April 21, 2018

A lot of Democrats have been complaining and even ridiculing the DNC lawsuit that was just filed against the Trump campaign, not understanding the historical context. So AM Joy took a little stroll down memory lane this morning, as Joy Reid and former Watergate prosecutors Nick Akerman and Jill Wine-Banks looked at the parallels between the Nixon investigation and the Trump investigation.

Joy Reid says Trump cronies remind her of Richard Nixon's Committee to Reelect The President.

"Nick, analogies to Watergate just keep piling up for Donald Trump. Now you have the Committee To Protect The President, the group of lawmakers in the House doing whatever it takes to protect Donald Trump. There's a Vox article that talks about Donald Trump actually pressuring the attorney general to fire two FBI agents named Strzok and Page who were tweeting things he didn't like, tweeting negative things about him, and to feed information to these allies in the House," she said.

"Here's a quote, 'The president also pressed his attorney general and FBI director to work more aggressively to uncover derogatory information within the FBI files and turn over to Congressional Republicans working to discredit the two FBI officials, according to the same sources.' In the same article, Trump did this knowing that Page could actually be a witness against him. Have we taken the Watergate analogies too far, or are we on the right track?"

"You're on the right track," Akerman said. "But instead of bringing a bunch of guys up from Miami to break into the Watergate headquarters, the Democratic headquarters, they did it with the Russians, who did it electronically this time, making it a lot more difficult to uncover.

"It's not like they could put tape on the door and a police officer would walk in and find a bunch of burglars. This made it very hard to detect in the first instance. But it also made it much more insidious in the sense that they were able to take a lot more, and you could see what they did with it. And it was all done for the purpose of getting Donald Trump elected."

"So absolutely, this is like just go ahead 45 years, and it's just now met technology of what we're looking at here. Then with respect to the other pieces of it, using Facebook and this microtargeting of voters in specific districts. before they were trying to figure out how to go around to voters or keep the vote suppressed. They did that in New Hampshire when Nixon was running and he had opposition with [Pete] McCloskey. They had Roger Stone and donate money in the name of the Young Socialists to make Republicans turn against McCloskey. Now they can do it with electronics, with 60 million Facebook users to target Hillary Clinton voters to keep them from voting," Akerman said.

"Roger Stone appears again," Reid pointed out. "Jill, there's the other couple Watergate parallels, of course, the potential lawsuit here, or the lawsuit that's actually been filed by the Democrats against the Nixon campaign. At that time what did that yield and did it interfere at all with the official investigation of Nixon?" she asked.

"It didn't. I loved hearing the audio of that because it did bring back a lot of memories," Wine-Banks said. but it didn't interfere.

"We worked very successfully, both with Congress and we weren't involved in any way in the civil suit. Civil suits present some problems now for the Trump administration and for Cohen because it can lead to discovery depositions, the things they're trying very much to avoid by dropping, in the case of Cohen, he's dropped at least one lawsuit.

"But the Stormy Daniels case isn't going away, and that could lead to discovery which could be a problem. I'd say the more difficult challenge was Congress demanding to get the investigative documents, the Comey memos, which had absolutely no purpose if they had really thought it through. I don't know what they thought in that they thought they might be able to show that some of them were classified and had been leaked and that he lied about classified material, which doesn't seem to be the case.

She said the release of the Comey memos seemt seems to have "totally boomeranged" on Trump supporters. "It would have been an important thing for the Department of Justice to stand up to Congress and say, 'We have a protocol of not giving out ongoing investigative documents for a reason. We don't want to interfere with the investigation that's going on by revealing this.' Other witnesses will now be able to conform their testimony because they now know, for example, what was said about the Reince Priebus conversation."

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