Jack Brooks, Democrat of Beaumont, Texas, served in the United States House of Representatives for 42 years. His tenure in Congress spanned the terms of 10 presidents. His early career in Washington was shepherded by Texas legend and longtime Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. He was in John F. Kennedy’s motorcade when the president was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, and hours later, Brooks stood behind his close friend Lyndon Johnson when the 36th president took the oath of office on Air Force One.
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Brooks was also the author of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon.
Because Nixon resigned before the the full House could vote on impeachment, the impeachment articles themselves have been relegated to a footnote in Watergate history. But the articles, and their author, played a key role in the downfall of the president—one worth understanding at a time when impeachment is once again on the lips of Congress.
Brooks’ toughness in going after Nixon, his experience with impeachment and his focus—insisting on including in the articles only the most specific, provable offenses that were known at the time—are all qualities that changed the course of Watergate. [Continue reading…]