Dow Futures Slide as Trump’s ‘Watergate’ Moment Looms Large

U.S. President Donald Trump faces one of his biggest challenges yet with a formal impeachment inquiry against him. | Source: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures ticked lower in early trading Wednesday, pointing to a weak stock market open as the threat of Donald Trump’s impeachment ramps up.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi launched an official impeachment enquiry on Tuesday, prompting those involved in Nixon’s Watergate investigation to draw eerie parallels to the past.

Former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste told MSNBC reporters:

“Yes, there are many analogies to Watergate and the behaviors of Richard Nixon.”

Dow futures slip 80 points

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures crumbled 80 points lower on Wednesday, despite a short-lived overnight bout of strength.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) shed 80 points on Wednesday as Trump’s Watergate moment approaches. Source: Yahoo Finance

S&P 500 futures mirrored the fall while Nasdaq Composite futures tumbled 0.57% lower.

Is this Trump’s Watergate moment?

As reported, Trump will face an official impeachment inquiry over allegations he coerced the Ukraine government into investigating rival Joe Biden’s son. Reports that the president withheld $400 million of aid poured fuel on the fire.

Speaking about the allegations, infamous Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said:

“I keep getting asked, ‘Are there echoes of Watergate in this?’ And there are in the following ways. Watergate was very much an attempt by Richard Nixon to undermine the democratic electoral process in the United States… And something in the same thing seems to be happening here, where Biden, who Trump and his people said they fear the most in terms of being an opponent, has been an object of these perhaps dirty tricks and abuses of power.”

Watergate prosecutor Ben-Veniste went further, explaining that Trump’s potential impeachment isn’t just about the Ukraine scandal, but his broader actions during his tenure as president. 

“I think this is all cumulative to the idea that the president has espoused of soliciting help from foreign governments in connection with his own personal political needs. And to do this is a departure from the normative behavior of a president of the United States and it’s very dangerous.”

Dow and stock markets rattled

The Dow took an immediate hit on the news and struggled for traction in after-hours trading. Traders are worried that an impeachment inquiry could dampen the chances of a trade deal with China. 

“It certainly could hurt the economy if it pushes out China’s willingness to negotiate on hopes that they’ll get a softer deal from someone else” Stephen Guilfoyle, Sarge986 LLC.

While the inquiry may act as a distraction, the real chances of impeachment are low. Even if the proposal passes the House, impeachment requires a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate.

For this reason, no president has ever been removed from office by impeachment. Clinton survived the Senate vote and Nixon resigned before it got that far. 

Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:03 PM

Ben Brown: Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @