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If Trump had been president in Nixon’s day

The Senate Watergate Committee hears testimony from Lieutenant General Vernon Walters, Aug. 3, 1973.Associated Press

As I watch the House impeachment inquiry hearings, I can’t help but remember the hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Watergate in 1973. I wonder how those events would have played out if Donald Trump rather than Richard Nixon were president back then. If Trump were in the Oval Office, we would never have heard Alexander Butterfield describe the secret taping machine the president employed. We would have never have heard John Dean tell the American people that there was a cancer on the presidency. We would never have seen Jeb Magruder contritely admit that he had put personal ambition above service to his country. Other members of the Nixon administration like Chuck Colson, John Mitchell, Bob Halderman, and John Ehrlichman would never have been called to account before the American public for their role in the Watergate scandal or cover-up. If the president had acted like Trump, he would have invoked executive privilege and all of the above persons would have refused to testify before the committee. Nixon would have continued as president while calling the whole process nothing more than a partisan attack, as he did after he left office. And America as a country, and its political institutions, would have been lesser for it.

Sam Kafrissen