With his latest demand that the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate whether or not a confidential informant played a role in sparking the FBI’s probe of possible collusion in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump has brought the country to the brink of a Constitutional crisis. He may also have set into motion the beginning of his own impeachment.
Monday on Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough compared Trump’s actions to those of former President Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign in disgrace as a result of the Watergate scandal:
“You’ve had a lot of people who came out, good, decent, honorable, upstanding citizens — this puts more pressure on them, a president who only can be described this weekend as Nixonian. This is a lead-up to the ‘Saturday Night Massacre.’ So what does, say, (Sen.) Joni Ernst in Iowa do about this? What do other good Republicans in the Senate and the House do about this?”
Presidential historian Jon Meacham, a member of the panel discussing Trump’s actions over the past 48 hours, agreed with Scarborough, and he added:
“One Nixonian element here that hasn’t gotten a whole lot of attention, at least explicitly, is both Nixon and Trump have an ongoing obsession with their former opponents in a way that I think shapes what they do in deleterious ways, to say the least.”
As an example, Meacham noted that Nixon justified taping White House conversations by saying that Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson had done the same. Nixon was also obsessed with his loss to John F. Kennedy in the 1960 election:
“He was always obsessed with what President Kennedy had gotten away with, in his view, and remember, of course, that’s clearly true with President Trump, with an obsession with both Obama and Secretary Clinton.”
What does this mean for the future? Meacham predicted that will depend on the outcome of the midterm elections in November:
“The most important political story in the country right now, in many ways, are those 435 House races. I’ve been skeptical of this, but I would bet a good bit of money this is going to end up in the House with some kind of impeachment proceeding, and the makeup of that body and ultimately the reaction of the United States Senate, which is supposed to be the great deliberative check and the great final hammer on these things, I think we’re going to end up — that’s going to be the season finale of this.”
As we learned with Nixon, there are times when the only solution to lawlessness at the highest level is to use the tools the Founding Fathers gave us to alleviate threats to our republic.
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