Journalist and author Carl Bernstein, who was part of the reporting team who ultimately exposed President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, has accused Attorney General William Barr of running interference for President Donald Trump, Newsweek reports. Bernstein’s work ultimately helped to bring about Nixon’s eventual resignation in 1974.
During an interview Sunday, he continued on to describe Trump as perhaps “the most authoritarian president” in the history of the United States of America.
The remarks were made during an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, where Bernstein argued that Congress has so far not done enough to challenge Trump and push back on his more autocratic tendencies. He expressed the importance of a bipartisan investigation into the resident, in contrast to the heavily partisan dynamics currently at play when it comes to Trump, Congress, and potentially even the Supreme Court.
“We find ourselves in this situation, right now, because there is an ongoing cover-up by the president of the United States,” said Bernstein. “It’s obvious to anyone that watches, anyone who looks at the facts, reads the Mueller report, the obstruction part particularly, we are in the midst of a continued cover-up by the president, aided [and] abetted by the attorney general of the United States.”
In contrast to many Trump critics who allege that the president has created something of a Constitutional crisis in America today, Bernstein takes a different point of view. Rather than a Constitutional crisis, he sees a systemic one, saying that the situation today is “challenging whether our institutions are able to function in this country to deal with a president of the United States who is unique in our history, who has nothing but contempt for Democratic traditions and the rule of law.”
To that point, the Trump administration has so far refused to comply with a number of congressional subpoenas, leaving congressional Democrats at a loss as far as how to proceed in what are largely uncharted waters for the American system of government. Trump, they argue, is now interfering with the legislative body’s ability to carry out their oversight function, which is laid out as a key part of their responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution.
Barr’s part in the ongoing spectacle puts the attorney general solidly at the center of the controversy, flirting with congressional ire as he struggles to chart a path forward with respect to releasing an unredacted copy of the Mueller report as Congress threatens further action and Trump cites executive privilege.