Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre was the hinge point of the Watergate scandal. The words coup and Third Reich were thrown around. The events of that weekend in October 1973 marked the beginning of the end of Nixon’s Presidency. Do they hold a lesson for today? President Trump has started his term of office exercising power in a similar fashion. His firing of the acting Attorney General Sally Yates has echoes of the Saturday Night Massacre. Nixon said, “If the President does it, it’s not illegal.” Trump acts as if he thinks that is the way the world works. But Nixon found out even his own Republican Party didn’t think that was true. Will Trump? This is an essay from my archive and it offers a chance to reflect on how American politics has changed in the more than four decades since the Watergate scandal.
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