Watergate prosecutor says Mueller lacked the ‘leverage’ over Trump associates that broke open the case against Nixon
Donald Trump and Richard Nixon (Composition / RawStory)

On Thursday, Nick Akerman, an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution force revealed the stark differences between Nixion and special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

He explained in the New York Times, that while there are similarities such as the number of lies Nixion and President Donald Trump used to cover up their actions that one difference impacted the outcome.

"Presidents Nixon and Trump repeatedly lied to the American people to cover up their conduct, and the head prosecutor in each case chose not to indict a sitting president but rather to provide Congress with a “road map” for impeachment should Congress choose to pursue it," he wrote.

Akerman explained, "But there is a major difference between the two, and it is crucial to understanding how the Mueller report should be read: the distinction between physical and intangible property."

He went on to explain that in the digital age, Mueller dealt with an entirely new challenge and set of data.

"In Watergate, the burglars were caught by the police during the break-in at the scene of the crime," he said. "They were arrested, photographed, fingerprinted and jailed. Police officers collected crime scene physical evidence, and investigators subsequently obtained additional corroborating evidence — telephone records, bank statements, airline tickets, and hotel invoices. The vast accumulation of physical evidence was vital to securing the criminal convictions of the burglars — who, slapped with stiff prison sentences, revealed their connections with the Nixon campaign."

"Mr. Mueller did not have that kind of leverage in his investigation of Americans tied to the Trump campaign and any potential connection to Russia’s 'sweeping and systematic' interference in the 2016 election," he said.

"With the hacking of D.N.C. computers, Mr. Mueller did an impressive job of compiling a strikingly detailed narrative of thieves and their methods. Twelve Russians were indicted, but none have been arrested. That is because the Russian hackers were not physically present at the D.N.C., but were thousands of miles away, often sitting at computer terminals in an office building in Moscow out of the reach of American law enforcement," he said.

He wrote, "As a consequence, Mr. Mueller and his team faced a much more difficult task than the one that confronted Watergate investigators."

He then bashed Attorney General Bill Barr over his vague summary of the report.

"It also should be clear that a proper reading of the Mueller report does not offer the “exoneration” President Trump and Attorney General Barr has claimed. Rather, the report, like the “road map” from the Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, provides a factual record of wrongdoing," he said.

Read the full column here.