There are many correlations between Donald Trump’s reaction to the investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian government operatives and his own attempts to cover it up and Richard Nixon’s reaction to the Watergate investigation. Nixon repeatedly used Trump’s favorite term to describe the investigation: “witch hunt.” Both appealed to the public to end the investigation by saying how “harmful” it was to the country. What not enough people are discussing are the differences between Watergate and the Trump collusion scandal.
Former FBI Director James Comey highlighted one very important distinction in a Wednesday morning tweet.
Comey’s tweet comes in reaction to the endless rants by Trump and the support from GOP lawmakers about the “criminal deep state” conspiracy by the FBI, in collusion with President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the entire Democratic party, about the “spy” Trump says was placed in his campaign.
This, too, is an echo from the disgraced Nixon administration’s response to the Watergate investigation. Nixon blamed Democrats and the media for working against him, all the while covering up the very real evidence that Nixon did obstruct justice by trying to cover up the Watergate break-in. Trump takes it much farther. It isn’t just Democrats and the “fake news” media, but the entire intelligence community, his predecessor, his political campaign rival, and a Justice Department headed by people Trump himself appointed for the investigation led by registered Republican Special Counsel Robert Mueller who are “colluding” to take him down.
However, Comey points out the difference that should concern all Americans. When Nixon finally resigned in order to avoid impeachment, he did so because he knew he did not have enough support in Congress to avoid impeachment. As the evidence piled up against him, even his staunchest supporters finally had to stand against him or lose face with their voters. As Nixon threw out conspiracy theories and made even more attempts to cover up his involvement in Watergate with a few close members of his administration, GOP lawmakers did not put their efforts behind supporting his criminal behavior.
The same cannot be said about Trump. GOP members of Congress and the investigative committees charged with providing the American public with accurate an unbiased information about the investigation into Trump’s campaign continue to feed into Trump’s lies to the public and the House Intelligence Committee prematurely ended an investigation that they didn’t do much to truly explore. With the help of right-wing media like Fox News, Republicans have an outlet to spread this disinformation and are doing everything possible to help Trump discredit more legitimate news outlets who report the truth about Trump and his campaign’s misdeeds.
This is truly unprecedented times with an uncertain outcome, but what is known is that the GOP will have to answer for their support of Trump and their help in misleading the American people.
Comey’s Twitter followers offered support and criticism for his tweet. See some of their responses below:
Featured image via Getty/Bloomberg