Trump's crime spree was made possible by previous Republican presidents: historian
Donald Trump and Richard Nixon

Donald Trump's ability to avoid indictment — so far — for a multitude of criminal acts was likely made possible by former President Gerald Ford's decision in 1974 that allowed disgraced former President Richard Nixon to walk away from criminal charges over the Watergate scandal.

That is the opinion of Watergate scholar Garrett M. Graff in a column for the New York Times.

As he wrote, Trump faces the possibility of a bevy of indictments from both the Department of Justice and from a jury in Georgia, and it is up to prosecutors to make the unprecedented decision to attempt to send a former president to jail.

According to the historian, Trump likely would not have gone to the lengths that he has gone to subvert the 2020 presidential election — to say nothing of paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their alleged affair — if he did not have the possibility of a pardon on the horizon – and that also makes prosecutors hesitant.

In his essay, Graff wrote, "It’s a fascinating 'what if?' to imagine how putting Nixon on trial would and should have had a chilling effect on future chief executives."

Continuing in that vein, he added, "How much of the turmoil of the Trump years — his alleged obstruction of the Mueller investigation, his stoking of election denial and more — would have been avoided if aides had been able to point out a possible presidential room at a federal prison like the one in Otisville, N.Y., where Mr. Cohen ended up for his role in the Daniels cover-up?"

According to the historian, special counsel Jack Smith and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis shouldn't let historical precedent constrain them from going after a former president who willfully broke the law because one of his GOP predecessors got away with it with an assist from another Republican president while others served time for their part in the Watergate scandal that rocked the nation.

He concluded, "Today, as Ms. Willis, Mr. Bragg and Mr. Smith weigh whether to bring charges against Mr. Trump, they’d be well served to think of Mr. Ben-Veniste and Mr. Frampton’s arguments. The decision to charge dozens of Nixon aides, and not the former president himself 'while he lived in remote splendor with his ex-president’s perquisites intact,' they wrote, 'was morally repugnant; it reeked of the most basic unfairness.'"

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