A former member of the House Judiciary Committee, which recommended three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, said that the White House’s initial response to the guilty plea by a campaign adviser to President Donald Trump has remarkable parallels to the Nixon White House on Watergate.
Appearing with MSNBC host Ali Velshi, ex-Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY) drew upon her knowledge of what went down before President Richard Nixon resigned, and said that Trump aide George Papadopoulos could be the first domino to topple in a line that could eventually bring down Trump.
As host Velshi noted about Papadopoulos, his “plea agreement says the government will inform the sentencing judge of Papadopoulos’ cooperation with the investigation, which is going to determine what penalty he pays. They seem to be hanging the idea over him that if he cooperates fully, there may be no sentence whatsoever.”
Turning to his guest, the MSNBC host asked Holtzman — who was the co-author of the bill that provided for a special prosecutor — what might be happening in the Mueller probe.
“You were with us yesterday when this was all unfolding,” Velshi began. “Something interesting came up while we were talking yesterday. That is that the president has been seething about this, that he’s really, really mad and when he gets really mad about something that happens in the Mueller investigation we start to hear this talk about getting rid of Robert Mueller.”
“There would be holy hell to pay,” Holtzman said echoing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).” And that word would be impeachment. Will they do that? Who knows? And the president is, you know, he is not all together controllable in this. I don’t know what he’s going to do and it’s very dangerous.”
“I think their efforts to downplay Papadopoulos… I mean, it just brings back Watergate memories,” she recalled. “You know? Ron Ziegler, the [Nixon] press secretary described the Watergate break-in as a ‘third rate burglary,’ meaning it was insignificant.”
“A coffee boy, a gopher, a nobody. he’s a nothing,” she emphasized. “But that ‘third rate burglary’ brought the president down. Papadopoulos could bring this president down. Not that he has that information personally but a he is part of that mosaic. One of the things you left out of that wonderful diagram you had of the events was that there was a person from the campaign who did go to Russia after these requests for the meeting with Donald Trump, and that was carter page.”
“So at some point there are some in the president’s circle who are cooperative with this investigation and get everything out there and have it end sooner than later,” the MSNBC host pressed.
“Well, they may be, but the point is this may not be able to end in a way that’s helpful or good to him because it looks as though Paul Manafort — who is at the very top of the pyramid, right next to Donald Trump — was getting e-mails from Papadopoulos, and giving instructions to the campaign as to how to act on them,” she explained. “So Papadopoulos wasn’t discarded or treated like a nothing or a nobody by Manafort, who was the campaign manager. He took action based on that.”
Watch the video below via MSNBC: