On this date, forty-eight years ago, Richard Nixon authorized a group of clandestine agents to break into Democratic National Headquarters to steal data in an effort to use it against the Democrats in the then upcoming election cycle. Pre-Internet, an actual physical breaking and entering was required to accomplish this goal. But by chance they got caught - on site inside the offices of the DNC at the Watergate Office building.
Instead of apologizing for such brazen illegal activity, Richard Nixon doubled-down and used his entire Administration to suppress the truth by interfering with all investigations by using the Department of Justice as his personal cover-up team. With the president's authority, the Attorney General and the DOJ routinely promoted to deny, deflect, obscure and lie about the origins of the decisions behind the illegal break in. In other words, without the tenacious efforts of a handful of journalists (namely Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein), Americans would have never known the extent of the criminal enterprise being run out of the West Wing of the White House. While journalists were working on the story, Nixon along with his VP, (Agnew), consistently claimed the media was nothing more than purveyors of "Fake News" and that they alone would get to the bottom of this matter.
By the time the dust cleared, Nixon was caught directing all sorts of illegal activities - all under the guise of promoting his Committee to Re-Elect the President - appropriately known simply as C.R.E.E.P. The only ones being fake in the Watergate story was the president and his GOP enablers. From the lessons of Watergate, Congress enacted legislation involving the independence of Inspectors General and the need for expanded Constitutional Oversight. And today? Some former Trump officials have asserted the president has made it a standard for America's National Security to be compromised whenever Trump's personal interests may be at stake. The Congressional GOP on this problem? Crickets.
Our Nation learned valuable lessons from Watergate, but like a lot of Americans these days, our country is now filled with armchair revisionist historians routinely excoriating serious journalists as purveyors of "Fake News," all the while living in their own world of "Alternate Facts." Why else could anyone still believe anything that comes out of Trump, Pence or any of his "officials" when they routinely lie to us?
Over 19,000 lies and counting yet millions hang on every word Trump utters. Now that we are struggling with the coronavirus, witnessing the abuse of law enforcement against people of color and those protesting against said brutality, Americans may finally be waking up to realize that Trump is nothing more than an empty shell of an accomplished con man. When Steve Mnuchin tells House members they have no right to know who got over $600 Billion in relief aid, because it would violate receiving companies' "trade secrets", we should all be on alert that taxpayer money has been misappropriated to reward Trump supporters - and even to Trump's own businesses.
As one who has studied presidential history for decades, I used to firmly believe that all former presidents be treated with deference after they leave office. But after living through the years of Trump's abuses of office, I can confidently state that IF he is found guilty of crimes while in office, that YES - he and his co-conspirators deserve to spend time in prison. Former Attorney Generals Mitchell and Kleindienst served prison time for their role in the Watergate cover-up. Yet Trump isn't the only one that should get prison time. William Barr, once critical of Nixon for resigning believing he could "weather the storm" is unlawfully using the DOJ just as Nixon's AG's did - as a personal enforcement enterprise against Americans that oppose him - especially Democrats in Congress and Joe Biden, the Democratic Nominee.
So as we finally begin to recognize nationally that Black Lives Matter, let us also begin to demand our president begin to ACT lawfully. Let's all hope he doesn't burn down America during the transition period from a loss in November to Inauguration Day for Joe Biden as our 46th President. And then let the investigations begin against Trump and every member of the GOP that has used their positions to enable the con man.
As President George Washington once said, "Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light." This November, let's make sure the light of democracy shines down on our great nation to expel and expunge the scourge we have experienced with MAGA and Donald J. Trump. Have a SAFE week!