The tape of Donald Trump pressuring Georgia officials into changing the result of the election and finding votes to go in his favor is worse than Watergate, says the journalist who actually broke the Richard Nixon scandal.
On Sunday, The Washington Post released a phone call between Trump and state leaders in which the president pressured them to “find 11,780 votes,” exactly the margin that would have been needed for him to win the race. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pushed back, saying that Trump was wrong in his claims of voter fraud and refusing to go along with plans to reverse the outcome.
Though Trump and allies have claimed that he really won the election and it was stolen from him through massive fraud, there is no evidence to support those claims. His campaign and allies have pushed a number of court cases seeking to overturn results and invalidate votes in states that Joe Biden won, but none have been successful in changing the outcome. In Georgia, the Republican leaders have pushed back against Trump’s claims of impropriety in voting there, noting that there is no evidence of the allegations and going on to certify the results showing Biden the winner.
The leaked recording has sparked a massive backlash, with members of both parties speaking out against Trump and some even comparing it to the scandal that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon. Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporter who helped to break Watergate, said he believes the attempts to overturn the election results are “far worse” than what Nixon did.
“It’s not déjà vu. This was something far worse than occurred in Watergate,” Bernstein said in an interview on CNN, via The Huffington Post. “We have both a criminal president of the United States in Donald Trump and a subversive president of the United States at the same time in this one person.”
— The Recount (@therecount) January 3, 2021
Bernstein went on to say that the recording of Trump pressuring state officials is the “ultimate smoking gun tape.”
“It is the tape with the evidence of what this president is willing to do to undermine the electoral system and illegally, improperly and immorally try to instigate a coup,” he said.
Trump had already been impeached on the basis of a phone call conversation, one with the president of Ukraine in which he pressed for an investigation of Biden for unfounded allegations of corruption. He was impeached on two charges but ultimately acquitted in a U.S. Senate vote early last year.