It is now likely that President Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives on the grounds that he has abused his power. But history teaches that there are three kinds of corruption in national politics: money, power, and sex. Amazingly, in less than one term, Trump has racked up ample material for impeachment on all three.
Money is at the root of the standard political scandal. Using high office to line his own pockets is what brought down Vice President Spiro Agnew, who took kickbacks as governor of Maryland on government contracts.
And the two great presidential scandals before Watergate involved money. The Crédit Mobilier matter rocked the Ulysses Grant administration in the 1870s, when government officials accepted bribes in return for providing land grants to railroad barons. And Warren Harding’s Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s involved Cabinet members who made a fortune using their authority to enrich oil magnates and others. Unlike Agnew, neither Presidents Grant nor Harding profited in these sordid affairs, but their ineptitude allowed the wrongdoing.