Read time: 3 minutes

Reality Check: Remembering Richard Nixon's Stonewall Strategy

"Here we are again with the Trump administration announcing a total stonewall strategy to openly defy Congress and its constitutionally granted power to investigate the president," John Avlon said.
Views:

New Day's John Avlon Reality Check segment was devoted to how closely Trump is hewing to Richard Nixon's game plan.

" 'I want you to stonewall it.' That's what Richard Nixon said in a section of his infamous Watergate tapes he tried to keep from congress. And here we are again, with the Trump administration announcing a total stonewall strategy to openly defy Congress and its constitutionally granted power to investigate the president," Avlon said.

"President Trump has echoed Richard Nixon since at least the campaign, lifting slogans like 'the silent majority' and basing his convention speech on Nixon's call for law and order. I'm not even counting the widely rumored '68 campaign back channel with a foreign panel to help him win an election. Now this is getting ridiculous, because Nixon's second article of impeachment tracks closely with what Trump is being accused of: Misusing the power of the presidency to investigate his political opponents. With this declaration of total obstruction, Trump is just begging for contempt of Congress to be added.

"Just take a look at Nixon's Article Three. It said Nixon violated his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas for papers and things deemed necessary by the committee, in order to resolve by direct evidence, fundamental factual questions. In other words, he was denying powers given to Congress to hold the president accountable. Don't believe me? Ask this guy.

LINDSEY GRAHAM: The day Richard Nixon failed to answer that subpoena is the day he was subject to impeachment because he took the power from congress.

"And just yesterday, as if to triple down on the Nixon comparison, Trump's Department of Justice argued in court that the U.S. should reverse the landmark ruling by Watergate judge John Sirica that turned grand jury evidence over to Congress as part of an impeachment inquiry. When today's judge asked the Department of Justice lawyer whether the government was asserting that the ruling was wrong, she said yes. If that case came today, a different result would be obtained -- to which the judge replied, 'Wow.'


↓ Story continues below ↓

"Wow, indeed. The Trump administration is essentially defending Richard Nixon and Watergate and the idea that the president is above the law. Look, Watergate wasn't exactly a high point in our democracy, but it was resolved because there were enough congressional Republicans who put constitutional principals over partisanship and were able to agree with Democrats on a common set of facts. We're living in a war on facts now, perpetrated by the president and the hyperpartisan polarization we see. The result is situational ethics on steroids.

"As a wise man once said, the notion you can withhold information and documents from Congress, no matter whether you're the party in power or not, is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles. That's true, but don't hold your breath hoping to hear that from him again, because that's the man who's reportedly Trump's new impeachment lawyer, former congressman and current Fox News contributor Trey Gowdy, back when he was chasing after Hillary Clinton as the chairman of the Benghazi committee.

"And that's your reality check."

More C&L Coverage

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.