BOSTON (CBS) – The air has been thick with comparisons to President Nixon and the Watergate meltdown since Tuesday night’s firing of the FBI director by President Trump.
So I thought it may be helpful if we recalled what happened back then.
In late 1972, Nixon was re-elected with a huge landslide. There had already been coverage of the arrest of burglars with Nixon ties during a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Building, but it was still background noise.
But in early 1973, Watergate began to heat up, fast.
The FBI director told Congress the president’s chief counsel – John Dean – had demanded updates on the Watergate probe; one of the burglars wrote a letter to a federal judge claiming the burglary wasn’t a burglary but a political dirty trick.
By April, Dean began cooperating with federal prosecutors.
By May, the televised Senate Watergate hearings had begun.
And in July, the big bombshell – the existence of Nixon’s office tapes was revealed.
That touched off months of mounting paranoia and public outcry as the president repeatedly tried to hide the tapes and obstruct the investigation, in October firing the special prosecutor.
By May of 1974, the impeachment hearings had begun.
On August 8th, the president resigned.
A stupid campaign dirty trick, conducted by weak-link flunkies who caved under pressure; a desperate campaign of cover-up and denial; the fatal, self-inflicted wound of obstruction of justice.
That was the blueprint for Richard Nixon’s self-destruction.
I will leave it to you to make up your own mind about whether or not it is being followed yet again.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: