Political science expert weighs in on possible Nixon-Trump correlation

This was special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox giving a press conference in 1973 about his fight to release recorded tapes of then President Richard Nixon speaking in the Oval Office to his staff.

What came next would be called the Saturday Night Massacre, where President Nixon would fire Cox.  

Nixon had first ordered his attorney general and deputy attorney general to fire Cox, but both refused and resigned in protest.

After mounting pressure of the Watergate scandal and the threat of impeachment — Nixon resigned in 1974.

Some people now are comparing what happened with Cox and Nixon to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey.

Political science expert professor Jay Gonzalez of Golden Gate University in San Francisco weighs in.

“I think they’re two different cases, totally different,” Gonzalez said.
“The context is very different, but there are some similarities in terms of the involvement of the FBI in the story, and especially the attorney general and the assistant attorney general in that drama.”

Professor Gonzalez says that the Watergate investigation was already well underway, compared to the Russian hacking investigation against Trump; however, Gonzalez adds that there are other factors that cannot be ignored.

“The evidence is not as strong as the recorded message but we don’t know. This is also a very electronic era that we are in. It might have been recorded, you know, these meetings with president Trump. He has a lot of business meetings with Russia. His children has had a lot of business meetings, which means the interaction is really messy.”

Gonzalez also says that during the time of Watergate — the sources of information were not as varied as today.

Thanks to 24-hour cable news and the internet — people can now choose the news they want to hear.

“TV was new. People were moving from listening to the radio to watching the TV. So watching Watergate unfold was really a drama of big proportions on TV for the first time. Now what we are seeing unfold is another form of political drama in Washington… but this time the context is the internet and social media, and news on your phone and everywhere you look.”

Because of the variety of information today — Gonzalez says it will be interesting how the American people will call for answers.

“I think it’s too early to tell how this will unfold, because the Republicans are of course trying to repress it,” he said. “And then you have the people from the left and the Democrats who are trying to hype it up so that might cancel out each other.”


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