In His Assault on Justice, Trump Has Out-Nixoned Nixon
After Watergate, we worked for impartiality. Trump, Roger Stone and William Barr have dragged us back to the swamp
istory doesn’t repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes,” Mark Twain is supposed to have said.
My first job after law school was as an attorney at the Department of Justice (DoJ). I reported for work September 1974, weeks after Richard Nixon resigned.
In the years leading up to his resignation, Nixon turned the justice department and FBI into his personal fiefdom, enlisting his appointees to reward his friends and penalize his enemies. He brought conspiracy charges against critics of the Vietnam war, for example, and ordered the department to drop an antitrust case against ITT after the conglomerate donated money for the 1972 Republican convention.
During the Senate Watergate investigation, Nixon’s stooges kept him informed. Reports about how compromised the justice department had become generated enough public outrage to force the appointment of the first Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox.
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