Donald Trump could be headed for impeachment, with the former counsel to President Richard Nixon saying he sees “echoes of Watergate” in Trump’s quickly expanding Russia scandal.
In an appearance this week, former Nixon counsel John Dean compared Trump’s scandal to the one that ultimately led to Richard Nixon’s downfall, although on a much more accelerated scale than the scandal that took years to sink Nixon. His comparison also comes as a number of other voices have spoken out against Donald Trump, calling for his impeachment.
Even before he took the oath of office, Donald Trump was dogged by allegations that his team worked closely with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign. American intelligence officials had determined that groups working on behalf of the Russian government had hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, and leaked it through WikiLeaks for the purpose of damaging Clinton’s campaign and helping elect Donald Trump.
That was followed by the publishing of a long-circulated dossier from a former MI6 British intelligence officer claiming that Russia had been cultivating Donald Trump for years, collecting damaging material to be used for blackmail and offering him profitable deals.
The scandal has continued to deepen in recent weeks. Last week, the New York Times reported that during the campaign, American intelligence officials intercepted calls between members of Trump’s campaign and senior Russian intelligence officials. The calls came at the same time as Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee, leading officials to investigate whether there was coordination between Trump’s team and Russian intelligence.
There is no evidence of cooperation so far, officials told the New York Times, but they remained interested in the strange timing.
“But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin,” the report went on to add. “At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.”
That report was followed this week by a report from CNN that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and later to FBI Director James Comey to speak to reporters and quash reports of the Russia investigation. That request broke long-established rules separating the White House and FBI, the report noted.
The revelations have increased the calls for Donald Trump to be impeached. In an interview with Democracy Now!, John Dean said he saw striking similarities between Trump’s burgeoning scandal and the Watergate cover-up that led Richard Nixon to resign. The former White House counsel, who authored the book The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It, said Trump’s scandal appears to be an accelerated version of Watergate.
“Well, what I see and hear, in following it, are echoes of Watergate. If you recall, Watergate ran about 900 days. In other words, it went on for years, starting with a bungled burglary at the Democratic National Committee and right up to Richard Nixon’s resignation, followed by the conviction of his top aides. So it ran a long time. What we’re seeing is very accelerated. It’s partially responsible because of the media and the technology today, but it’s also the behavior of Trump and his aides, as well as the media’s vigilance on this. So we’re seeing things accelerated. And what I see or hear are echoes of Watergate. We don’t have Watergate 2.0 yet, but we have something that is beginning to look like it could go there.”
There are already several groups and individuals calling for Donald Trump to be impeached. The city council of Richmond, California, voted this week to approve a resolution calling for his impeachment, and a recent poll from Public Religion Research Institute found that 58 percent of Democrats supported impeachment proceedings.
[Featured Image by Olivier Doulieryl/ Pool/ Getty Images]