Yes. I was on the air during the Saturday night massacre. Oct 20, 1973. President Nixon asked the Attorney General to fire the Watergate Special prosecutor. In a matter of hours he fired the Attorney General, and the Assistant Attorney General who refused to fire the prosecutor. Finally, Robert Bork, the Solicitor General, fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Bork was later nominated for the Supreme Court, years after Nixon resigned. He was rejected.
Now, President Donald Trump fired the man who is investigating him, FBI Director James Comey. Comey has had a bad year, drawing himself into election controversy and stretching the patience of voters and politicians.
But, his firing will primarily be viewed as an effort to slow down the investigation of the Trump campaign and and Russia. In his firing letter, Trump mentioned that Comey had told him three times that he, Trump ,was not the target of an investigation. That was an interesting add-on.
Reaction is more than predictable. Republicans are muted or “troubled.” Democrats want a Special Prosecutor. John McCain also wants an independent prosecutor. With the reputation of the FBI on the line, the next Director will have to continue the investigation, even more aggressively.
Jeffrey Toobin, the respected legal correspondent at CNN called this, “a grotesque abuse of power.”
Bob Casey, the Pa. Senator, called it “Nixonian.”
There has been silence from most Republicans.
Washington has been rocked by this decision at this moment.
Where will this lead? This decision will be analyzed to analysis paralysis
My take is simple. This will draw further attention to the entire Russia issue. Voters will increasingly view this in coverup mode. The microscope will focus even closer on the White House. Someone in the mix will break, probable General Flynn. The Senate and House investigators will be even more aggressive. There will be a sharp eye on the Attorney General. And, abiding by rules on classified documents. James Comey will have his say. at some point, perhaps back before a Congressional Committee.
It is highly probable that Donald Trump is not the focus of the investigation, but his administration will be viewed with doubt.
Doubt is the most dangerous enemy of power.