The issue is should he have been forgiven if he had owned up to his crimes.

Why would the US public have had to accept someone who committed crimes while in office. If he had known nothing about the break in he should have come clean and then he should not only have been forgiven, he would have been the victim of criminals outside of his knowledge who would have damaged his chances of getting elected.

But he did not do that. He should have done nothing to cover it up and he would have been able to come out a hero for integrity.