The unfolding possibility that President Trump and members of his administration colluded with Russian agents to interfere with or sway the 2016 election occupies many of us.
And those of us “of a certain age” remember another Presidential scandal: Watergate. In the early hours of the morning on June 17, 1972 five men were found inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee. It was soon found out that they broke into the offices to install listening devices on the phones to give President Nixon and his campaign intelligence on his opponent, Senator George McGovern.
Virtually nobody believes that President Nixon knew about the this in advance, but within a few days he directed his staff to bribe the burglars to plead guilty and not implicate anyone else from the campaign.
President Nixon easily won re-election in November of 1972 but by the first few months of 1973 things began to unravel. On April 6, 1973 Presidential Counsel John Dean reached out to members of the Senate Watergate committee. His cooperation came to light and Mr. Dean was fired on April 30th.
During all these months, President Nixon became more and more insulated and desperate. His press secretary Ron Ziegler continued to press the line that “there’s nothing to see here” and that Watergate mattered only to the press.
It’s not a stretch to see President Trump now playing the role of President Nixon and Press Secretary Sean Spicer reprises Ron Ziegler’s role.
In the last few days we’ve learned that Mr. Trump’s original pick for National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn has a story to tell. But he demands immunity from prosecution before he will tell his story.
Ironically, John Dean asked for immunity from President Nixon. It wasn’t granted.
General Flynn finds himself in a different place as he is asking for immunity from Congress. Nevertheless, I have to think that as I write this several occupants of the Trump administration are praying General Flynn does not testify to what he knows.