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Exactly Like Watergate

Written by John Feehery

Yep, this is exactly like Watergate.

Roger Stone was besties with Richard Nixon and is now a pal of Donald Trump.

So there’s that.

Nixon campaigned to win the vote of the Silent Majority.  That was a key theme of the Trump campaign.

Nixon did that whole “détente” thing with the Soviet Union.  Trump seems to be a close friend of Vladimir Putin, who used to work for the Soviet Union.

Nixon went to China.  Trump had the Chinese Premier over to his place at Mar a Lago.

Henry Kissinger was a key advisor, National Security Advisor and close friend to President Nixon.  Kissinger is also a key advisor (although he has no official role), to President Trump.

President Nixon had a taping system where he recorded just about every conversation he had in the Oval Office.  President Trump warned James Comey, the FBI Director, that he may or may not have taped their private talk in the Oval Office, so he better be nice.  We don’t know if that is true or not.

Speaking of the FBI Director, Nixon had to deal with J. Edgar Hoover, who collected information on everybody which he used for blackmail and other purposes.  Nixon concluded Hoover was too powerful to fire.  Trump concluded he had no choice but to fire James Comey, because the FBI Director was a “showboater.”

The media hated Nixon.  Hated him.  The media hates Trump.  Hates him.

The Congress in the early 1970’s was dominated by Democrats.  The Congress today is dominated by Republicans.

There were less media outlets back then.  A few newspapers.  Three major networks.  Some radio.  No Breitbart.  No Fox News.  No MSNBC.  Today, of course, you can’t spit in Washington without hitting (inadvertently of course) either a real reporter or a fake one.

Nixon’s team included John Erlichman and H.R. Haldeman.  They hired guys like G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt.  Other characters from that era included Jeb Magruder, James McCord and John Dean.

The Nixon political team, led by Hunt (a former CIA officer), hired burglars to break into DNC headquarters, placed some bugs on the phone of the Chairman and then were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  It was political corruption of the highest order.

President Nixon then ordered the CIA to order the FBI to stop the investigation into the Watergate burglary.

When it was revealed that the President had taped conversations in the Oval Office that might reveal the cover-up, the Congress demanded access to those tapes.

Watergate may have been a third-rate burglary, but it was a first-class political scandal.

Let’s review what President Trump has done.

He asked that the FBI Director take it easy on his friend, Mike Flynn.  Ok, that doesn’t sound great.   But also not terribly surprising, given Trump and his friendship with his former campaign aide.

And here is the thing.  The FBI hasn’t stopped the investigation.  Nor has it slowed it down at all.

Then the President fired the FBI director.  It’s not clear that his firing had anything to do with Russia.  Comey had developed many enemies on both sides of the aisle.  I think the President thought he would be getting great credit for getting rid of a failing FBI Director.

His chief sin is how he mishandled the whole thing.

The latest scandal, that President Trump may have bragged to the Russians in the Oval Office about some intelligence that he got about a potential ISIS attack.  Ok, once again.  Not great.  But not in any way illegal nor impeachable.

Back to the Congress.

Trump may not be popular in Washington, but among the Republican base, he is money.  Republicans who call for the President to be impeached will lose their primary.

When Democrats ran the Congress in the 1970’s, they could set up the investigation any way they wanted.  And plus, they had a real scandal.

Republicans are not going to impeach President Trump because their base won’t stand for it.

Plus the economy is going like gangbusters.

One final point.

Back in the 1970’s, the media was made up of mostly responsible journalists.

Now, we live in a click bait world.  Nothing drives ratings and clicks more than a good impeachment story.

Republicans should resist the media story line.  Focus on our agenda and the economy.  Don’t get distracted.  Move on.

Sorry guys.  This ain’t Watergate.  Not even close.  Despite the presence of Roger Stone.  And Henry Kissinger.

 

John Feehery is President of Communications and Director of Government Affairs for Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Washington, D.C.’s top public affairs firm. He is also a frequent commentator on the political landscape, widely quoted around the country and often seen on such television programs as CNN’s The Situation Room, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Bloomberg Television’s Money and Politics. He is also a columnist for The Hill. His writing appears regularly on Political Storm.

About the author

John Feehery

John Feehery is President of Communications and Director of Government Affairs for Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Washington, D.C.’s top public affairs firm. He is also a frequent commentator on the political landscape, widely quoted around the country and often seen on such television programs as CNN’s The Situation Room, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Bloomberg Television’s Money and Politics. He is also a columnist for The Hill.

Feehery has worked for almost two decades in a variety of influential positions both as a staffer for three prominent members of the United States House of Representatives Republican leadership and a legislative strategist in the private sector.

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