The gold standard for American Presidential malfeasance and misdeeds is the oft-cited “Watergate” affair. This is why every single head of government action or incident with more than a scintilla of scandal behind it ends with “gate”. Even Benjamin Netanyahu’s travel woes ended up being referred to as “Bibi-gate.” Why the importance of Watergate in American history and to a lesser extent, Bibi-gate for Israelis, is that both affairs either lead to their exit from politics, as in the case of Richard Nixon, or the mutterings that linger to this day about Netanyahu’s financial affairs vis-à-vis foreign nationals.
The media today is fortunate to have at its disposal some of the leading figures of the Watergate-era Congressional legal teams and journalists to explain to perplexed viewers why the sitting President may have gone beyond anything Richard Nixon was heard on tape admitting to and why he is in a profound amount of legal jeopardy. While we are now seeing the scrambling for explanations that will satisfy both Congressional committees, what we are in actuality seeing is the unraveling of a financial scam that has gone on unchecked for many years. Myths concerning Donald Trump’s financial status aside, the complexities of his finances should not deter the government from performing its necessary oversight. Trump could not be more wrong when he insists that the American public does not care what is contained in his income tax filings for the past several years. Anyone who cares about the rule of law and justice should care greatly. People who complain that the wealthy already control their lives and have them at a disadvantage merely because they have wealth especially should care. And those who complain that the government intrudes upon their everyday lives too much should open their eyes and see why a government that has checks and balances is necessary to control unchecked ambition or a flagrant abuse of power.
Many are now speculating that Watergate was “worse” than anything that Donald Trump can engineer and this is factually wrong. Richard Nixon tried to manipulate an election in order to guarantee his victory; and yet, he did not enlist the services of a hostile foreign nation to whom he was financially beholding; although the “plumbers” responsible for the break-in were not American citizens, the same cannot be said for Trump.
Donald Trump is trying to insert false narratives in order to hoodwink his supporters into thinking he did nothing wrong. Unfortunately, his actions have global reach and the implications of a hostile country like Russia interfering in our elections cannot go unaddressed and must be corrected. If Trump owes Russian banks millions of dollars which he may have borrowed to cover his poor business dealings and as a result of this indebtedness gave the Russians tacit approval to hack our election, he is guilty of treason, not simply malfeasance or obstruction of justice. If he had help, they are part of a conspiracy to commit treason and must face the full brunt of justice. It is entirely possible that “RICO” statutes may apply, depending on whether it is adjudicated that Trump worked with Russians as part of an organized criminal enterprise.
Former F.B.I. Director James Comey wrote in his notes after one meeting with Trump that he was demanding loyalty from his cabinet. The only thing missing from this scenario is Comey bending down and kissing Don Donald Trump’s ring. To this day, our President is blissfully unaware that we Federal employees swear an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, not individuals.
Trump might not be able to deny his involvement and blame others as he is wont to do in anything involving his Presidency and unpopular decisions he has heretofore made, such as his “travel ban” and Tweets confirming his intention to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. However, Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment. Donald Trump should consider doing likewise before serious criminal charges are leveled at him in order to spare us any further embarrassment, international or domestic.