Watergate: More Timely now than Ever

I don’t see many comparisons being made (yet) between the Watergate Scandal and Trump’s strange reactions to the CIA conclusions that Russia hacked the DNC email system and leaked info to influence the US presidential election. Trump is a weird guy with strange reactions to almost everything, but his response to this news was beyond baffling. Rather than do the obvious, which would be to express dismay at Russian interference and call for further investigation into how such a terrible thing could happen, Trump instead attacked the messenger, calling the CIA incompetent and politically motivated. It’s as if someone had attacked HIM rather than Russia. Yet nobody has said Trump was involved in the hack or had any knowledge about it.
All that made me think of Watergate. In light of what happened this election the foundational facts of the Watergate scandal seem almost quaint. To save you the trip to Wikipedia, the genesis of the scandal was the wiretapping of TWO PHONE lines at the Democratic campaign headquarters. Whatever info was gleaned from these two wiretaps probably didn’t make a huge difference in Nixon’s re-election by a landslide against George McGovern.

But the “Third-rate burglary” attempt set off a huge cover-up by the Nixon administration after he was sworn in to make sure that the dirty tricks were never traced back to the White House. And it was THAT coverup that in the end took down Nixon. He interfered with investigations to get to the bottom of the Watergate break in because he knew it would be damaging to him, even though he had NOT known about it in advance. And that is what resulted in his impeachment. The cover up was, in the eyes of the public and the US Senate, worse than the crime itself. Adios Nixon.

Richard M. Nixon Boards the White House Helicopter August 9, 1974.

Trump would be wise to keep that in mind. I don’t think he, personally, is in cahoots with the FSB hackers who are behind the damaging leaks of DNC emails and Clinton Campaign emails to Wikileaks. But I suspect people on his staff or within his circle of advisors did collude to make it happen.

Even Nixon eventually called for an investigation and at least pretended to go along with righting the wrong that was the Watergate break in. Trump should be doing the same and not picking fights with the largest intelligence agency in the world. They have resources he can’t even imagine and are an adversary he can’t match.


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