CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley predicted Friday morning that GOP support for President Trump would collapse as the House's impeachment inquiry continues, noting: "the game hasn’t even gotten fast yet," and warning Trump that once "he’s wearing the ‘I’ on his chest, you’re going to see that movement grow even more."
"He doesn’t have a lot of friends. He’s a base politician. He doesn’t know how to turn this around," Brinkley also said.
CNN, JOHN ALON: So, CNN's most recent polling, Donald Trump, 50 percent desire to impeach and remove. That's steady from October before the latest hearings began, but significantly risen since March.
Now, you go back to Richard Nixon, he was below 50 percent until the final poll in August of '74.
Bill Clinton, the opposite. Never gets above 35 percent. His approval rating hits 73 percent when the House votes to impeach him. It's extraordinary.
So where does that give you a sense on the differences between Donald Trump's current political predicament and what happened to Nixon and Clinton?
CNN, DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: It is a great question. It just tells you what deep trouble Donald Trump's in. I mean when you have 50 percent of the country wanting you -- not -- and not just impeached but removed from office, and the game hasn't even gotten fast yet. I think once the votes take in by Congress to impeach him and he's wearing the "i" on his chest, you're going to see that movement grow even more.
It tells you he doesn't have a lot of friends. He's a base politician. He doesn't know how to turn this around. And I think the charges of corruption are just deep and real.
Bill Clinton's sexual escapades always seemed a tad bit frivolous. And the Starr report seemed overdone with sexual detail. Clinton kind of became a hero of his own impeachment. But there wasn't an election cycle coming in 1999 when the Senate took their vote. Donald Trump's heading right into a 2020 election and the Democrats are going to pound Trump on being a kind of fake president, somebody who's subpar in his behavior and has been running the most corrupt administration since Warren Harding.
AVLON: But, you know, one of the things we can take clearly, because every president and situation is different, as you just pointed out with Bill Clinton. 1976, 2000, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush didn't explicitly campaign on impeachment. But in both cases the party, the opposition party, won the presidency. What does that tell you about the right way to campaign, even in an unprecedented situation where you could have a president impeached and running for re-election?
BRINKLEY: You know, that's an interesting question. And I think the Democrats might want to look at the way Jimmy Carter pulled off victory in 1976. He took the high road. He ran on saying, I will never tell a lie to you. He didn't have to say Nixon's lies or Lyndon Johnson's lies, just that I am clean, good governance coming your way if you vote for me.
I see Pete Buttigieg trying to wave in that kind of way. But it's hard to do when you're campaigning for president and every reporter's asking you, what do you think about the impeachment hearing of the day, you know? And the hatred of Donald Trump in the Democratic Party is even deeper than Democratic disdain for Richard Nixon during the dark days of Watergate.