The Donald J Trump campaign to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before it is complete has reached a fever pitch suggesting that despite his denials, Trump and his supporters are attempting to construct a rationale for firing Mueller soon, some Capitol Hill insiders believe this week.
Leading this effort is the notorious White House “lap dog” Fox Cable News. Here is the Washington Post’s partial list of the Fox contribution:
“Fox News commentators have called the investigation “illegitimate” and “corrupt.” Sean Hannity charged earlier this month that Mueller has put the country “on the brink of becoming a banana republic.”
“Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment and threats. It’s like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door.”
Tom Fitton, president of the conservative organization Judicial Watch, made the same comparison on Fox News on Wednesday, saying, “Forget about shutting down Mr. Mueller. Do we need to shut down the FBI because it was turned into a KGB-type operation by the Obama administration?”
Apparently these strong words weren’t strong enough. Saturday night, Fox suggested that the Mueller probe might be “a coup in America.”
Fox News host Jesse Watters told viewers the investigation into Trump’s campaign “has been crooked from the jump.”
“But the scary part is we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters,” Watters said. “Now, if that’s true, we have a coup on our hands in America.”
As counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway spoke to Watters, a chyron appeared on the screen with the words “a coup in America?”
No, my friends, if there is a coup underway it is a Coup Against America. Against our nation’s Constitutional system of law and justice so that if Mueller’s investigation should reach a finding of wrong doing it will never reach the public and if it should reach the public it will not be believed.
As the ABC News “Watergate Correspondent” I watched and reported on Richard Nixon’s effort to escape justice and there are some similarities and some differences between then and now.
As the American System assembled facts and closed in on Nixon, he and his supporters also twisted and turned, covered up and lied and lashed out at his tormentors (particularly the press). But there are some big differences between the Nixon/Trump cases,
First, though Nixon had won re-election by a large margin, the American public when presented with the facts as they were uncovered, looked at the facts, thought about what was being learned and individually began to make up their own minds about who was lying and who was not, about whether Nixon was guilty of abuse of power or not. By the time the House Judiciary Committee had reported three Articles of Impeachment and the House was prepared to send Nixon’s fate to the Senate for trial, the senior leaders of the Republican party, gauging the public’s verdict already in, told Nixon he had no chance in the Senate and the best course was for him to resign.
Second, when Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the Special Prosecutor investigating him on October 20, 1973, people who had hitherto still been on the fence understood why Nixon had fired Cox, understood that you only fire the investigator when you fear the outcome of the investigation, when the investigator is getting too close to finding the facts of your guilt.
Innocent people welcome an Investigation by legal and competent authority; guilty people fear it.
So, if Trump does fire Mueller, will the public react in the same way today as it did when Saturday, October 20, 1973, was the tipping point that ensured Nixon’s doom?
I would like to think so but there is a third difference to consider.
Third, and this ties directly to the first point, there was no Fox News or its equivalent as a Nixon propaganda megaphone to convince people that “up is down,” “black is white,” or the “dog ate the homework.”
Actually, the evidence does not show that Fox is persuading a majority of the Country that Trump is a great president, the subject of a “witch hunt (his words)” with the help of the FBI, an organization “in tatters (His words).”
Far from it.
But what Fox is doing is attempting to persuade its faithful Trump listeners that Trump is the victim. And with dangerous possible consequences for our Country by attacking and attempting to de-legitimize the very Institutions on which the foundation of our freedoms and liberties depend.
Nixon did not have this propaganda machine, run by people who do it in the pursuit of profit, not truth. Instead, Nixon was subject to a system that worked, in the words of the ancient phrase about the mills of the Gods “…grinding slowly but exceedingly fine.” And the public accepted the findings.
Fox, by attacking the Investigators and law enforcement institutions is helping to harden Trump supporters against a possible finding of evidence and facts even before any conclusions are reached.
And consider the danger in doing that. If law, justice and the people charged with enforcing those safeguards are destroyed in the cause of protecting a potential guilty man from the consequences of his own guilty actions, which one of us will be safe?
I am reminded of the great scene in the movie “A Man for All Seasons” in which the late Paul Scofield playing Sir Thomas Moore instructs his future son-in-law of the danger of tearing down laws even if you do that to get at the devil.
Here’s the link:
This is a perilous time but I believe we will come through it with our Country and its Institutions intact. However, a great many people will have been hurt who may never be able to recover.