Wednesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the hosts had on presidential historian Jon Meacham, who had a stark and frankly rather jarring assessment of the current state of affairs in the Trump administration and the impeachment inquiry that’s underway into Trump’s actions.
Meacham, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Lion is sort of ironically about the President that Trump says he admires most, Andrew Jackson, is no liberal. I say that by way of context for his comments. Meacham spoke at the funerals of both of the elder Bushes, GHW and Barbara, and wrote the 41st President’s biography.
So it’s important to note that Meacham is first and foremost a study of history — although he is also a professor of political science. But when you’re using the phrase “presidential historian” and a name follows it, odds are about 50-50 it will be Meacham’s name.
Is that enough build-up for you? Because everyone in the world wants to compare the case of Trump to the case of Nixon — but none do it half as convincingly as Meacham does.
That’s because in this historian’s view, what Trump and his band of merry criminals — beginning with AG William Barr and extending all the way down to complicit Republicans in the House and Senate — have done makes the Watergate scandal look “sedate” in comparison.
In fact, Meacham reserves special dispensation for his profile of Barr in this analog:
You can either be John Marshall or John Mitchell, and I think Barr has chosen his faith here.”
Marshall was a Supreme Court Justice at the time and Mitchell was, of course, the Attorney General who left the Justice Department to work on the “Committee To Re-Elect The President,” the fundraising group that broke into the Watergate Hotel to spy on Nixon’s Democratic enemies.
At least it was domestic. They didn’t hire Russian burglars. I guess if they outsourced, that would make it worse.”
Similarly, Trump’s orbit has been occupied by those who blurred the line between working in the public trust and working in the interests of the President. Jeff Sessions was a capo on Trump’s campaign and then handed a position as America’s top lawyer; Barr has been the confirmed AG since Sessions’ departure and he has worked almost exclusively in a personal lawyer capacity for Trump.
But equally weighty is the mention of Marshall, the SCOTUS judge who was part of the Court that ruled Nixon had no executive authority to withhold the evidence Democrats at the time demanded. Meacham told host Joe Scarborough that in terms of historical comparison with the Watergate events, it is very close:
We’re heading toward a U.S. v. Trump Supreme Court case.”
If that’s what it takes, that’s what we should already be planning on, as far as I’m concerned.
Featured image via screen capture
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