Unlike Watergate, the current crisis in government/spying/politics doesn’t have a memorable name. But for those of us who lived through Watergate, it has a certain resonance with that event as well as major differences, imparting a strange sense of familiarity, dislocation, and increasing alarm.
This isn’t some burglary to get some dirt on the opposing party. And it isn’t an unfulfilled threat to use government entities to “get” the opposition. So far the evidence is mounting that this involves the marshaling of those government entities by one administration in order to “get” the next, and nearly succeeding.
And—as Roger L. Simon points out:
One of the more notable differences between Watergate and the metastasizing scandals involving the FBI, our intelligence agencies, and the Obama administration — subjects of the soon-to-be-released inspector general’s report — is that the media exposed Watergate. They aided and abetted the current transgressions.
By providing a willing and virtually unquestioned repository for every anonymous leaker (as long as he or she was on the “right” side) in Washington and beyond, the press has evolved from being part of the solution to being a major part of the problem.
However, it depends what side you were and are rooting for. For example, if you believe that Donald Trump and his associates colluded with Russia to try to defeat Hillary Clinton, then you believe that the media has been exposing Collusiongate, just as they did with Watergate.
And if you believe that FBI second-in-command Mark Felt, who turns out to have been the Woodward and Bernstein informant known at the time as Deep Throat, was right to leak to them, then you might believe that all of today’s leakers are also right to leak to MSM outlets like the Times in order to spread the word of Trump and Co.’s perfidy.
Now, I happen to think the evidence is powerful that Trump is innocent and that he was not only wrongly investigated but that he was most likely set up by the opposition—almost entrapped, although so far it seems the Trump people didn’t take the bait except for some go-nowhere incidents like the Trump Tower meeting between the Russian lawyer and Trump Junior. But those who read and admire the NY Times these days would beg to differ, and those people are still numerous.
As always, Andrew C. McCarthy has some especially cogent things to say on the subject of Collusiongate:
The fons et origo of the counterintelligence investigation was the suspicion — which our intelligence agencies assure us is a fact — that the Democratic National Committee’s server was hacked by covert Russian operatives. Without this cyber-espionage attack, there would be no investigation. But how do we know it really happened? The Obama Justice Department never took custody of the server — no subpoena, no search warrant. The server was thus never subjected to analysis by the FBI’s renowned forensics lab, and its evidentiary integrity was never preserved for courtroom presentation to a jury.
How come? Well, you see, there was an ongoing election campaign, so the Obama Justice Department figured it would be a terrible imposition to pry into the Democrats’ communications. So, yes, the entire “Russia hacked the election” narrative the nation has endured for nearly two years hinges on the say-so of CrowdStrike, a private DNC contractor with significant financial ties to the Clinton campaign…
Despite the absence of any evidence that the Trump campaign conspired in Russia’s espionage…The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigated Flynn — including an ambush interview — on the theory that his discussions with Kislyak and other diplomats violated the Logan Act. Currently codified as Section 953 of the federal penal code, this statute purports to criminalize “any correspondence or intercourse” with agents of a foreign sovereign conducted “without authority of the United States” — an impossibly vague term that probably means permission from the executive branch. The Logan Act is patently unconstitutional, but no court has had the opportunity to invalidate it because, to borrow a phrase, no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.
It’s difficult to adequately summarize the article; I recommend you just read the whole thing. Anyone who reads even a portion of it should come away outraged at what the government appears to have done to Trump and his associates—and the outraged should include people who oppose Trump and everything he stands for. However, that’s not the way things work in this day and age; outrage is very very selective.
One of the many differences between now and Watergate is that back then there was actual evidence on which the investigation, and Nixon’s ultimate resignation, was based. There was known to be a break-in. Later, there were audiotapes of what Nixon said about it. You may disagree about whether the country came out ahead because he resigned, but the facts were and are the facts.
Mark Felt of the FBI leaked to the press, but he did not frame Nixon or lead him on—nor, as far as I know, did he lie in his leaks. On the other gate, it appears so far that Collusiongate is based on almost no evidence except for the partisan manufactured kind, and is loaded with lies and blatant misbehavior and favoritism on the part of the government and its law enforcement agencies. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Collusiongate is far worse than Watergate, both in what actually happened and what it reveals about our government agencies.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]DONATE
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