President Trump
Bloomberg
President Trump
Now playing
01:11
Donald Trump says whistleblower source is 'almost a spy'
ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 6:  Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale concedes the election to his Republican opponent Norm Coleman November 6, 2002 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mondale and Coleman were in a race for U.S. Senate that was too close to call the evening before.  (Photo by Mark Erickson/Getty Images)
Mark Erickson/Getty Images
ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 6: Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale concedes the election to his Republican opponent Norm Coleman November 6, 2002 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mondale and Coleman were in a race for U.S. Senate that was too close to call the evening before. (Photo by Mark Erickson/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:00
Walter Mondale dies at 93
george w bush congress immigration rhetoric cbs intv sot mxp vpx_00000000.png
george w bush congress immigration rhetoric cbs intv sot mxp vpx_00000000.png
Now playing
01:25
Bush calls on Congress to tone down 'harsh rhetoric' on immigration
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Constitutional and Common Sense Steps to Reduce Gun Violence" on March 23, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Many senators spoke both for and against gun control the day after a shooting in Boulder, Colorado where a gunman opened fire at a grocery store, killing ten people. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Constitutional and Common Sense Steps to Reduce Gun Violence" on March 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Many senators spoke both for and against gun control the day after a shooting in Boulder, Colorado where a gunman opened fire at a grocery store, killing ten people. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:18
Berman on Cruz's latest tweet: 'The pot calling the kettle violent'
Now playing
01:57
Chuck Hagel criticizes Trump's statement on Afghanistan
gun laws shootings Comer pamela brown nr vpx _00015627.png
CNN
gun laws shootings Comer pamela brown nr vpx _00015627.png
Now playing
02:23
'I can't answer that': Kentucky lawmaker responds to CNN on gun policy
Now playing
02:39
National security adviser: Russia will face consequences if Navalny dies in prison
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on February 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted 230 to 199 on Friday evening to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from committee assignments over her remarks about QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on February 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted 230 to 199 on Friday evening to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from committee assignments over her remarks about QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
Now playing
03:20
Marjorie Taylor Greene lashes out at media after backlash over controversial caucus
AP
Now playing
03:16
Maxine Waters: Jim Jordan is a bully and I shut him down
US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, leaves her office on Capitol Hill on February 4, 2021 in Washington, DC.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, leaves her office on Capitol Hill on February 4, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
03:51
Marjorie Taylor Greene launching 'America First' caucus
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia at the White House in Washington, DC on April 15, 2021. - The United States announced sanctions and the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats Thursday in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyberattack and other hostile activity.
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia at the White House in Washington, DC on April 15, 2021. - The United States announced sanctions and the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats Thursday in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyberattack and other hostile activity.
Now playing
02:22
White House backtracks on refugees decision after criticism
Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images
Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
02:44
'National embarrassment': Biden reacts to mass shootings
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 15:  Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to talks to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in the Kremlin on April 15, 2013 in in Moscow, Russia. Karimov is on a state visit to Russia. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 15: Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to talks to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in the Kremlin on April 15, 2013 in in Moscow, Russia. Karimov is on a state visit to Russia. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:07
Russia to expel 10 US diplomats in 'tit-for-tat response' to Biden sanctions
Now playing
03:10
Avlon: Here's what we know 100 days since the Capitol riot
A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow on October 22, 2018. - US national security advisor John Bolton is in Moscow holding meetings with senior Russian officials following Washington's weekend announcement of withdrawal from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images
A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow on October 22, 2018. - US national security advisor John Bolton is in Moscow holding meetings with senior Russian officials following Washington's weekend announcement of withdrawal from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:17
Political scientist: US-Russia relations are in the toilet
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 13: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) speaks during a news conference on immigration to condemn the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, outside the US Capitol on June 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images)
Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 13: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) speaks during a news conference on immigration to condemn the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, outside the US Capitol on June 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:39
Governor settles with former campaign staffer who accused her of sexual mistreatment

Editor’s Note: Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 and served as a counselor to Clinton in the White House. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. View more opinion articles on CNN.

(CNN) —  

Okay, children, pull up a chair. Uncle Paul is going to teach you how to win an impeachment fight.

I did not go into government service to become an expert on impeachment, but as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reminded us, there are moments in history when the times find us. And in 1998 the times found me.

A quick recap, for those who weren’t yet born: Bill Clinton invested in a land deal in Arkansas. He lost money. Republicans being Republicans, they thought this was scandalous, so they investigated. And investigated. For years. The whole thing eventually ran out of gas. But then a woman secretly taped her friend talking about an affair she was having with the President. Gave it to the special prosecutor, who salivated all over it, because, obviously, extramarital sex has a lot to do with a failed land deal.

The press got wind of it, Clinton lied about it, and the Republicans filed articles of impeachment because, let’s face it, Republicans cannot countenance infidelity, and they really hate lying — even about an affair. The story has a happy ending. Clinton confessed, apologized tearfully, and got back to work. When he left office two years later, he had the highest job approval of any departing president.

Times are different now, and so is the Trump impeachment inquiry. But the strategy we in the White House employed to rescue Clinton might also work for President Donald Trump. I offer it because: 1) It is useful to recall how a well-run White House dealt with a crisis; 2) The Trumpsters are probably too stupid, egotistical and gutless to actually take my advice. So here goes.

Shut up. That’s the first thing. Shut the heck up. I mean it. Especially you, Donald. Didn’t Roy Cohn ever teach you to keep your big mouth shut? The more Trump talks, the more he confesses, covers up, opens new areas of inquiry, or pulls the rug out from under his previous defense. Remember when the Trump defense on firing FBI Director James Comey was that Trump fired him because he was unfair to Hillary? Then Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt, “In fact when I decided to do just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story’.”

This applies especially to Twitter. I know, I know. Even a four-star Marine general could not get Trump to turn loose of his Twitter machine. But the impeachment team has leverage now. No one should agree to work for Trump on impeachment unless he surrenders control of his Twitter account, period. Don’t close the account. Instead, turn it over to someone a little less personally invested, a little less prone to outbursts, a little less, shall we say, loopy and self-destructive.

Lawyer up. And, no, I don’t mean the clowns we see on TV pumping out conspiracy theories like they were balloon animals. Get some serious lawyers in there. Mr. President. By the way, that goes double for the White House staff, plus anyone at State, CIA, Defense and any other agency that could be dragged into this. Trump will throw you under the bus. If you don’t believe me, ask his former fixer, Michael Cohen. You can find him at the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution.

Give it up. It’s all going to come out, one way or another. Coverups never work. Bill Clinton and his team ultimately complied with every subpoena, no matter how personal or crackpot. Heck, he even gave blood. Cooperating shows you have nothing to hide; covering up proves you do.

Focus on the American people’s problems, not yours. This is the most important thing. Every day during the scandal, Clinton told the country he was getting up every morning and working on their problems. And he was. Even with a GOP House that was impeaching him, and a GOP Senate, he passed legislation to double Head Start. He passed his GEAR UP program for at-risk middle schoolers unanimously. Unanimously. He touted child care and job training initiatives. He brokered peace in Northern Ireland in the Good Friday Accords, and between Israelis and Palestinians at Wye River. He signed the Kyoto Climate Accord. Oh, and he balanced the budget and generated a surplus.

That’s why the American people hung in there with him. That’s why his job approval skyrocketed to 73% when the House impeached him — while Trump, whose economy is strong, sits at a wimpy 43% in the latest average from FiveThirtyEight.

Americans rallied to Clinton not because they liked the idea of his having an affair with an intern, and not because they appreciated being lied to about it. But because at the end of the day they knew that, while Clinton had violated his marital vows, he upheld his oath of office. They knew he was fighting for them every day.

Trump has no positive, forward-looking agenda. We are almost three years into Infrastructure Week and Trump’s still spinning his wheels. Mass shootings proliferate, yet there’s no plan of action on gun safety. Know why? Because Donald Trump is a narcissist and his only agenda is himself: his greed, his grievances, his gripes.

So, you see, children, it is possible to write an impeachment story with a happy ending for the White House. Just not this one.