Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Sometimes It Rhymes

William Ruckelshaus  knows something about desperate presidents. He was Elliot Richardson's deputy during the Saturday Night Massacre. He writes in The Washington Post:

In October 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned. As deputy attorney general and next in line, I was ordered by the president to fire Cox; I also refused and resigned. Cox was finally fired by Solicitor General Robert H. Bork. The result is what came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre.
Neither Richardson nor I saw any justifiable reason for Cox’s dismissal. When it became clear that Cox would not give up his pursuit of the Oval Office tapes, Nixon took the only action he could to protect himself: He tried to get rid of the man charged with investigating him.

Like Trump, Nixon was a desperate man:

Nixon was desperate. His goal was to shut down the Watergate investigation by ridding himself of Cox. Instead, Nixon got Leon Jaworski, the highly respected former president of the American Bar Association. Nine months later, the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision forcing Nixon to release the tapes that proved his guilt. Shortly thereafter, the president resigned.
Trump might attempt to shut down the Mueller investigation, but if he fires the special counsel, he could face the same result Nixon faced. He would look like a president with something to hide. He would unleash forces bigger than one man, because Americans believe no one is above the law, not even the president.
Nixon was brought down by his disrespect for the rule of law. The hundreds of letters I received after my refusal to fire Cox enshrined this thought in my head for the rest of my life.
It’s hard to believe that, 45 years later, we may be in store for another damaging attack on the foundations of our democracy. Yet the cynical conduct of this president, his lawyers and a handful of congressional Republicans is frightening to me and should be to every citizen of this country. We are not playing just another Washington political game; there is much more at stake.

History doesn't repeat itself. But, Mark Twain wrote, "sometimes it rhymes."

Image: World Resources Institute


the salamander said...

.. very interesting.. the historical parallels are fascinating, even if the current scandalous president Trump is mainly hysterical, as is the GOP & all the enablers, family, yesmen, twisted media such as Hannity, Fox TV, white nationalists, rascists.. and yes Trump is already historical as well. He's embodied and embedded failure, deceit, deflection as his most 'noteworthy' reality to the history books.

The pitiful admission there was a meeting (not a witchunt) with his 'wonderful' son, Manafort and his son in law Kushner.. and scheming Russians in on it at Trump Towers. Of course he did not know about it. But did dictate Don jr's initial denials from aboard Air Force One. And now on an extended working/golfing break for 12 days or so with Giuliano, Hope Hicks & the usual suspects, he decides to insult 2 black mens' intelligence.. Don Lemon & LeBron James

The topper may be his most recent inane and idiotic tweet whine about the California Fires & 'diverted water into the Pacific' .. more pitiful nonsense from a no-nothing regarding forest fires.. who instead sees the fires as a political opportunity regarding his plans to destroy Environmental Protection and insult the State of California. He also is peeling away protection for National Parks & Monuments to let mining & resource strippimg start within their park borders..

The 'complicits' surrounding Trump seem as stunted ethically as he is.
And there is part of the rhyme Mark Twain mentions
Nixon too had his loyalists, complicits, enablers..
We may be just a few steps from Meuller et al
blowing Trump et al out of the water..

The Mound of Sound said...

With the mid-terms barely three months away, Manafort before the courts, and Mueller expected to deliver an interim report expected to focus on obstruction of justice, no one knows what to expect from an increasingly desperate president.

Giuliani let slip, a couple of months ago, that the effort had to be to protect Ivanka and Don Jr. He even said that it might be necessary to throw Jared to the wolves but he wasn't really family and someone might have to take one for the team.

Owen Gray said...

I can't help but think that's where were heading, sal. Who knows? To avoid going to the guillotine, Trump may -- like Nixon -- resign.

Owen Gray said...

It really is hard to say how this will end, Mound. But before the curtain comes down, there's going to be a lot of collateral damage.

Anonymous said...

Owen, sometimes history seems like it's going to rhyme, but all we get is an eye-rhyme. We may anticipate hearing a rhyme (i.e. a similar result) but we're thrown a curve instead.

Today's GOP is not the one Ruckelshaus dealt with and Americans then could agree on basic facts. There were strict rules on campaign finance limiting the influence of the rich. The FCC's fairness doctrine was still the law and there were no Fox News, Infowars, Limbaugh, Breitbart and other aspects of the right-wing echo chamber to indoctrinate the base and keep the party moving further and further towards authoritarism.

Ruckelshaus is wrong to limit blame to the president, his lawyers and a handful of cynical Republicans. By now it's clear that the Republican Party, its voters and the news media will never stand against Trump. This will be true even with incontrovertible evidence that Trump and his allies intentionally and illegal conspired with Russian agents to undermine America and that Trump personally obstructed justice to conceal the crimes. Today's Republicans believe that "no one is above the law, not even the president" applies only to Democratic presidents.

Finally, the makeup of Congress - even assuming unprecedented Democratic success in the fall - makes impeachment a pipe dream. Trump will not go like Nixon.


Owen Gray said...

Everything you say is true, Cap. But this time around, Trump's family are implicated in the mess. He could throw them under the bus. But it's conceivable that he would work out a deal that would spare his son and son-in-law prison time.

Anonymous said...

Trump's recent tweets about the Trump Tower meeting have likely thrown Junior under the bus already, Owen. But I don't think Carrot Caligula's narcissism will allow him to make a deal and walk away. Especially when he believes he can pardon Uday and Fratsputin.


Owen Gray said...

You may be right, Cap. Trump may, indeed, be too self centred to consider anyone's else's needs but his own. Time will tell. The damage could last for decades.