Richard Nixon was ultimately taken down by his own paranoia. He’d begun secretly recording everything, and once that fact came to light, the tapes were subpoenaed as evidence in the Watergate criminal investigation. It proved to be one of the key factors in his ouster. Considering Nixon’s fate, no future U.S. President would ever be dumb enough to make that mistake again, right? Wrong, as it turns out. Donald Trump is exactly that dumb. He’s been secretly taping things after all. Today he incredibly released one of them to try to settle a petty squabble.
Trump and his White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have spent the weekend in a public war of words with the Wall Street Journal. Trump gave an interview to the conservative newspaper, and it quoted him as saying “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-Un.” After the remark caused an uproar, the White House began insisting that he had actually said “I’d probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-Un.” Huckabee Sanders then posted the audio to prove it.
We’ve listened to the audio clip a dozen times, and we still aren’t sure if Trump said “I probably have” or “I’d probably have.” It wouldn’t have made a significant different in the absurdity of his words one way or the other. But now we know without question that Trump and his people have been secretly recording things. In fact Trump tweet-bragged this morning that “Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters.” Wait a minute here. Oops. Trump once suggested on Twitter that he had recordings of his Oval Office conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey. Comey’s response: “Lordy I hope there are tapes.” Now we know there are.
If Donald Trump and his people have reached the point of paranoia where they’re recording conversations with reporters, it means they’ve reached the point of paranoia where they’re recording everything. Trump has gone full Nixon. He just admitted it in an attempt at showing up the media. Now those tapes are going to be subpoenaed, and someone in the White House who is already on the hook for obstruction of justice will cough up those tapes in exchange for getting off the hook.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report