“History is repeating itself, and with a vengeance,” John Dean told the judiciary committee, drawing a parallel between Watergate, which brought down Richard Nixon, and “Russiagate” which has bedeviled Donald Trump.
But what strikes this veteran of Nixon’s White House is not the similarities but the stark differences.
Watergate began with an actual crime, a midnight break-in at the offices of the DNC in June 1972 to wiretap phones and filch files, followed by a cover-up that spread into the inner circles of the White House.
Three years after FBI Director James Comey began the investigation of Trump, however, the final report of his successor, Robert Mueller, found there had been no conspiracy, no collusion, and no underlying crime.
How can Trump be guilty of covering up a crime the special counsel says he did not commit?
And the balance of power today in D.C. is not as lopsided as it was in 1973-1974.
During Watergate, Nixon had little support in a city where the elites, the press, the Democratic Congress and the liberal bureaucracy labored in earnest to destroy him. Nixon had a few of what Pat Moynihan called “second and third echelons of advocacy.”
Contrast this with Trump, a