To many Americans, though certainly not all, it is clear that in little over two years in the White House, Donald Trump has dragged the United States ever deeper into the very Washington swamp he vowed to drain.
In fact, it quotes presidential historian Jon Meachem as saying the broad picture of Trump and Russian meddling on his behalf in the 2016 election “transcends scandal — it’s a national crisis in the sense of a period of elevated stakes, high passions, and possibly permanent consequences.”
“Even without seeing Robert Mueller’s report, or knowing what prosecutors with the Southern District of New York have unearthed,” Axios writes, “or what congressional investigators will find, we already have witnessed the biggest political scandal in American history.”
It says only two scandals in history can be compared with Trump-Russia, both historically infamous: Watergate and Teapot Dome.
Watergate, which eventually led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation, was triggered by the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington’s Watergate office complex — and, notably, by the Nixon administration’s frenzied efforts to cover up the crime.
Teapot Dome was a bribery scandal in the 1920’s, while Warren G. Harding was president; it involved oil leases in the west, notably the Teapot Dome Oil Field in Wyoming. Harding’s Interior Secretary, Albert Fall, became the first U.S. cabinet secretary to go to prison.
Axios says historians consider “both Watergate and Teapot Dome … more limited [than Trump-Russia] because a foreign power wasn’t a central player, and a much narrower band of potential offenses was under investigation.”
These include blatant hypocrisy on Trump’s part when it comes to undocumented immigration. Hohmann says the Post has interviewed “33 immigrants who lacked legal status when they worked for the president’s clubs … underscoring anew the degree to which he doesn’t practice what he preaches.”
Hohmann adds that “Fueled by leads and names provided to them by former Trump Organization senior executive Michael Cohen, House Democrats are preparing to perform a veritable colonoscopy of the president’s businesses.” (Emphasis added.)
Axios outlines what it characterizes as a sprawling, six-part scandal bedeviling Trump and his administration:
1. “Trump secretly paid hush money to two mistresses on the eve of his presidential victory, and lied about it. His longtime personal lawyer is going to prison after carrying out the scheme on his behalf.
2. “During the presidential campaign, Trump confidantes continued negotiating for a tower in Moscow, potentially one of Trump’s most lucrative deals ever. He hid this from the public and lied about it.”
3. “Russian officials had more than 100 contacts with Trump associates during the campaign and transition, including his son, his closest adviser, his lawyer, and his campaign manager. The Russians offered assistance in undermining Hillary Clinton. The FBI and other government authorities weren’t alerted about this effort to subvert our election.”
4. “Michael Flynn was national security adviser at the same time U.S. intelligence officials believed he was compromised by the Kremlin. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.”
5. “Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and told NBC’s Lester Holt it was at least in part because of the Russia investigation.”
6. “Trump overruled the advice of his lawyers and intelligence experts, and granted his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a top-secret clearance. This so alarmed his White House chief of staff John Kelly that he recorded his opposition in a memo. Trump and his family repeatedly denied he had interfered.”
Axios notes that there are no historical parallels for scandals 2, 3, 4 or 6.
Yet, it says, “Trump himself might survive all of this — and even more. Republican voters seem basically unmoved by the mounting evidence.”