June 25, 2022

Watergate lessons to be key factor in whether Justice Department will go after Donald Trump over Jan. 6th protest

The Watergate scandal eventually led to former President Richard Nixon resigning. Since then, Democrats have considered it the high-water mark against Republicans — and now they’re twisting the lessons learned against former President Donald Trump.

The Department of Justice was overhauled following the scandal nearly 50 years ago in an effort to de-politicize it, The Hill reported. That fact will supposedly figure into how Attorney General Merrick Garland handles Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021 incursion at the U.S. Capitol.

The DOJ is weighing whether Trump’s rhetoric about the 2020 presidential election being stolen is enough to charge him with a crime relating to the incident. Many see this as a political game Democrats are playing that undermines the validity of any charges Garland comes up with.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington president Noah Bookbinder wanted it was a “tricky situation” because “restoring a sense of nonpartisanship and the nonpolitical nature of the Department of Justice dictates against charging the last president with crimes.” This comes as a show trial is taking place in Congress, beating the same dead horse.

“Except that if the last president actually committed the crimes and did things in ways that are themselves a serious threat to democracy, and you don’t do anything about that, that’s itself a political decision,” Bookbinder qualified his statement. “So they’re in a tough place.”

The break-in at the Watergate hotel set off a cascade of events culminating in Nixon’s resignation. It also involved him using the DOJ as a political tool leading to an effort to separate the executive office from the department.

Though the narrative is that Garland is attempting to reinforce the DOJ’s independence, the pursuit of Trump is a telling fact. The claim has been that Trump incited the riot that happened at the Capitol building that day. However, he was acquitted in a Senate impeachment over that fact as the nation has largely moved on.

The attempt to pin something — anything — on the former president began before he was elected. It continues even now as Garland mulls charges.

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Carrie Becker (@guest_1289129)
4 days ago

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