Reports on Monday revealed the latest ploy by President Donald Trump’s lawyers to strike a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller — and as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted, a similar compromise took place during the Watergate scandal.
In an attempt to exonerate himself after the revelations of White House tapes regarding the Watergate break-in was revealed, President Richard Nixon proposed a compromise — he’d not only release to his special counsel, Archibald Cox, a transcript of the tapes, but would also have a seemingly neutral lawmaker compare the transcripts to the audio.
The only problem? The lawmaker, John Stennis, a “pro-Nixon, Dixiecrat senator” from Mississippi, “was famously deaf.”
The episode became infamously known as the “Stennis Compromise.” When Cox refuted Nixon’s offer, the president went down the line at the Justice Department to get someone to fire him — an episode that, even more infamously, became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” after his attorney general and deputy AG resigned in protest of the request.
“Ultimately, a new special counsel was appointed,” Maddow said. “And that was all she wrote for the Nixon administration.”
The host proceeded to note that Trump’s lawyer’s latest “gambit” — offering Mueller “written descriptions that chronicle key moments under investigation” in hopes that Mueller won’t ask the president about them in person — resembles the Stennis Compromise.
“The records do not include Trump’s personal version of events but provide a narrative of the White House view,” the Washington Post‘s report on the document turnover, which Maddow read on air, noted.
“Trump’s lawyers hope this evidence eliminates the need to ask the president about some of these episodes,” the host continued, citing the Post‘s reporting. “Raise your hand if this is gonna make this whole problem for the White House go away.”
Watch below, via MSNBC: