07 August 2018

Oh, Snap!

Normally, I try to eschew direct comparisons between Trump's problems and Watergate.

It's not that they aren't entertaining, but I think that all too frequently they misconstrue the underlying context.

That's being said, when the person invoking Watergate is Bill Ruckelshaus, I take notice:
President Trump is acting with a desperation I’ve seen only once before in Washington: 45 years ago when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon was fixated on ending the Watergate investigation, just as Trump wants to shut down the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A lesson for the president from history: It turned out badly for Nixon. Not only could he not derail the investigation, but also, 10 months later, he was forced to resign the presidency.


In October 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned. As deputy attorney general and next in line, I was ordered by the president to fire Cox; I also refused and resigned. Cox was finally fired by Solicitor General Robert H. Bork. The result is what came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre.

Neither Richardson nor I saw any justifiable reason for Cox’s dismissal. When it became clear that Cox would not give up his pursuit of the Oval Office tapes, Nixon took the only action he could to protect himself: He tried to get rid of the man charged with investigating him.
Ignoring the obvious,* I think that there are some significant differences:  The most notable is that, unlike in 1973, pretty much the entire Republican Party are opposed to even the idea of an independent investigation.

I Republicans are projecting:  They think that all investigations of a President will be conducted as corruptly as Ken Starr's.

*Bob Bork was an asshole even then.


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