As the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s activities is about to go public, here’s a reminder to those Republicans still defending him:
Nixon wasn’t actually impeached, but his defenders paid a high price nevertheless. Watergate was just a two-bit break-in and coverup. The articles of impeachment against Nixon included obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. All that for activities inside the Beltway.
Compare that to Trump, who went international. He attempted to extort support from a foreign government, asking the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival, an American citizen, in exchange for the release of military aid already approved by Congress. The depth of Trump’s immorality and corruption makes Nixon look like a rank amateur.
Look back at the Watergate fallout, below, and ask yourself if you really want to side with Trump. Nixon’s buddies, after all, didn’t fare very well. He simply resigned and left them all to pay the piper.
(The following was first published on Pied Type on June 17, 2012, as “Watergate: A brief look back”)
Forty years ago today five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The scandal and attempted coverup by President Richard M. Nixon led to his resignation two years later. Disgraced, he was the only president in U.S. history to resign from office.
Watergate shattered my previously naïve, idealistic view of the U.S. presidency and the men who hold that office. I learned that even the President of the United States can and will engage in criminal activities and will lie repeatedly to the entire nation to save himself. My disillusionment was profound. And long overdue.
- one presidential resignation
- one vice-presidential resignation – although Agnew’s crimes were unrelated to Watergate
- 40 government officials indicted or jailed
- H.R. Haldeman and John Erlichman (White House staff), resigned 30 April 1973, subsequently jailed
- John Dean (White House legal counsel), sacked 30 April 1973, subsequently jailed
- John Mitchell, Attorney-General and Chairman of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), jailed
- Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy (ex-White House staff), planned the Watergate break-in, both jailed
- Charles Colson, special counsel to the President, jailed
- James McCord (Security Director of CREEP), jailed
More on Watergate
- What ifs abound as scandal is recalled – Worcester Telegram (telegram.com)
- Watergate Turns 40 (radio.foxnews.com)
- Five media myths of Watergate (bbc.co.uk)
- Viewpoints: 40 years ago, Nixon left historic black mark (sacbee.com)
- Watergate Chronology — 1974 (watergate.info)