On Aug. 9, 1974, Richard Nixon bowed to the inevitability of impeachment and conviction by a Democratic Senate and resigned.
The prospect of such an end for Donald Trump has this city drooling. Yet, comparing Russiagate and Watergate, history is not likely to repeat itself.
First, the underlying crime in Watergate, a break-in to wiretap offices of the DNC, had been traced, within 48 hours, to the Committee to Re-Elect the President.
In Russiagate, the underlying crime — the “collusion” of Trump’s campaign with the Kremlin to hack into the emails of the DNC — has, after 18 months of investigating, still not been established.
Campaign manager Paul Manafort has been indicted, but for financial crimes committed long before he enlisted with Trump.
Gen. Michael Flynn has pled guilty to lying about phone calls he made to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, but only after Trump had been elected and Flynn had been named national security adviser.
Flynn asked Kislyak for help in blocking or postponing a Security Council resolution denouncing Israel, and to tell Vladimir Putin not to go ballistic over President Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.
This is what security advisers do.
Why Flynn let himself be ensnared in a perjury trap, when he had to know his calls were recorded, is puzzling.
Second, it is said Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to cut slack for Flynn.
But even Comey admits Trump acted within his authority.
And Comey had usurped the authority of Justice Department prosecutors when he announced in July 2016 that Hillary Clinton ought not to be prosecuted for having been “extremely careless” in transmitting security secrets over her private email server.
We now know that the first draft of Comey’s statement described Clinton as “grossly negligent,” the precise statute language for an indictment.
We also now know that helping to edit Comey’s first draft to soften its impact was Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. His wife, Jill McCabe, a candidate for state senate in Virginia, received $467,000 in campaign contributions from the PAC of Clinton bundler Terry McAuliffe.
Comey has also admitted he leaked to The New York Times details of a one-on-one with Trump to trigger the naming of a special counsel — to go after Trump. And that assignment somehow fell to Comey’s predecessor, friend, and confidant Robert Mueller.
Mueller swiftly hired half a dozen prosecutorial bulldogs who had been Clinton contributors, and Andrew Weissmann, a Trump hater who had congratulated Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to carry out Trump’s travel ban.
FBI official Peter Strzok had to be been removed from the Mueller probe for hatred of Trump manifest in texts to his FBI lady friend.
Strzok was also involved in the investigation of Clinton’s email server and is said to have been the one who persuaded Comey to tone down his language about her misconduct, and let Hillary walk.
In Mueller’s tenure, still no Trump tie to the hacking of the DNC has been found. But a connection between Hillary’s campaign and Russian spies — to find dirt to smear and destroy Trump and his campaign — has been fairly well established.
By June 2016, the Clinton campaign and DNC had begun shoveling millions of dollars to the Perkins Coie law firm, which had hired the oppo research firm Fusion GPS, to go dirt-diving on Trump.
Fusion contacted ex-British MI6 spy Christopher Steele, who had ties to former KGB and FSB intelligence agents in Russia. They began to feed Steele, who fed Fusion, which fed the U.S. anti-Trump media with the alleged dirty deeds of Trump in Moscow hotels.
While the truth of the dirty dossier has never been established, Comey’s FBI rose like a hungry trout on learning of its contents.
There are credible allegations Comey’s FBI sought to hire Steele and used the dirt in his dossier to broaden the investigation of Trump — and that its contents were also used to justify FISA warrants on Trump and his people.
This week, we learned that the Justice Department’s Bruce Ohr had contacts with Fusion during the campaign, while his wife actually worked at Fusion investigating Trump. This thing is starting to stink.
Is the Trump investigation the rotten fruit of a poisoned tree?
Is Mueller’s Dump Trump team investigating the wrong campaign?
There are other reasons to believe Trump may survive the deep state-media conspiracy to break his presidency, overturn his mandate, and reinstate a discredited establishment.
Trump has Fox News and fighting congressmen behind him and the mainstream media is deeply distrusted and widely detested. And there is no Democratic House to impeach him or Democratic Senate to convict him.
Moreover, Trump is not Nixon, who, like Charles I, accepted his fate and let the executioner’s sword fall with dignity.
If Trump goes, one imagines, he will not go quietly.
In the words of the great Jerry Lee Lewis, there’s gonna be a “whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.”
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”
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