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Almost as soon as it was announced that President Trump fired FBI Director Comey the Democrats started screaming that his action was Nixonian or reminiscent of Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” a ridiculous comparison.
For those who did not live through Watergate, the “Saturday Night Massacre” refers toon October 20, 1973, when President Nixon ordered the firing of Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. Rather than comply Attorney General Elliot Richardson resigned rather than fire Cox, when the responsibility fell to Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, he followed Richardson’s lead and also resigned. Finally solicitor general Robert Bork, who unlike the first two did not assure congress that he would never interfere with Cox, followed the order and fired Cox.
Anyone who is familiar with the Nixon and the Trump actions know that the two firings were not even close to being alike, anyone who believes they are similar is just taking another opportunity to bash President Trump. Want proof, below are six reasons the firing of Comey is different from the “Sat. Night Massacre.”
1) Good Job vs. Bad Job: In 1973 most observers of either party thought that Cox was doing a good job. In fact one of the reasons AG Richardson resigned was that he promised congress that he wouldn’t use his authority to can the Watergate special prosecutor, unless for cause. On the other hand most Democrats who are complaining about the Comey firing believed he was doing a lousy job–until they found President Trump was firing him and they had a political opening to attack the POTUS. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sent a compelling letter to his boss AG Jeff Sessions, pointing out that Comey was doing a very lousy job and that pointed out his errors in breaking established justice department procedures. His opinion was corroborated by Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, Larry Thompson, Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W Bush, Alberto Gonzales, who also served as Attorney General under President George W Bush, Eric Holder, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton and Attorney General under President Obama.
2) Subpoena: Nixon fired Cox in an attempt to avoid a subpoena demanding a copy of the infamous Nixon White House tapes. While there are reports that Mike Flynn has received a subpoena to testify, Trump hasn’t received a subpoena to turn over anything,
3) Evidence: Even without the White House tapes and before the “Saturday Night Massacre” we know some facts, either thanks Woodward and Bernstein or testimony to the Senate Watergate Committee. That evidence included:
- According to the FBI the Watergate break-in stemmed from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of the Nixon reelection effort.
- Former Nixon aides G. Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord Jr. were convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping in the Watergate incident.
- John Dean Testified that he discussed the Watergate cover-up with President Nixon at least 35 times,
As of the day Comey was fired there was no public evidence that Trump or anyone in his campaign colluded with the Russians to hack into the Hillary campaign or the DNC. In fact the same week of the firing former Director of National Intelligence Clapper said so far there is no evidence of any collusion with Russia, Democratic Party hack Adam Schiff said there was no evidence yet…heck, even crazy Maxine Waters said there was no evidence. That doesn’t mean that one day there won’t be evidence, but it does mean that President Trump wasn’t motivated by the walls closing in, the same way that people were preparing a “perp walk” for Nixon.
4) The Cox Firing Was Top Down, Comey’s Firing was Was Bottom Up: Cox was fired because President Nixon ordered the firing. Comey was fired because his immediate supervisor Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein sent a letter to his boss AG Jeff Sessions saying that Comey was under-performing Sessions agreed with the recommendation and sent it along with the President. Trump accepted the recommendation of his senior people and did the firing.
5) Timing: Nixon fired Cox the day after the special prosecutor refused a compromise that the president give the tapes to Senator John C. Stennis to review and summarize the tapes for the special prosecutor’s office. While Stennis, may have done the best he could, the Democrat from Mississippi was very hard of hearing and wouldn’t have been able to hear much of the tapes. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein who made the recommendation has been in office for two weeks, getting the lay of the land and evaluating his subordinates before sending his recommendation. Possibly accelerating the action was Comey’s awkward testimony last week where he bragged about going around the Department of Justice Management for his initial press conference where he let Hillary off the hook, as well as making an accusation about the volume of emails Huma Abedin forwarded to her husband that turned out to be untrue.
6) Involvement: Archibald Cox was the Watergate prosecutor, in other words his only job was to investigate the Watergate Scandal. James Comey is the director of the FBI, the Russian investigation is one of hundreds of projects on his plate. With the Hillary investigation, Comey delegated the investigation senior people in his staff and over a hundred agents, the Russia Investigation is probably being run the same way. In other words it’s very doubtful that Comey is as hands on in the Russia investigation as Cox had to be with Watergate. The firing of Cox slowed down the Watergate investigation, the firing of Comey will be unaffected as it is being run by the people under Comey.
Sorry Democrats and MSM, but your claim that the firing of Comey is reminiscent of the “Saturday Night Massacre” is pure hyperbole.
Bob Woodward agrees. He was interviewed by his own paper about the comparisons between the Saturday Night Massacre and the firing of Comey: