On Monday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," former Whitewater senior counsel Paul Rosenzweig and anchor Erin Burnett discussed how Alexander Hamilton warned about leaders like Trump in his writings — and the president's stunning declaration of the impeachment probe as "crap" and "illegitimate."
"Historian Ron Chernow, whose biography on Hamilton is the biography, the one used for the Broadway musical, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post," said Burnett. "He says Hamilton, who was a defender of executive power, would have supported impeaching Donald Trump. He cites one of his Federalist Papers, where Hamilton writes, in part, 'When a man unprincipled in his private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper ... when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity to take every opportunity of embarrassing the general government and bringing it under suspicion, it may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.' Hamilton warning such a leader will become a demagogue and a tyrant ... Does it sound like Hamilton, even so long ago, could have been warning about a person like President Trump, Paul?"
"Well, what he's warning about is an authoritarian populist who destroys American institutions as a way of maintaining power and cowing his political opposition," said Rosenzweig. "He was experienced with that in his times, people who had ambition and avarice, and I think that it's very much a lesson that should be translated into what's happening today."
"I can't imagine how anyone could think that a process that is explicitly provided for as a check against abuse of authority was, itself, an illegitimate act of Congress," added Rosenzweig. "It boggles the mind."