In a comprehensive piece for the Washington Post, legendary Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Berstein used their experiences covering the Senate hearings 50 years ago that eventually sent Richard Nixon packing, to the impending congressional hearings by a House select committee investigating the Jan 6th insurrection that will begin this Thursday, and claimed that what Nixon did pales in comparison to Donald Trump's attack on democracy.
The two journalists whose steadfastness in reporting on the Watergate break-in led to Nixon's resignation and fall into disgrace, wrote for the Post that they have no doubt that the twice-impeached Trump is guilty of sedition by virtue of his conspiring with others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Put more bluntly, they wrote that Trump's post-election actions made him the "first seditious president in our history."
According to their analysis, on Jan 6th, "driven by Trump’s rhetoric and his obvious approval, a mob descended on the Capitol and, in a stunning act of collective violence, broke through doors and windows and ransacked the House chamber, where the electoral votes were to be counted. The mob then went in search of Pence — all to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Trump did nothing to restrain them."
As the journalist noted, unlike Nixon's "dirty tricks," Trump, "...accomplished his subversion largely in public. He pursued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election process from campaign rally podiums, the White House and his popular Twitter feed. Nonetheless, he lost 61 of his court challenges, even from judges he had appointed," before adding, "After Election Day, Trump began another, more deadly assault on the electoral process."
After detailing Trump's efforts up to and after the Jan 6th riot, Woodward and Bernstein pointed out some similarities between the recently ousted president and Nixon who realized he had lost support in Congress making staying in office untenable.
"Both Nixon and Trump created a conspiratorial world in which the U.S. Constitution, laws and fragile democratic traditions were to be manipulated or ignored, political opponents and the media were 'enemies,' and there were few or no restraints on the powers entrusted to presidents," they wrote. "Trump’s claims have always been presented with unwavering, emotional consistency, revealing little or no self-doubt. As the 2024 election approaches, Trump seems on the verge of once again seeking the presidency."
Having written that, they added, "Both Nixon and Trump have been willing prisoners of their compulsions to dominate, and to gain and hold political power through virtually any means. In leaning so heavily on these dark impulses, they defined two of the most dangerous and troubling eras in American history, before warning, "As Washington warned in his Farewell Address more than 225 years ago, unprincipled leaders could create 'permanent despotism,' 'the ruins of public liberty,' and 'riot and insurrection.'"
You can read the highly comprehensive piece here.