In the days following President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, several media outlets called his actions “Nixonian” and “an obstruction of justice.” Trump’s firing of the FBI director, who was supervising the probe of the Trump’s campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, was legal as he was acting on his own authority. However, it betrays the democratic foundation that the nation was built on as well as the ideals that have dominated the presidency and represents great Nixonian undertones. Similarly, during the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s former President Richard Nixon fired the special prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the administration's involvement in the Watergate burglary. The comparisons between Trump and Nixon have not been new, but the specific details that have come out make it easier to draw parallels.
Comey’s precedented and unceremonious firing bears great resemblance to the events of the Saturday Night Massacre of 1973. Essentially, Nixon order the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Cox was demanding Nixon turn over the secret White House recordings that contained information regarding President Nixon’s role in the scandal. On that same night, two of the highest ranking Department of Justice officials, the Attorney General and his deputy, resigned from their posts rather than carrying out Nixon’s orders of sacking the special prosecutor. Cox was eventually fired by Solicitor General Bork who then completely eradicated the Special Prosecutor's office. In terms of legality, Nixon’s were completely legal. Likewise with Trump, his actions brought about tremendous amounts scrutiny as he interfered with an ongoing investigation.
The parallels between the Nixon and Trump administrations are quite striking as both individuals attempted to the shut down the investigations regarding their scandal and campaign, respectively. Nixon did not want the public to hear the private recordings of the White House as he believed it would threaten national security and his presidency as a whole. Currently many in the media, believe that Trump’s reason for Comey’s firing was to stop and cover up the investigation into the Trump campaign’s association and collusion with Russia. Similarly, what both individuals did not realize is that the investigations would continue regardless of the their actions. Additionally, both presidents have been suspected of tampering with evidence related to their presidential campaigns. Nixon was suspected to have order the cover up of his aides burglary of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters during his campaign for a second term. In the same manner, circumstantial evidence is mounting against President Trump and his campaign’s conspiracy with Russia to hack the DNC’s private email server in order to impact the presidential election.
In regards to the Russian hacking scandal, according to Wired Magazine on July 27, 2016, Donald Trump was recorded saying “They hacked—they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do,” he says. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” further indicating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Obviously, there was support for Russia’s efforts. As a result, there is much speculation into President Trump’s collusion with Russia that may bring about impeachment charges.
With Trump mirroring Nixon’s bold, presumptuous nature, it is unclear as to what will happen next.