Watergate And ‘Emailgate’ Forebode Hillary’s Doom
by Randy DeSoto, Western Journalism
As Emailgate swirls around her, many may not realize that Hillary Clinton’s involvement with political scandals goes all the way back to the granddaddy of them all, Watergate. As she appears to gear up for a presidential run, the example of Watergate may well forebode her candidacy’s doom.
During Watergate, Clinton, of course, was not one of those under investigation for potential wrongdoing (though her conduct during the investigation raised ethical red flags); but she was one laying the groundwork to impeach President Richard Nixon, while working as a staff attorney on the House Judiciary Committee.
A brief review of the Watergate facts is in order to see how the past may play out in a very similar fashion in the present. The scandal originally involved the breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s Headquarters by Republican operatives during the presidential election year of 1972. Whether President Nixon ordered the break-in is unclear, but what is clear is that he was involved with the cover-up of it and other nefarious conduct by his Administration afterwards. As the cliche goes, “It’s not the crime; it’s the cover-up that gets you.”
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Nixon White House Counsel John Dean coined the phrase that captured the time of the Watergate investigation: “We have a cancer–within, close to the Presidency, that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding, it grows geometrically now because it compounds itself.”
Congress began investigating the wrongdoing; and spurred on by some outstanding investigative journalism by the Washington Post, among other media outlets, the whole ball of lies and cover-ups began to unravel. A key moment during the inquiry came when Congress learned that Nixon had been recording meetings in the White House, including those regarding the Watergate scandal. When some of those recordings became public, any support Nixon had in Congress evaporated. The House of Representatives had drawn up the articles of impeachment, and the Senate stood poised to convict. Nixon resigned in disgrace.
One may be starting to get the feeling that circumstances not unlike Watergate are beginning to engulf Clinton’s presidential ambitions. Once again, the whole affair started with a congressional investigation, this time with the subject being Benghazi. The original scandal happened in the months before a presidential election, as Watergate did. As with Watergate, the cover-up of any wrongdoing by Clinton and the Obama Administration is overshadowing the original potential wrongdoing.
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Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., a member of the House panel investigating the Benghazi terror attacks, compared Clinton to Nixon for her use of private email accounts in office. As The Hill reported, he said: “The last time we saw a high government official seeking to edit their own responses was President Nixon, and at least then he enjoyed the benefit of executive privilege.” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of The Select Committee on Benghazi, subpoenaed all of Clinton emails from her private accounts that are pertinent to the investigation of the attack on the American consulate.
The New York Times broke the story about Clinton using private email accounts run out of a server in her home in New York, rather than a government email account. This practice is highly unusual for a public servant, especially one serving in one of the highest offices in the country. It also appears to be in violation of the Public Records Act, which Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano states comes with potential jail time.
Clinton appears to be following the very Nixonian course of refusing to answer questions about the email scandal or dismissing it, taking to Twitter earlier this week:
As was the case with Nixon, Clinton’s answer is not sitting well with the media. Chris Cillizza with the Washington Post tweeted in response:
The Washington Post’s Editorial Board wrote earlier this week:
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON has served as first lady, a senator from New York and secretary of state. She is no newcomer to the corridors of power. Her decision to exclusively use a private e-mail account while secretary suggests she made a deliberate decision to shield her messages from scrutiny…Ms. Clinton essentially privatized her e-mail, reserving to herself the decision of what should be in the record…If people aspire to public service, they should behave as stewards of a public trust, and that includes the records — all of them. Ms. Clinton’s use of private e-mail shows poor regard for that public trust.
Clinton, unlike Nixon, is not the president or holder of any public office at this point; but her prospects of ever holding the highest office appear to be diminishing as Emailgate “grows geometrically,” compounding on itself.