Nixon’s Ghost: Trump Pushing DOJ to Investigate His Political Opponents
As Marx said: history repeats itself first as tragedy and then as farce. Trump is Nixon’s farce. Think of the similarities. Here is just a partial list, by no means comprehensive:
1. Watergate was about breaking into the DNC. So is the Trump version. Of course, this is a cyber Watergate which makes it much more effective than the original. After all, when you break into an office, you have a small window of time to shift through all these folders and documents and find what is actually going to be helpful.
And, of course, the fly in the ointment with the original Watergate was they got caught in the act by the night watchman.
In cyber theft you don’t have to be anywhere close to the physical DNC building. You can hack it from thousands of miles away and it’s very tough to catch you after. Cyber theft is much more effective.
2. Trump like Nixon before him hates the intel agencies. Nixon didn’t want to read the daily briefs either, though unlike Trump, he had no aversion to reading-quite the opposite.
3. Roger Stone. Stone a loyal Nixon man who has a tattoo of Tricky Dick on his back, is at the eye of this Watergate too.
As they say ‘Never underestimate Roger Stone.’
It should be noted that the takeout of Spitzer was led by Roger Stone, who just so happens to be very close to Donald Trump and close to The New York Post. The Post led the way in the reporting of the Spitzer scandal. Roger is a master, never underestimate Roger.
In that vein, Reince Priebus better watch his back.
“It’s time for the little man to go,” Stone said on Thursday, referring to Priebus during an interview on “The Joe Piscopo Show” in which he predicted a massive shake-up in the White House.
When Roger Stone warns that someone is ‘going to have their time in the barrel soon’ you have to stand up and take notice-just ask John Podesta.
Anyway, somewhere Nixon is smiling. Indeed, maybe his ghost came to see Trump in the Oval Office and this was his recommendation.
Trump is urging the Justice Department to investigate his perceived opponents. That’s unusual.”
It’s unusual though not for John Dean-Nixon’s chief counsel-or for Roger Stone.
In Trump’s bizarre presser yesterday he said this:
“I’ve actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks. Those are criminal leaks….It’s a criminal act.”
It was not the only thing he said that made news. He also said that if Flynn hadn’t talked about the sanctions he would have told him to talk about the sanctions.
“Now Trump has called on the Justice Department to investigate those leakers. As Savage and Lichtblau put it:
No law forbids a president from making a criminal referral to the Justice Department, but it is unusual for a president to direct the agency to open a criminal investigation into his perceived opponents or to talk publicly about having done so. The White House, under presidents of both parties, has generally restricted direct contact with the Justice Department about prospective investigations to avoid the appearance of politicizing law enforcement.
Typically, if an agency believes that classified material from its own records was improperly disclosed, it will make a referral to the Justice Department, which decides whether to open an investigation.
“That bolded part captures something more significant than its deftly understated tone first indicates: Trump is directing the Justice Department to investigate his “perceived opponents.” As I have argued, this is what distinguishes Trump’s vow to go after leakers from that of his predecessors, particularly the Obama administration, which did go after them very aggressively: Trump is going after leakers who harmed him politically. (The Times piece also details other ways in which the current context is different from the Obama years.)”
“Now, in fairness to Trump, at his presser he argued that such leaks harm our national security, suggesting that this is why they need to be targeted. He claimed to be worried about future leaking of sensitive information amid difficult situations involving North Korea or the Middle East.”
“But the leaks Trump is now decrying may have helped, rather than harmed, the national interest. We would not have known what we now know about the possible contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign without them. Given that congressional Republicans are mostly resisting any serious probe into Russian meddling in the election — and into any Russia-Trump campaign contacts — it is plausible that, if Republicans have their way, we will never know what really happened. More revelations make a full accounting more likely — and make it harder for Republicans to resist one — which we need to ensure this doesn’t happen again, strengthening our democracy.”
“Meanwhile, given that Trump knew for three weeks about the Justice Department’s warnings about Flynn and did nothing to remove him, it’s also plausible that he would still be national security adviser if leaks had not forced the issue.”
“Beyond all of this, the fact that Trump directed the Justice Department to target these leaks right after they damaged him politically — and the fact that he’s stating this publicly — raises questions about how far Trump will prove willing to go in this regard later. As Susan Hennessey of the Brookings Institution recently put it, Trump’s calls for investigations into leakers seem to signal “an intention to use the pretense of leak investigations to engage in political retaliation.” This appears plausible, given not just the timing but also Trump’s already-well-established authoritarian tendencies.
Trump is already amassing an enemies list. Next he’ll be telling the IRS to audit Jake Tapper or something. I almost worry about jesting here less I give him any ideas.
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