Jan. 6 Hearings Against Watergate Hearings

There is much that can be compared to two presidents accused of influencing elections nearly half a century apart.

There are echoes of Nixon’s secret efforts to meddle in the 1972 election in Donald Trump’s very public effort to overthrow the 2020 election.

but this is not a case of history repeating itself. Trump’s efforts were arguably more outrageous and dangerous, threatening the peaceful transfer of power for the first time since the Civil War, when the Southern states seceded from the Union after Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 victory.

Jan. 6 Hearings Against Watergate Hearings

House hearings on the January 6 riot are being made for television – there is literally a television producer helping tell the story – and are intended to bring the public back to the near-miss of American democracy.
You will create facts at a time when Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on what is real. They may start criminal prosecutions through the Department of Justice for things that have been videotaped and are already in the public domain.

The Watergate hearings, on the other hand, laid the groundwork and helped uncover the Watergate conspiracy.

Almost drafted by a special Senate committee A year after White House-backed agents broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, the hearings caught the nation’s attention.

A senior Nixon whistleblower was involved in the Watergate hearings

Trump’s top aides refused to cooperate with the House inquiry on Jan. 6.

In contrast, Nixon’s White House Counsel, John Dean, turned against the President at the Watergate hearings, telling the world about a conspiracy being planned at the White House.

CNN’s documentary series tells the story of Watergate from Dean’s perspective. His impressive testimony in June 1973 was a key element of the hearings. Watch a snippet here.

Watergate hearings set off a chain reaction

The Watergate hearings also revealed the existence of the now infamous tapes of Nixon’s White House talks, which ultimately corroborated Dean’s testimony.

Nixon’s efforts to keep these tapes from the public led to the “Saturday Night Massacre” in October 1973, in which the two top Justice Department officials resigned in protest.

What to expect from the Jan. 6 House hearings

While new information is expected at the House hearings, the basic narrative is already known.
Many Americans have already heard the tone Trump used in urging election officials in Georgia to “find” votes for him. You know rioters tried to disrupt the electoral college vote count. You’ve already seen reports of Republicans and Fox pundits texting his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, asking for help that didn’t come from Trump on Jan. 6.
RELATED: Jan. 6 panel probes Trump’s guilt as hearings begin

It could be top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence making compelling testimony at this week’s Jan. 6 House hearings. Pence, who was presiding over the vote count on January 6, was attacked by rioters.

Senate Republicans have never turned against Trump like they have against Nixon

Nixon resigned because he lacked the power to impeach. Republican senators told him he had lost almost all of his support among Senate Republicans and would face impeachment if he didn’t resign.

“Mr. President, you have five votes. And one of those isn’t mine,” then-Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona told Nixon at the White House, according to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward in the CNN documentary series.

Trump proposed impeachment twice: while he was in office and shortly after he left. All but seven Republicans in the Senate — even many of those who criticized Trump after the riot, like Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell — would not vote to bar Trump from running for president again.

More than a year later, most Republicans have stopped criticizing Trump.

The difference between then and now

Trump wields more absolute power over Republicans than Nixon, which is either a symptom of or a factor in the crippling power of partisanship in politics today.

This is perhaps the most important difference between the Watergate scandal and the January 6 investigation.

“What America and the world saw in 1974 was the most powerful man in the world losing his job,” he said Timothy Naftali, a New York University professor and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, says in the CNN documentary series. “And for anyone who doubted the strength of the US Constitution, what they saw removed those doubts.”

Trump survived the impeachment and did not resign. But he lost his job when voters threw him out. The question today is whether his refusal to accept this loss will raise new doubts about the strength of the constitution.

Journalist Carl Bernstein compared Nixon and Trump in an appearance Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources along with Woodward. He said Trump’s bad deeds made him the “first seditious President of the United States.” obscure Nixon’s bad behavior, which was criminal.

But the root of their sins is the same.

“Both crimes began by undermining the most fundamental element of democracy,” Bernstein said, “free and fair elections.”

Comments are closed.