Only One Other President Has Ever Acted This Desperate

By attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller, President Trump is acting with the same desperation President Nixon showed days before he fired Special Counsel Archibald Cox. He is worried about protecting himself over standing up for the rule of law. But just as Nixon derailed his entire presidency with the Saturday Night Massacre, firing Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would have lasting effects that will not only hurt President Trump, but the Republican Party and the entire country.

President Trump is acting with a desperation I’ve seen only once before in Washington: 45 years ago when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon was fixated on ending the Watergate investigation, just as Trump wants to shut down the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A lesson for the president from history: It turned out badly for Nixon. Not only could he not derail the investigation, but also, 10 months later, he was forced to resign the presidency.

In fact, in some ways, Trump is conducting himself more frantically than Nixon, all the while protesting his innocence. Nixon fought to the end because he knew that what was on the tape recordings that the prosecutor wanted would incriminate him. We don’t know what Trump is hiding, if anything. But if he is innocent of any wrongdoing, why not let Robert S. Mueller III do his job and prove it?

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