Donald Trump’s White House may be arguing that a key federal court decision in Watergate was wrongly decided, that unlike the Nixon administration, they don’t have to turn over evidence to Congress, but members of the Watergate special prosecutor force think otherwise. Many people tend to trivialize the seriousness of Watergate in the 45 years since it broke – with pundits attaching the “-gate” suffix to nearly every subsequent political scandal, no matter how small. On Thursday, however, 17 former prosecutors who worked on Watergate wrote a Washington Post op-ed endorsing Trump’s impeachment.
Trump has “demonstrated serious and persistent abuses of power that in our view satisfy the constitutional standard of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,'” the group wrote. They went on to describe the multiple acts of obstruction of justice Donald Trump has committed in office, many of which we have seen – from his firing of James Comey to his adamant refusal to even acknowledge he’s being impeached, his withholding of monetary aid from Ukraine, and his disruption of the electoral process by encouraging Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.
While Watergate and Trump’s current scandals related to Russia and Ukraine are constantly being compared, now we have people involved in the original trial confirming that the comparison is warranted. Not only do they believe impeachment is the proper remedy to this dark chapter of the American presidency, they believe that Congress presently has all of the materials it needs to bring about impeachment without further investigation into Trump’s misdeeds. In fact, they recommend the same three charges that were brought against Nixon: obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress.
One big difference between Nixon and Trump, however, is that the former had to wait for televised hearings to begin before his public support began to erode. Donald Trump, who never had much public support to begin with, is already confronted with a great deal of public support for his impeachment – more than 50% of Americans – higher than his own approval rating has ever been, and higher than support for impeaching Nixon was back in 1973.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making