Tag Archives: Trump


The headlines say it all. Donald J. Trump, the first American President to be impeached twice while in office, is about to be the first ex-President indicted for a criminal offense after leaving office.

The impending event has seen the chattering heads of cable television and social media wagging with speculation ever since the news, quoting “sources,” broke last Thursday. Trump and his lawyers confirmed the news Friday, announcing that the Donald would travel to New York on Monday and would report to court on Tuesday for his formal charging and arraignment.

As is tradition in New York, the grand jury’s formal accusation is under seal until the arraignment and the district attorney has said nothing, meaning all comment is made in the absence of any factual knowledge of the sum and substance of the charges. That hasn’t stopped the speculation. Nor has it stopped the clear calls for protest demonstrations, bordering on violence, coming from Trump and his acolytes. The New York Police Department is on full alert.

Much of what Trump’s fellow Republicans have argued in recent days amounts to total nonsense. The one factual observation is that this will be the first time a former president is charged with a crime. Trump’s apologists see that fact as evidence the indictment is ill advised. My first reaction was to observe that the fact this is a historic first simply means never in American history have we had a president who is so despotic, so blatantly criminal in his activities that it would be a grave dereliction of duty for the grand jury not to indict him.

But on further reflection I have come to realize we have been here before. Or, rather, one out of three of us has been here before. I was surprised to discover that only one-third of the U.S. population is old enough to have been around during the Watergate scandal which ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. Nixon is the only American president to have resigned his office.

Nixon had won reelection to a second term as president by an overwhelming margin. During the campaign, in June 1972, there was a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquaters in the Watergate apartment and office complex in Washington. It is from that event that the scandal takes its name. While the break-in had little effect on the election, details revealed over the next two years traced the planning for the break-in and a subsequent cover-up to the highest levels of the Nixon administration and to the president himself.

With the Justice Department and the FBI implicated, a special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, Jr. was appointed. Cox soon uncovered widespread evidence of political espionage, illegal wiretaps, and influence peddling. In July 1973 it was revealed that Nixon had secretly recorded conversations in the White House since 1971. Cox sued to obtain the tapes.

On October 20, 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson to fire the special prosecutor. Richardson refused and resigned; his assistant, William Ruckelshaus, refused and was fired. Finally, Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Cox. This became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” It led to calls for Nixon’s impeachment, and the House of Representatives began an impeachment investigation.

I was a graduate student studying journalism on the night of the massacre. It is difficult to explain to those who were not alive at that time the emotions felt throughout the nation. I wondered if the country could survive the crisis. The impact of Watergate was so great for decades scandals were named by tacking the suffix “-gate” to a defining word.

Which explains my headline above, “Stormygate” for the current crisis, where Trump stands on the brink of being charged for his role in the payment of money to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, an adult movie performer with whom he apparently had a sexual relationship, in the middle of his 2016 campaign for president.

Nixon resigned before the House of Representatives voted on his impeachment. Many leaders of the Republican party spoke out against him and encouraged his resignation.

There remained the question of whether Nixon should face criminal charges. The special Watergate grand jury, it was later reported, had named Nixon an “unindicted co-conspirator” because the Justice Department said they could not indict a sitting president. That remains a DoJ “policy”, not a court tested rule or law. Explaining that he believed the nation should be saved the turmoil and uncertainty of a trial for the former president, President Gerald Ford issued Nixon a full and unconditional pardon.

For decades I have thought this was a wise move, helping the nation move on, giving it time to heal. Now, faced with the questions of Donald Trump’s guilt or innocence at a time when great turmoil and divisiveness surrounds us, I’m no longer sure. If Richard Nixon had faced a jury, we would have had some clarity on the uncharted waters we now face.

Stay tuned.


The Hypocracy Committee

Kevin McCarthy was so desperate to become Speaker of the House of Representatives he not only gave Jim Jordan chairmanship of the judiciary committee and membership on the oversite committee, he also created a special sub-committee, on the so-called “weaponization” of the federal government for Jordan to run.

This gives Jordan the power, among others, to hire dozens of staff members, paid for by we the taxpayers, to dig up dirt and blast away at President Joe Biden and Democrats.

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How Could You?

If you are voting for Democrats, you can leave now. This isn’t for you.

If you are voting for Republicans, or not voting at all. Stick around. I have a question for you.

What the hell are you thinking?

Do you hear the words, “Democracy is on the line” and chuckle? Don’t. It is.

There are more than three hundred people running for election who believe the Big Lie that Donnie Trump won in 2020. He didn’t. Sixty judges and scores of election officials, many of them Republican, said he didn’t. There is hard physical evidence that HE knows he didn’t. NO evidence of improper voting that changed the outcome of the election was discovered anywhere.

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We Had This Beat

More than one million Americans have died of complications of Covid-19. Can you wrap your arms around that number? Does it seem possible? Everyone I know has been touched by Covid one way or another. I lost my mother-in-law. And it didn’t have to be this way.

American is in many ways like Australia. As reported by the New York Times (the link is probably behind the Times’ paywall, but it is excellent and worthy of credit), both countries are English-speaking democracies with similar demographic profiles. In Australia and in the United States, the median age is thirty-eight. Roughly 86 percent of Australians live in urban areas, compared with 83 percent of Americans. Yet Australia’s Covid death rate sits at one-tenth of America’s, putting the nation of twenty-five million people (with around 7,500 deaths) near the top of global rankings in the protection of life.

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Republicans Engage in “Legitimate Political Discourse”

There was a time when our two major political parties took policy matters seriously. I remember my first political convention, the Democratic meeting in Miami in 1972 which nominated George McGovern to face, and be pummeled by, the incumbent Richard Nixon. One of the things that impressed a then young reporter was the work of the platform committee.

The committee met and considered the issues of the day. They heard presentations, took testimony, and in the end voted on a position to take. At first, I wondered how valuable the exercise was. While the platform represented a compromise position so the party could say what it stood for, it could not bind all its members. And with opposition when it came time to govern, there is no way to expect the positions of the platform committee to translate directly into policy.

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Want to Steal the 2024 Election?

It may not be likely that Republicans will steal the 2024 Presidential Election, but it is certainly possible. A new paper by a Yale Law School expert in election law, Professor Matthew Seligman, says all it would take is a single corrupt Republican governor and a Republican controlled House of Representatives. Anyone want to bet that won’t happen?

Let’s make something clear here. I am not generating an ambiguous set of facts. I’m dealing with the universe where a fair and legal election, as determined by state election officials and courts, has occurred, been reviewed, certified and the results have been published. None the less, a Republican majority in the House of Representatives votes to challenge the Electoral College votes from a state and that state’s governor, without any legal authority, then sends to Congress an “alternate” set of EC votes, changing the outcome of the election for President of the United States.

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“Déjà Vu”

I’ve been trying to make sense of it because I’ve been here before. On the left, Saigon, April 29, 1975. On the right Kabul, August 16, 2021. In 1975 I was at my first post school job in the CBS newsroom in Chicago. The helicopters were evacuating Americans and Vietnamese who had worked with Americans as they fought the communists. In 2021, I’m at the other end of my career. The helicopters are taking out Americans and Afghans who worked with Americans as they fought the Taliban. Forty-six years between these similar scenes. It is eerie.

Yes of course there are many differences between the two events. But from my perspective, there are far too many similarities. We do not seem to learn from history. We just repeat it.

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