a resounding 83% of the American public had heard or read about Watergate, as the president accepted the resignations of his top aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman. And in turn, Nixon’s approval ratings fell to 48%.
Compare that to the present, when, as of August 5th- pre-all this shit- Trump's approval rating was 42%.
Now, I'm not Mister Sunshine about this or really anything. But there's a glimmer here. The true turning point in the Watergate proceedings was the recordings. I'm inclined to agree with mk; the transcript is pretty damning in and of itself, but if the White House offered it up this quickly when they offer nothing up without a fight, what else is waiting in the wings in terms of recorded evidence?
The minority leadership in the house has been conspicuously silent on the matter, as has the majority leadership in the Senate. Lindsey Graham being Lindsey Graham does not indicate that the President has the full support of his sucklings on this one. I'm very interested in the silence of Trump's minders-in-chief, and I'm curious to see how they respond after what these days counts as a stunningly long period of silence.
Again. It's way too early to determine the true fallout of this one. And God knows the sides are even more entrenched now than they were during Watergate. But this has got a different smell to it than the Russia investigation, the weight of which I was always skeptical about. There's very little plausible deniability here. We'll see.