Donald Trump

'Worse Than Watergate' Is Worse Than Watergate

The rhetorical war over the Justice Department's Trump/Russia investigation is beating a dead metaphor.


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"This is worse than Watergate," Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning claimed in a column yesterday. He was referring to the news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had failed to retain five months' worth of text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok (who was bounced from Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigative team last summer for sending anti-Trump text messages) and his FBI girlfriend Lisa Page. "It is clear," Manning said, "that the American people need to know what was done by the Obama FBI and Justice Department to attempt to interfere with the 2016 election and the peaceful transfer of power."

If slipshod data retention of a high-ranking federal investigator's phone messages doesn't strike you as a weird comparison to a president of the United States likely ordering the destruction of key evidence in an investigation into his own crimes, that may be because you have long grown numb to the phrase "worse than Watergate." It was the title of a 2004 book (about George W. Bush) by former Richard Nixon attorney general White House counsel John Dean, and it has for decades been the designated damnation for everything from the Iran/Contra Affair to the Affordable Care Act.

As I wrote on this website more than a dozen years ago, "The potency of the very word [Watergate] helps explain…why we're always searching for someone worse than Nixon, and affixing the suffix 'gate' to every half-assed Washington scandal or minor-league journalistic triumph." Projection, and minimization, are often involved—by many accounts the most enthusiastic and influential "gate"-abuser was Richard Nixon's own official counter-puncher in Washington's early-'70s propaganda wars, William Safire.

Rick Manning is hardly alone in deploying the "worse than Watergate" phrase to describe Justice Department actions concerning President Trump: In recent days we've also heard from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Sean Hannity ("far worse"), Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr ("way worse"), Herman Cain, and so on.

This being contemporary American politics, there's a large camp of people staring at the exact same investigation and using the exact same phrase to decorate the exact opposite conclusion. Venerated Atlantic journalist James Fallows last May authored a piece titled "Five Reasons the Comey Affair Is Worse Than Watergate." Disgraced (though not disgraced enough) former director of national intelligence James Clapper last June told reporters that "Watergate pales, really, in my view, compared to what we're confronting now." Others in the anti-Trump WTW camp include former George W. Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter, veteran political journalist Elizabeth Drew, and (as ever) John Dean.

Could either side be right? If their darkest scenarios turn out to be true, sure. Say that Donald Trump had knowledge or suspicion that Vladimir Putin had kompromat about some of Trump's sex-related activities, and that the Trump empire was leveraged to the eyeballs with dodgy Russian finance, and that these factors contributed to Trump bringing on C-level Kremlin bootlickers like Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn, through which further ties were forged, including the sharing and dissemination of illegally obtained Hillary Clinton campaign emails, and perhaps some coordination involving Trump's state-targeting strategy and Russia-bot fake-news activities, and that everyone involved in these schemes (including Trump himself) serially lied about such collusion (including to federal investigators under oath), and then after all that engaged in a series of questionable actions design to thwart and even shut down investigation into all of it—then yes, such a compounding conspiracy and the attendant paranoia would look pretty damn Watergate-ish, with the possible worsening sprinkle of colluding with a hostile foreign adversary.

Similarly, if what Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) says here is true, whoa:

But you'll rarely go broke in American politics betting against the maximum conspiracy scenario of entrenched partisans.

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We are, as Jesse Walker pointed out last May, rerunning many of the same rhetorical themes we saw during the Watergate scandal. There's a reason why this is the year (and those were the wink-wink, nudge-nudges) of Steven Spielberg's The Post. During 1973–74, both sides of the clash greatly hyperbolized the underlying conflict, even while pointing in the direction of some truth. As Walker writes:

Then as now, each side accused the other of plotting a coup. Rumors that Nixon was planning to seize dictatorial powers circulated not just on the political fringes but in official Washington; many of the president's foes feared that fascism was on the way. After Nixon had Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox fired, Rep. Parren Mitchell of Maryland asked, "Will democracy as we have known it survive, or will fascism come to dominate in this country?" West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd compared the move to a "Brownshirt operation."

Meanwhile, the president's defenders tried to write off the Watergate investigation as an attempt to invalidate the election. Some of them still do: Pat Buchanan, a Nixon staffer before he became a media star, marked the 25th anniversary of the break-in with a column calling Watergate "the overthrow of an elected president by a media and political elite he had routed in a 49-state landslide the like of which America had never seen." In more suspicious moments, Nixonites sometimes suggested that some deep-state force—[Baruch] Korff pointed his finger at "the unknown element of the CIA"—had orchestrated Nixon's troubles. (A few figures on the radical left agreed.)

Just as you don't have to think Nixon was a fascist to see the ways he undermined American liberties, you don't have to buy the whole Watergate-was-a-coup story to recognize that it contained at least a few grains of truth. To give the most obvious example, the most famous leaker of the Watergate era, the Washington Post source known as "Deep Throat," was eventually revealed to be Deputy FBI Director Mark Felt. He wasn't trying to overthrow the president, though—he was hoping Nixon would blame Felt's boss for the leaks and make Felt FBI director.

Another narrative-complicating factor is that, arguably, even Watergate wasn't nearly as bad as "Watergate." In the political lexicon, "Watergate" has come to signify every horrific abuse associated with the Nixon administration (and its immediate predecessors), such as the serial surveillance-state skullduggeries unearthed by the post-Watergate Church Committee. The Pentagon Papers, enjoying their latest revival, were largely about the hubris, military escalations, and cowardly face-saving of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, yet they are more associated in the public imagination with the man who tried to suppress their publication. One irony of The Post is that—spoiler alert!—it ends portentously with the break-in at the Watergate hotel, but after two hours of speechifying about the bald-faced lies being used to justify a pointless and murderous war, this particular dirty trick feels like penny-ante stuff.

In terms of affecting and prematurely ending real human beings' lives, many things various presidents have done are, in fact, "worse than Watergate." The Iraq War and Drug War come quickly to mind; it's not hard to compile a long list. But policy disasters and impeachable offenses are just different categories, much as we wish otherwise. Is lying under oath the worst thing Bill Clinton did as president? Hardly. Though it was significantly more serious than, say, Travelgate.

As the Mueller investigation hurtles toward its final act, expect the current pitch of Watergate comparisons and conspiratorial speculations to escalate, and sharply. There will be increased talk, on both sides, of smoking guns, Saturday Night Massacres, and following the money. The intended effect may be to whip up outrage in one direction or the other, but a likely outcome for tens of millions of listeners and readers will be a numb sense of vague alienation.

"When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases," George Orwell memorably observed, "one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them."

Donald Trump has built a lifetime out of surpassing people's expectations, so if anyone could bury the metaphorical ghost of Richard Nixon and Watergate, it might be him. But I wouldn't bet on it.

NEXT: The Great Wall of Trump Is Fighting the Last War

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  1. If slipshod data retention of a high-ranking federal investigator’s phone messages

    No, that’s deleting phone messages, which is worse than 18 min of tape that all you can say is Nixon “likely” (which is probably true) ordered destroyed.

    This whole thing really is worse than Watergate. Skip the cocktail parties and acknowledge the truth.

    1. This is why this slanted media crap is so evil. One side can literally commit any abuses they want and cosmos shrug it off. Imagine if Trump, Bush, or any other R did half this much. Oh wait, that actually happened, and Nixon resigned

      1. The Weigelian scum in the JournoList is now actually trying to claim that a “glitch” “failed to retain” five months worth of messages on every Samsung 5 phone, if you can believe it.

        This is what actually passes for “news” in the so-called “mainstream” media.

        1. Yes and a dozen hard drives manage to fail at exactly the same time.

          No way these people are that fucking stupid. They literally can’t believe it because TEAM BLUE. It’s like a fucking religious belief to these people

          1. That’s the sad part.

            They aren’t trying to fool you.

            They simply do not give a shit and will ignore laws they would string you up by if they wanted to.

            Hell, compare the treatment of, say, Manafort (who will end up being exonerated as Mueller’s team is a fucking clown show) with the entire Clinton team.

            1. No – the really sad part is that the 2016 election featured the two most unpleasant assholes in electoral history. And our punishment is that neither of them are going away. Instead both parties and the media are now going to spend the next four years telling us in excruciating detail exactly how unpleasant those assholes still are.

        2. Yep. And Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed at the same time as a dozen other high-ranking IRS officials embroiled in THAT scandal.

          And Hillary deleted 30,000 emails and all of them were about Chelsea’s wedding plans and yoga classes.

          And the missing texts end on EXACTLY the day that the Mueller’s posting began?

          Sure, all that seems like “not even a smidgen of corruption”…

          1. You forgot cookie recipes.

    2. +10,000 for your user name.

    3. That’s the sentence that told me Matt got his head up his ass. The FBI sends people to jail for “slipshod data retention”, but we are supposed to believe and forgive them for this purely coincidental loss of what can only be harmless communications.

      1. Harmless communication between two extremely powerful Federal employees deeply involved in a major ongoing investigation, an FBI agent and an FBI lawyer who just happen to be engaged in a compromising relationship.

        Yeah, nothing to see here, move along.

        1. The emails could have been buried to hide nothing more sinister than the fact that their affair was common knowledge.

          Which would actually be quite damning, of both them, their peers, and the entire FBI, given the circumstances.

          1. Or maybe they are both just shy. Yeah.

      2. we are supposed to believe and forgive them for this purely coincidental loss of what can only be harmless communications.

        No. If the GOP is actually the party of limited government, then this is exactly the opportunity to deliver a 100% elimination of those departments. Cut the budgets to zero and thus eliminate their jobs. And then move on to accomplishing something else.

        But the GOP is not the party of limited government. It is the party of unlimited inchoate toddler rage.

        1. “No. If the GOP is actually the party of limited government, then this is exactly the opportunity to deliver a 100% elimination of those departments. Cut the budgets to zero and thus eliminate their jobs”

          Some Donkeys would need to go along with this, so it ain’t happening. Not that enough Heffalumps would support it either.

    4. Don’t see and upvote button, so… Amen.

    5. A libertarian magazine should be LOVING the implications of this scandal. Instead, they’re tacitly on the side of the police state because they have some juvenile hatred of Trump.

      It is obnoxious and sad. Reason is libertarian like Democrats are liberals; riding the coattails of those who came before them and slowly siphoning off their credibility.

    6. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

      This is what I do…

  2. A coup d’?tat (/?ku? de??t??/ ( listen); French: []), also known simply as a coup (/ku?/), a putsch (/p?t?/), golpe de estado, or an overthrow, is a type of revolution, where the illegal and overt seizure of a state by the military or other elites within the state apparatus occurs.

    1. Levin has been using the term ‘silent coup’ which seems fairly descriptive. Levin is a crazy person, but he is occasionally correct. It’s looking like this could very well be one of those times.

      1. I don’t know if I would call Levin crazy but he has a bunch of conspiracy theories. More and more of them are just panning out as actual conspiracies by our government officials.

        1. Levin is pretty crazy, but that’s part of the appeal in listening to him at all. Admittedly, most days I have to shut him off because I think he’s 150% wrong (such as a wall, that’s just stupid, but lets not get distracted here). This isn’t one of those things, though.

          1. Mark Levin, right?

            He had some good ideas for Article V constitutional convention amendments some years back.

            1. The only good idea for an Article V convention is not to have one

            2. Why bother amending the Constitution if none of the three branches are going to bother even trying to comply with it anyway? All that would happen is that they’d write some kind of a fig-leaf to give an air of Constitutionality to whatever scheme they have in mind.

          2. Levin is not crazy. What would even lead you to make such a hyperbolic statement?

          3. Then you’re not allowed to have a fence on your property either.

  3. It is funny that after all of these years of hearing about watergate, the only president and expectant presidential candidate to have openly and been proven to have broken the law are Bill Clinton and his wife.

    All of the rest had scapegoats or the investigations never really resulted in convictions or absolute findings.

    And great point. The real crimes of politicians re sending young boys to die on a whim to appease donors and the military-industrial complex job force. What more sinister of evil actions can be thought of than to start wars, kill civilians, bankrupt economies, and drum up nationalist cheerleading just to get re-elected.

    Every US president is guilty of this in some way or form.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it true that the Watergate “coverup was bigger than the crime” originally committed? Let’s assume the texts weren’t really an attempt to take down the President. The deletion of these text messages to save the agency from embarrassment could be potentially worse than Watergate.

    1. It seems no trivial matter to me that the FBI is so blatantly biased and unabashedly not interested in upholding their simplest of missions.

      Who polices the police? It is frightening but I have faith or illusion that this will not happen one day under the GOP or the libertarian party.

    2. The coverup is always worse than the deed. Suppose Bubba had just stepped up and said “yeah, Monica gave me head under the Resolute Desk. Best I ever had”. People would have been outraged, flustered, confusticated … but it would have gone nowhere. Something close enough to the truth had been told and we never know about the blue dress. But appear to be hiding the truth and it’s a different story. Now you excite the hounds and it never seems to stop.

      I caused quite a stir in our neighborhood. Put in a new fence, and now my neighbors had to enter my front yard via the sidewalk. Became known around here as “GateGate”

      1. The coverup is always worse than the deed. Suppose Bubba had just stepped up and said “yeah, Monica gave me head under the Resolute Desk. Best I ever had”. People would have been outraged, flustered, confusticated … but it would have gone nowhere.

        I’ve theorized that the whole Clinton Sex Scandal was actually set up by people in or close to the Clinton camp, simply to draw attention away from Clinton’s *actual* crimes by waving a titilating scandal to occupy everyone’s attention. The country would be more willing to forgive a little sexual misconduct than they would be of selling out the country to foreign interests.

        Besides, I figured the more he was screwing Monica, the less he was screwing the rest of the country.

        1. I always thought the timing of Hazel O Leary bringing up radiation testing was pretty suspect, especially since it just disappeared when it wasn’t creating much of a distraction (despite the efforts of the usual captive media suspects)

  5. Matt Welch you are clueless on this. Go visit America and get out of your media bubble.

    1. It’s just uncanny. Seems like Matt and a critical number of other Reason’s writers have recently started acting retarded. Part of that “secret society” guys? What is it? Anybody seen some suspicious looking pods around lately?

      1. Blackmail by government agencies has to be in play at some point. Everything that can be weaponized will be, and over and over again we have proof and copious hints that government agencies have huge amounts of data gathered on all of us.

        Keep your head down and cover your ass. Obfuscate your data.

  6. The reason we keep hearing “Worse than Watergate” is, paradoxically, because the Political Elite doesn’t really believe that anything IS worse than Watergate. Or, rather, they deeply WANT to believe it. Watergate was largely bullshit. Nixon thought he could get away with the same kind of corner cutting and sweeping-iunder-the-rugs that JFK and LBJ has done routinely. Silly boy, THEY were DEMOCRATS and YOU are a REPUBLICAN.

    Watergate was the peak of Progressive/Democrat power, and they wasted it on a man who was a Big Government RINO, because he’d had the gall to defeat Helen Gahagan Douglas in 1950. Because he used the term ‘Communist’ in a derogatory manner. Because he hurt their feeeeewings. In the aftermath they got Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and have been sliding downhill ever since. Watergate MUST be supremely important, or they must face that they are petty little swine.

  7. I always say “Worse than the Teapot Dome scandal” myself.

    1. You must be as old as Hihn!

      1. Don’t invoke that name.

        1. I know I involuntarily looked around and cringed a little.

  8. Watergate wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar from the 90’s on.

    1. This. Neither would Teapot Dome – which harry Reid tried to reenact.

      Uranium One alone is far worse. Weaponizing the FBI and other agencies against an elected President is most dire crisis in American government since the Civil War.

  9. What does the federal government do to organizations under FBI investigation which exhibit slipshod data retention?

    I think we should be demanding a bit more from the watchers.

    1. Yeah, there’s a lot of hyperbole, but Welch is really giving a pass to the FBI, which is probably doesn’t deserve.

      1. When you worship, adore, and venerate your chocolate messiah, intentionally trying to delete months worth of data becomes known as “slipshod data retention”.

        1. worship, adore, and venerate

          Way to show off that you have a thesaurus, Mikey.

          1. I would have gone with “Mmmm, chocolate”

      2. There is lot of territory between hyperbolic comparisons and no big deal. I don’t understand Welch’s complacency in accepting this as an innocent error.

  10. If you can’t stand the heat, don’t live in a glass house.

  11. Look, we haven’t even worn out Worse than Hitler yet, and Hitler happened like a century before Nixon.

  12. From Hildog’s illegal private server, to Block Yomomma’s wiretapping of the Trump Tower during the election, to John Brennan and James Clapper leaking classified information to the press, it’s pretty understandable why nothing terrifies the Weigelian scum in the JournoList more than an investigation into the real criminals!

    1. One thing scare JournoLists more than the real criminals being exposed – Trump being proven correct that Obama and or his cronies were using the government to spy on his campaign and rig an election.

      1. The facts that are exactly the same about the Watergate case and the currant one under investigation are that a sitting U.S. president conspired to spy on the other party’s political campaign and the “cover up”. The difference is Nixon had an “Ace in the hole”. Ford. It appears to me this article vindicates President Trump’s allegation about Obama spying on the Republican campaign unless people want to deny that any reference to “The Whitehouse” are synonymous with “The President” or in the instant case “Obama’s Whitehouse”. As the world turns Obama Aide Evelyn Farkas volunteered evidence on MSNBC that she encouraged and participated in criminal security leaks. Newsweek reports that President Obama’s Whitehouse approved the FBI director to shoot down the Clinton campaign but forbid disclosure about Russia’s efforts to do exactly that. Why? For fear of exposure. A la 18 minutes of tape. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”. What Nunez seems to have discovered is as the swamp drains there is a snake pit at the bottom.

  13. ah, yes, Watergate. The name everyone associates with political abuses, but have no action grounded knowledge of reality.

    Nixon honorably resigned and removed himself from public life. Whatever he did, he proactively resolved for the good of the country, even doing little to defend himself or his actions in later life. Wouldn’t it be nice to have politicians so selfless that they put country above themselves. Yeh, he was a power-hungry politician, like all of them, but when it mattered, he did the right thing. Nixon should be revered for that.

    What we have now, are politicians and deep state aholes who only care about themselves. Who lie to the public and under oath, about whatever they need to to retain political power. Scum and villainy.
    We would be blessed to have Nixon back.

    1. Nixon should be revered for that.

      I don’t know if I’d go that far. But I think you make a good point. He did take the honorable path. And it’s hard to imagine someone doing that today.

      1. I don’t know if I’d go that far.

        And it’s hard to imagine someone doing that today.

        The man that more quintessentially fits both of these attributes, IMO, is Rumsfeld. Less ‘honorable’ and more ‘not unredeemable to the point of perpetually deserving and ass-kicking’. The depth of my respect or honor extends to the point of me holding my tongue when referring to him and little further.

        1. W generally stays out of the spotlight. It’s what I like best about him.

          1. I’m a big fan of W’s new outsider artist career. He may have missed his calling earlier in life.

          2. W did enough damage, so lets pray that he keeps his mouth closed for his remaining years.

            1. Would that Obama would shut up long enough to learn something from him

      2. Regardless of Nixon’s faults, he loved America and ultimately placed the welfare of the country above his own fate.

        1. Twice.

          1. Indeed.

  14. Watergate was a conspiracy too.

    If Watergate had happened now, would we think it’s as bad? 18 minutes of tape is nothing compared to the evidence they attempt to destroy now.


  15. I would also point out that, as more and more Americans grow old and die, “worse than Watergate” starts to lose all meaning.

    You might as well go around saying “worse than Howdy Doody.” You think you’re saying something meaningful, but we only hear, “I’m really old!”

    1. That’s why Spielberg made “The Post”. So he could revive the era when everyone could get away with demonizing the right.

      1. Actually, that is the exact topic of “The Post”

  16. And as other commentators have pointed out, get out of your damn cocktail circuit leftist bubble. This is already looking worse then anything Nixon could have dreamed of. Not that Nixon wasn’t doing anything other Democrats have done.

    It’s amazing how much time if given to this russia story against Trump, which have no legs at all, yet actual scandals are NOTHING TO SEE HERE

    1. Don’t be so silly. I’m sure the destruction of potentially incriminating evidence was nothing more than an IT malfunction. An accident of some sort. What motive would they have to lie about that? They’re anti-Trump, so you know they’re trustworthy.

      1. Indeed. Reason seems awfully cool with the entire investigation of Hillary being rigged from the word go (cannot possibly drag Obama into it, for ALSO mis-handling confidential emails by emailing to her private email server). Can’t worry that the AG worked with Clinton to set up the meeting to, apparently, advise of the end of the charade.

        And having unaccountable bureaucrats seeking to unseat a President is a nothingburger. DON’T YOU KNOW REFUGEES MIGHT LOSE THEIR TEMPORARY PROTECTIONS AFTER SEVENTEEN FUCKING YEARS!?!?!

        1. Yep. And no biggie that their long time fixers Comey and Mueller and trying desperately to cover it all up with the most transparently baseless investigation ever.

          1. It’s telling that, by accounts, Mueller wants to talk to Trump and not a word will involve anything happening during the campaign.

            Trump should tell him to go fuck himself.

            1. Nobody in their right mind would accept that invitation. His lawyers would probably all threaten to quit before allowing something so stupid.

              Never talk to cops, particularly the Federal cops.

              1. My response would be:

                “I’ll be happy to answer your questions, but you will need to answer mine first”

                Followed by a list of specific questions.

            2. Yes, he should.

              Problem is he is so arrogant he probably thinks he can talk to them and not get trapped.

              1. During his career, Trump has spent a whole lot of time in court. I think he knows to listen to the lawyers.

                1. I would say that is absolutely correct. IIRC Trump has at least two layers with him in all depositions. Good idea if you can afford it.

                  1. Other presidents have gotten the questions in writing and had several days to draft responses. That would be my recommendation to Cheeto-1.

    2. And as other commentators have pointed out, get out of your damn cocktail circuit leftist bubble. This is already looking worse then anything Nixon could have dreamed of. Not that Nixon wasn’t doing anything other Democrats have done.

      Wasn’t Nixon raked over the coals for trying to use the IRS against his foes? I mean, Obama SPECIFICALLY did so. For years. And when investigated, they simply destroyed about a dozen hard drives to avoid providing evidence.

      Nixon was a piker.

      1. Nixon didn’t have “nothing to see here, let’s move on” types like Welch in his corner.

      2. Nixon merely talked about it. Obama did it.

    3. Surfing around last night, YouTube recommended MSNBC’s hour-long special report on the Trump Investigation. It was all about how Trump is dead to rights to get hauled up on obstruction of justice. Not a peep about the “four-page memo”, 50,000 lost text messages, “secret society”, “insurance policy”, the Clinton fix, etc. A dozen talking heads and not a single apologist for Trump.

  17. Yes, Welch, the FBI losing 5 months of texts between employees during an investigation is nothing. Just like the IRS losing tons of emails after a subpoena. Or Hillary erasing tons of emails after a subpoena.

    Hell, it’s the FBI. No chance they’re hiding stuff.

    1. If this matters so much to you, I can’t imagine how frazzled you are over the Trump stuff.

      1. Over the Trumo staff doing what exactly?

        1. The alleged crimes being investigated committed by Trump, his family, and certain former staffers already indicted.

          You may be able to fool some of the mouth-breathing idiots who watch FOX News with these absurd distractions, but Bob Mueller is a different story.

          1. Trump is only being investigated due to a trumped up dossier that the FBI was involved in making along with the DNC. An investigation based on lies

            1. Lets not forget there were ‘never trump’ Republicans involved in putting that dossier together as well. It’s a bipartisan conspiracy, it would seem.

            2. LOL, no. The original funder of the dossier was a Republican, a donor who also donated to Nunes.

              The dossier was NOT the cause of the investigation by the FBI, it was a Drumpf campaign insider.

              Go fuck yourself now.

          2. None of whom have been indicted on any charges related to election shenanigans.

            But then, facts are tricky things for you Tony.

          3. The alleged crimes being investigated committed by Trump, his family, and certain former staffers already indicted.

            You mean the literal nothing after, what, 18 months of investigating?

            1. you cannot even add! Since May of 2017…no, not 18 months.

              And “nothing” so far has led to two guilty pleas, and two indictments.
              Go fuck yourself now

              1. Guilty of nothing related to the campaign. So you might try removing head from ass.

          4. Tony, just end your own life already. Really.

      2. If this matters so much to you, I can’t imagine how frazzled you are over the Trump stuff.

        I’ve seen Trump’s team turning over info while the FBI is specifically not doing so and “losing” it. Ooopsie.

        They mocked Woods explanation for the erasing of 16 minutes of tapes — but “Well, these phones had a weird glitch that erased 5 key months of texts…and no, you cannot see it nor will we tell you how many OTHER phones had this problem” is nothing.

    2. The federal alphabet soup has been leaning on “the dog ate our homework” excuses a lot in the past few years

  18. Every ‘slipshod data retention’ problem, every ‘server failure’, every ‘editing mistake’, every ‘misunderstanding’ favors one side–and, in many cases the ‘errors’ cover only the specific item requested–and Reason claims there’s nothing to see here?

    1. Funny that a publication so otherwise incensed by government malfeasance is nonplussed by a pattern of ‘lost’ documentation.

      There is more credible indication that the Obama administration abused it’s power than the whole Trump Russia collusion investigation has provided to date.

      1. It’s a losing fight, to be sure, but nonplussed means “surprised and confused so much that one is unsure how to react”. Alas, because people who don’t know the meaning of the word are using it to mean the opposite–e.g., unperturbed, as used here–that dictionaries are now including the incorrect usage as an informal definition.

        Seems that the thinking is that nonplussed means, well, NOT plussed, whatever plussed means. People who have heard it used have some concept that it has something top do with being confused, so “plussed” must mean “confused” (somehow?). And therefore nonplussed OBVIOUSLY must mean NOT CONFUSED.

        Oops. Oh well.

        P.S. inflammable does NOT mean cannot catch fire. Indeed, it actually means something more close to “likely to burst into flame at the slightest provocation”.

        Moral: don’t trust prefixes that aren’t really prefixes.

        1. Unperturbed is an accepted synonym for nonplussed.

          While I agree that words in the English language are often more like electron clouds than finite points, the word does work for how Reason has responded (or, mainly failed to respond) to the obvious faults of the Federal government in this situation.

          Although, I would also add that, IMO their visible response, while appearing to largely miss the boat about the ramifications of the apparent FBI malfeasance, is also largely an affectation..

          So yes, by using nonplussed I was also seeking to imply there was an element of “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” evidenced by Welch’s commentary .

  19. And the latest desperate right-wing manufactured scandal has sunk its teeth into the morons.

    This is obvs. worse than Watergate. Maybe even worse than Fast and Furious. Dare I say it, worse than Benghazi?

    After all, an FBI agent had a wife who voted for Hillary Clinton. A trial may be too much mercy. Just hang ’em all.

    1. You really are an empty vessel in service to the progressives, aren’t you?

      1. Says the guy holding a “Release the Memo!” placard right this very second.

        1. He means that you are a partisan hack. Which you are.

          Anything lefties do is fine. Anything anyone else does is “worse than Watergate”.

    2. Hillary will get her fair trial after she is indicted.

    3. its sad that you marxists are so fucking stupid. You don’t realize that you are always the first to the gulags.

      1. It will be different this time.

        /every leftist ever

    4. When you compare the seriousness of the charges against the Drumpftenstein (collusion with foreign agents, conspiracy, treason, assault against democracy) with the evidence against the FBI and Hillary (What? Missing evidence? What does that prove?), then the contrast is abundantly clear:

      The FBI’s “issues” are a big nothing burger.

      The Drumptenslaggen is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, most of which are capital crimes.

      Please, Mueller: stop the terror that is Drumptlings.

      1. When is the anniversary of Mueller’s nothing burger?

      2. Please tell me that is sarcasm.

  20. What people need to admit is that the FBI is corrupt to some degree and always has been.

    Local and state police have the FBI that can come in a clean house. The FBI maybe has the DOJ and Congress, which are political organizations.

    FBI unconstitutionally snooped on political undesirables, actively sought to destroy people, and used personal info to blackmail people under J. Edgar Hoover. Now some FBI agents are politically biased to let Hillary skate from indictment and destroy evidence.

    Clean house in the FBI.

    1. I’m not sure one can change the FBI to be anything other than what it was under Hoover. it appears that what it’s doing right now is what it was designed to do all along.

      1. Maybe not. Shut down the FBI.

        Reduce all federal criminal laws to a handful of offenses and have the DOJ assign special investigators to any federal crime committed from a pool of apolitical investigators. All other crimes, let the police forces in states handle it.

  21. This is Welch demonstrating that he too can write a “Republicans Pounce” article.

    Bravo Matty, bravo.

    1. He will next go Full Schecky and paper us with the open border sillyness.

  22. There have been far, far too many suspicious goings on at the Federal level concerning FISA courts and the behavior of our intelligence services and federal law enforcement to assume that anything is innocent at this point.

    I had more respect for Welch than this, but apparently it was misplaced. He’s somehow suspicious of the Las Vegas shooting completely vanishing from the News Cycle, yet THIS gets a ‘meh’ from him? That’s some professional level ignoring of suspicious facts.

    The Fed’s are laughing at us. They’re essentially breaking the law out in the open at this point, daring anyone to try and come at them.

  23. What DO they serve at these cocktails?

  24. I phrase the question of the hour this way: who can provably be said to have done more to influence the election of 2016, to include trying to weaken and oust the winner of the presidential contest?

    (A) The Russians, who clearly probed the election machinery at state and local levels and discovered that won’t work as a practical means of changing vote counts.

    (B) The Russians. who allegedly used every normal contact that any Russian person or organization whatsoever might reasonably be expected to have with any people or organization whatsoever associated with Donald J. Trump or his campaign to somehow collude and produce the election win.

    (C) The Russians, who may have spent up to $100K on Facebook advertising that favored Trump over Hillary?

    (D) FBI, DOJ, and NSA officials who may have colluded with the Clinton campaign to guarantee that the investigation of Hillary’s blatant flouting of security protocols, laws, and rules concerning official communications would not be conducted with due diligence.

    (E) FBI, DOJ, and NSA officials who colluded with the Clinton campaign to insure that a dossier purposefully produced as campaign smear fodder would be used for FISA un-maskings. In turn this would fuel an open-ended, well-financed investigation of topics (A) and (B) by many of the same agents involved in (D).

    1. The dossier was originally pulled together by other Republicans to primary Trump. It was the Washington Free Beacon that funded it.

      1. Nope. They did hire Fusion GPS to do oppo research on Trump, but Steele and the dossier came after Trump won the nomination and the WFB dropped Fusion and Hilary and the DNC picked them up.

  25. when I was in college, I don’t think anyone ever called my penis “worse than watergate”.

    1. But did you break into places that you weren’t supposed to be, flip stuff over, waive a giant stick around, then deny that you were ever there?

      1. i can’t deny there are some similarities.

    2. If they ever find it, they may

  26. If Trump testifies under oath he’ll be at high risk of committing perjury. He doesn’t know what the truth is and he loves to blab.

    1. What were the words Obama used- “Executive Privilege”?

      1. An oldie but a goodie. If I’m not mistaken the first modern President to assert that claim was Nixon. There is more alike between Nixon and Obama than people like to think … other than that Nixon had a profound grasp of foreign policy while Obama was never more than a dilettante and closeted ally with states that would be our enemes

  27. I’m inclined to agree on one idea: it IS time put the term ‘Watergate’ to bed as an ad hoc adjective for things we find repulsive in politics. If for no other reason its that Woodward and Dean have been coasting intellectually for so many decades now that… anyone publishing them needs their pulse checked, with a complementary brain scan just to make sure. Are we really going to compare a few minutes of missing tape to months of missing messages, an array of destroyed hardware, and tens of thousands of emails destroyed? That puts a minnow in the whale family: sure they swim in the same area, but that doesn’t make them same species. Nixon thought about weaponizing the IRS, but Obama did it for real. The list is long, so I’ll leave it alone – the full interleaving of DOJ, State, IRS and FBI goal tending for special people to circumvent the law in conspiratorial fashion is a logarithmic leap that exceeds Nixon’s wildest paranoid moments. If nothing else indicates, what are the odds that political contributions [from inside an agency] go 99% to one candidate in any election? Before 2016, I would have bet the farm against that, regardless of names on the ballot. A solar eclipse and winning the lottery are more common events.

  28. I was 23 when the Senate Watergate hearings took place. I was able to watch them from gavel-to-gavel, due to the fact my marijuana-possession case was dismissed, with prejudice, and rather unemployable. To say I was rooting against Nixon would be an understatement.

    But Watergate was, in fact, a third-rate burglary, notwithstanding the cover-up. And should either scenario be the reality; that Trump was complicit with the Ruskies, or that the Obama FBI and DOJ were corrupt, it will certainly eclipse Watergate. My money is on Obama and his felonious minions.

    Matt makes a solid point when addressing the other, more egregious and nefarious Nixon follies. The drug war is not only unconstitutional, but it is the worst policy experiment since slavery, and a good case can be made it’s worse. For that, Nixon deserved everything he got – except Ford’s pardon.

  29. Apparently no one remembers that “Watergate” was a third rate burglary of the DNC in the Watergate complex that the Nixon administration tried to cover up with the advice of Nixon’s AG Mitchell to “stonewall it”. If attorney advisor, John Dean didn’t get cold feet and “sing like a bird”, we might never have seen the resignation of Nixon (for lying) and never have blown up this simple break in of a Democrat office which held no national secrets to be exposed. The “Watergate” criminal acts were small potatoes compared to what the present day democrats have done for decades and have been escalating. The REAL criminals today are the NWO leftists who lie on their oath of office and call themselves “democrats”. Those liars and anti-constitution, anti-Americans are being assisted by the nefarious “establishment right” who are equally adept at destroying our sovereignty for the NWO.

  30. 50,000 text messages in 5 months. That’s close to some Reason commentariat output. Is working for the FBI like living in your mom’s basement?
    Did anybody check Hillary’s old closet at the White House for the missing texts? You never know what you’ll find in Hillary’s closet.

  31. Even youngsters that know little about “Watergate” except that Nixon resigned over it should know the phrase, “It was “the appearance of impropriety” that brought Nixon down. Attempts by both the Departments of State and Justice to conceal records wreak of the “the appearance of impropriety”.
    It took the Globalists 8 years to stack the State, Justice and Security departments under the Obama administration with totally bias establishment Globalist pandering sycophant partisans and appear to be complicit in a cover up of willful impropriety.
    In order for Clinton to carry Obama’s torch, she has to stay out of prison. In order to do that, she has to avoid prosecution. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also made this point clear during the daily briefing.
    “I’m sure Obama made that very clear to his somewhat new Attorney General.” ( Press Secretary Josh Earnest Posted: Jun 09, 2016 ) Then Lynch got it even more clear from W. J. Clinton and made the poor maligned Comey the “fall guy”. Obviously a Russian plot to interfere with U.S. free and fare elections?
    Please don’t make us buy his book to find out.

  32. “I have no recollection of those events as you have described them, Senator”

  33. This site needs to have a way to upvote (and downvote) posts. Come on, Reason, can you advance into the 90s with the rest of us?

  34. Matt, don’t look a gift metaphor in the mouth.

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