Home Opinions Uncovering Trump’s watergate

Uncovering Trump’s watergate

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Illustration by Haley Prieto | Staff Illustrator

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are perhaps America’s most famous pair of investigative reporters, not only because they were the subject of a 1976 Academy Award-winning movie, but for single-handedly pursuing an investigation into the Watergate scandal which ultimately contributed to the fall of Richard Nixon.

Today’s political scandals – Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, unfair business practices within the President’s cabinet, etc. – have assured the transcendence of national investigative journalism into the age of Trump, roles held by Woodward and Bernstein some 43 years ago.

The parallels between the Nixon and Trump presidencies extend past the press and past the men themselves. Rather, the two also feature high-profile scandals that have engulfed their senior officials.

The recent indictment of President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort shares a striking historical parallel to the Watergate era. Former Attorney General of the United States and eventual Nixon campaign manager John Mitchell was indicted for obstruction of justice and perjury.

Several senior ranking officials, most notably Maurice Stans and H.R. Haldeman of the Nixon campaign and Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos of the Trump campaign were indicted for lying to the FBI and for obstruction of justice, in addition to a slew of other charges.

Though the tools used in investigative reporting have transformed from typewriters and rotary phones to encryption apps and anonymous emails, the work and importance of investigative journalists are just as, if not more important than ever in maintaining the health of our democracy.

The spirit of discovering the unknown, work ethic and dogged pursuit of truth found in Woodward and Bernstein can be found in Washington Post report David Fahrenthold.

The 39-year-old Houstonian broke the story to a shocked American electorate and an emboldened candidate Hillary Clinton of a recording in which Trump made sexually expletive remarks about grabbing women’s genitals during the filming of an episode of NBC’s Access Hollywood back in 2005. This is in addition to a bombshell expose on Trump’s personal charity failing to live up to the claim that it donated large sums of the foundation’s funds to various veterans’ organizations.

Investigative journalists have and continue to hold elected officials accountable with the understanding that no one, including the President of the United States, is above the law or scrutiny of the press.

The investigative journalism team at the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and New York Times fulfill the press’ sacred and necessary role of keeping the American people informed on their government. It is essential that the dissemination of news and information on the political pursuits of the President and members of his administration come not from the President’s twitter account or a carefully crafted statement put out by the White House Press Office, but by a free and independent press with the resources, funding and personnel needed to ensure what politicians say and do is indeed the truth.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Man wouldnt it be funny if once AGAIN there was a leak/release that all of this stuff is made up by butt hurt people who just want to see him out of office… News flash for people… If he fails, then we as a country will be in a very bad position… I dont personally like the guy but given what we were offered…. Id rather see him succeed since you know…. thats good for the country and Im not a childish selfish person who only thinks about my wants and needs…. put that in your pipe and smoke it…

    • I don’t believe that the issue that needs to be addressed is whether or not the author, or other people that may oppose the current administration, want to see the President fail, but rather if Congress will work to enact justice on any person who may have colluded with a foreign power in a way that would constitute prosecution. Our country will not “be in a very bad position” if the President fails. Setting aside the claim that the current Russia investigation is set up by “people who want to see him out of office,” this idea that the country would fail if he was found guilty seem to be an excuse for avoiding what could very much be necessary justice. As for your desire to see the President be successful, your idea of “success” is likely to very different than mine or anybody else’s. If wanting to see justice enacted fairly is “childish” or makes a person “selfish” then I think that our standards as a country have fallen very far.

      • While I get your point and the point you are attempting to make, my point still stands. I also agree that we need a harsher penalty and investigation into “collusion” however on more than a handful occasions through secondary investigations there has been irrefutable proof of actual collusion of a multitude of characters including the opponent of the current executive power and those in the company of, and yet we still choose to focus on allegations of an almost year long investigation now, that so far has turned up nothing. So yes while you are absolutely correct, in the bigger picture you need to look around and acknowledge the double standard that clearly exists in general whether its political or Hollywood, your professors, CEOs etc. To focus on the President as if this is some first time occurrence and the only occurrence is nothing more than petty and laughable. If any progress is to be made, it HAS to be made by we the people to remove those in power. However; that same corruption keeps them in place screwing us further.

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