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Kissinger and Trump, two men who know a thing or two about impeachment. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Historical analyses of President Trump's impeachment will note that it coincided with a tumultuous four months in U.S. foreign policy.

Between the lines: It’s impossible to evaluate exactly if and how impeachment affected Trump's calculus along the way — but it certainly affected his predecessors.

  • Trump sparked a conflagration in Syria by pulling troops away from the Turkish border, ordered the elimination of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, took out Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani at the risk of war with Iran, and made trade peace with China, at least temporarily.
  • He also finalized a deal to replace NAFTA and presented a plan for Middle East peace.

Richard Nixon withdrew almost entirely from foreign policy as impeachment closed in, historian Timothy Naftali writes in Foreign Affairs, delegating arms control negotiations and “shuttle diplomacy” in the Middle East almost entirely to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

  • Nixon slept through a meeting called urgently by Kissinger in response to a possible Soviet intervention in Egypt. After the “smoking gun” tape, bad news from Vietnam was brought to Kissinger’s desk, not Nixon’s.
  • Powers like China and the USSR didn’t test Nixon, Naftali writes, in part because they genuinely hoped he’d survive.
  • The challenges came instead from "revisionist powers" like Turkey, and from domestic opponents of his detente policy.
  • Nixon, meanwhile, pushed Kissinger to deliver a win that would allow for an overseas victory lap.

Bill Clinton also wanted a win during impeachment — in particular, a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians — but he leaned into his role as commander in chief rather than pulling back.

  • Bruce Riedel, now at Brookings, was advising Clinton on various foreign policy crises at the time. He refutes claims that impeachment factored into Clinton's decision to bomb Iraq, but notes that “impeachment was a constant presence.”
  • “I would be briefing the president on the diplomatic and military situation while his lawyers waited outside the Oval Office to discuss the House proceedings. We were frequently jostling for the president’s attention and time,” he writes.
  • The juggling act included Clinton authorizing strikes he hoped would take out Osama bin Laden the same week he admitted to having an affair with Monica Lewinsky.
  • Clinton was worried both about foreign speculation that he was weakened and domestic claims he was overcompensating to show he wasn’t, Naftali notes. Dennis Ross, Clinton’s Middle East envoy, later said he felt pressure to deliver a peace deal quickly as Clinton's presidency seemed in the balance.

The big picture: Past impeachment sagas have raised questions about the collision of foreign policy and domestic politics. Trump has never really drawn a distinction between the two.

Flashback: Impeachment got underway as Trump was in New York for the UN General Assembly. He met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and revealed a partial transcript of the call that launched the scandal.

  • It could end as soon as tomorrow. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be in Kiev, assuring Zelensky that — despite the political chaos and his own dismissive comments — Trump stands by Ukraine.

Go deeper: The daily highlights from Trump's Senate impeachment trial

Go deeper

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2 Americans wanted over Ghosn's escape handed to Japanese authorities

Former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn during a news conference in Jounieh, Lebanon, last September. Photo: Hasan Shaaban/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Two Americans accused of helping former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn flee Japan in a box in 2019 were handed over to Japanese custody Monday, their lawyer said.

Why it matters: The extradition of Michael Taylor, 60, a private security specialist and former Green Beret, and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 27, ends a months-long fight to remain in the U.S.

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after 3rd woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.