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No, Trump in 2019 is not like George Washington in 1794

In his opening statement at Wednesday’s pivotal impeachment hearing, Rep. Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican, defended the nation’s 45th president by invoking the country’s first president. Here’s what the California congressman said:

"The Democrats fake outrage that President Trump used his own channel to communicate with Ukraine. I remind my friends on the other side of the aisle that our first president, George Washington, directed his own diplomatic channels to secure a treaty with Great Britain. If my Democratic colleagues were around in 1794, they’d probably want to impeach him, too.”

Within minutes, “Nunes” and “George Washington” were trending together on Twitter.


So, what happened in 1794? Did President George Washington use “irregular” or secret back channels to negotiate a treaty with Great Britain? Was it comparable to the Ukraine scandal today?

In 1794, Washington was about halfway through his second term as president. Although the Revolutionary War against the British Empire had ended more than a decade earlier, tensions between the two countries festered, threatening to spill over into another war.

First, the British continued to occupy forts in northwest territories that they had agreed to leave at the end of the Revolutionary War. Plus, the British had placed strict trade rules and high tariffs on American goods, while at the same time flooding the U.S. market with British goods.

Most critically, the British navy was engaging in something called “impressment,” which means they were capturing American ships, stealing the supplies and forcing the sailors to join the British navy. At the time, the British were at war with France, a conflict in which the United States was trying to remain neutral. The British justified their actions by saying the neutral vessels were going to help their enemies.

Read entire article at Washington Post