"Patriots are not revolutionaries trying to overthrow the government of the United States.
Patriots are Counter-Revolutionaries trying to prevent the government from overthrowing the Constitution."
The Coach’s Team (TCT) offers the best in conservative essays along with articles taken from various internet sites. The victory of Donald Trump has provided a God-sent opportunity to reverse the years of willful damage done our nation by Barack Hussein Obama.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Davis Hanson compares and contrasts the decades-old assault by the national media
against Richard Nixon with the recent efforts of the same group to provide
support and cover for Hillary Clinton and the rest of the far left ‘corruptocrats.’
Though a fairly lengthy read, those who take the time will be amply rewarded as
we are with every VDH piece.
The Watergate break-in is now 45
years old. The scandal is as distant from our own time as it was once from
1928. The median age of Americans is about 38 years old. Half of all Americans
were likely born after the break-in. But Watergate is hardly ancient history.
The fumes of Watergate waft around
the current FISA-gate scandal. The now septuagenarians Carl Bernstein and Bob
Woodward, of All the President’s Men fame, are back in the news. As
seasoned crusading reporters, they currently offer admonitions that Donald
Trump is replaying the role of a supposedly paranoid and imperious Richard
But is he? The two investigative
journalists who first brought Watergate to public attention are certainly not
wrong about parallels—but not in the way they imagine. FISA-gate is becoming
Watergate turned upside down. The respective roles of the government, liberal
Democrats, civil libertarians, and the White House are now reversed—and this
turnaround is, in a strange way, redefining Watergate itself.
In 1973-74, civil libertarians were
shocked at White House efforts to use the CIA to suppress information about the
break-in at the Watergate complex and the subsequent efforts to hide or
misrepresent it. They were rightly outraged that the Nixon reelection campaign
broke the law in efforts to find dirt on Democrats. They were incredulous that
the White House used hush money to silence those charged with the crime, and to
hide the origins and transference of such payments.
In 2018, however, the FBI and the CIA
were said to have good reason to have once trafficked in purchased campaign
dirt. The Clinton campaign in 2016 paid a private law firm and Fusion/GPS
consultants millions of dollars for myths supplied by the Russians to create
pejorative fantasies about Trump-Russian collusion. Clinton-paid Fusion/GPS
operatives, then sought to plant and authenticate their wild stories with the FBI,
the State Department, perhaps the CIA, and certainly sympathetic news
organizations. Only by dogged subpoenas and lawsuits has the public discovered
who commissioned the Trump dossier, or how it was manipulated to obtain
court-approved surveillance of American citizens.
Nixon defenders used to discount
Watergate as a “three-bit” break-in without larger ramifications. Liberals
rightly demurred. They correctly argued that when a presidential campaign hired
operatives to break the law to monitor its rival Democratic counterpart, it was
likely only the tip of the iceberg—symptomatic of larger Nixon administration
abuses of government power.
Yet it is now progressive defenders
of Hillary Clinton who allege that former Trump foreign-policy advisor Carter
Page—who was likely illegally surveilled through the improper use of
Clinton-funded smear documents—is a nobody. This time around, the incident that
broke open the scandal is not a window into high crimes and misdemeanors; it is
written off as irrelevant.
In Watergate, investigative reporters
tried their best to discover whether the FBI and the CIA were doing Nixon’s
bidding. They largely came up empty. Nixon-era federal investigative and
intelligence agencies properly resisted most presidential pressure to cover-up
crimes under the guise of “national security.” Not now. In FISA-gate, the
FBI colluded with the Clinton campaign by using the latter’s oppositional smear
document as the basis to spy on those associated with the campaign of her
rival. If in 1973, federal agencies refused to cooperate with President Nixon,
it seems during the present scandal that they were weaponized to discredit
During the Watergate scandal, a
courageous and activist federal judge, John Sirica, did not believe phony stories
that the original burglars had acted on their own. He helped to gain their
cooperation and confessions—and he forced the Nixon administration to hand over
tapes of private presidential conversations.
But there is no such judge now. The
judiciary is on the other side of the equation. Apparently, compliant FISA
court judges asked few questions when they approved FBI and Department of
Justice requests to snoop on an American citizen—on the basis of Clinton’s
purchased oppositional research dossier and news stories that were birthed by
the dossier. Nor did FISA judges apparently bother to ask the FBI and DOJ
officials whether they trusted the very author of the dossier, Christopher
Steele—who had been earlier fired by the FBI for lying. Nor have judges yet
investigated whether defendants were either indicted or coerced into
confessions by the FBI’s use of improperly obtained surveillance.
The popular credo in 1973-74 was
“follow the money.” Both journalists and authorities were supposed to ferret
out who paid for stonewalling and covering up the truth. The rationale was that
the cash trail would lead eventually to high Nixon officials or even to Nixon
Again, not now. The fact that Clinton
paid for the Steele dossier that was likely the excuse to spy on American
citizens does not seem to matter. Nor are reporters worried that the FBI has
admitted it considered paying Steele for more dirt, until he broke his
agreement and leaked to journalists. The CIA also is alleged to have paid
Russian sources for anti-Trump gossip, under the guise of seeking
cyber-security information. In 2018, no one is worried that a political
campaign may have funded the entire wild goose chase of a Trump and Russia
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team
has recently indicted thirteen Russians on various charges of fraud. Yet none
of them will be extradited from Russia. None of them are charged with collusion
with the Trump campaign—the original Mueller mandate. In contrast, the author
of the Fusion/GPS dossier, Christopher Steele, is so far facing no
charges—despite the fact that he, too, is a foreign citizen. He likely received
pay from one presidential candidate to attack her rival and thus warp the
election. He worked with the Russians to smear Trump, and can be easily
extradited from the United Kingdom.
What finally destroyed Nixon was the
forced release of tapes of his confidential conversations. The public learned
that Nixon was not only warping federal agencies, but also that his language
and personal prejudices were gross and un-presidential. A mysterious missing
“gap” in the recordings was taken as an effort to hide particularly
incriminating presidential conversations.
In 2018, the concerns are just the
opposite. Democrats are not much bothered by the text messages of FBI officials
and former special counsel investigators. The Peter Strzok-Lisa Page text
transcripts are often obscene. They reflect ethnic biases and stereotyping, and
likely reveal the efforts of their higher-ups to interfere in supposedly
independent investigations. For a while, there was even a “lost” gap of several
months of subpoenaed text messages. In 1974, Nixon’s private conversations were
said to be revelations of an utterly cynical and amoral White House. Yet the
Strzok and Page texts were said to be no big deal—just FBI bureaucrats “letting
off steam.” Or, at the very least, the texts needed to be understood in their
Strzok and Page
But the biggest disconnect is the
press itself. Woodward and Bernstein created a new no-holds-barred form of investigative
journalism that generated a cult-like following. They advised us not to trust
authorities simply because they held power. The press bragged that it had
broken the Watergate story because it sued, followed the money trail, and never
took seriously bureaucratic spin or pro forma excuses. Journalists grew irate
when government and political operatives questioned their motives and
Now the media’s role is to distrust
troublemakers who request or sue for federal transcripts, documents, and
testimonies—and even to suggest that it is disloyal or subversive to doubt the
FBI’s often changing narratives.
Suddenly it is near-treasonous to
question the ethics or behavior of the FBI. Not coming clean with a FISA court
or leaking confidential and likely classified notes is suddenly not out of the
ordinary. So-called civil libertarians argue that text messages and FISA orders
should not be disclosed because doing so will endanger national security. When
the Clinton campaign swears that commissioning the dossier was normal campaign
behavior, when the FBI claims that its surveillance of private citizens was
warranted, or when Obama officials defend unmasking and leaking the names of
Americans who were monitored—journalists now nod.
What can account for this abject
reversal of roles?
Simply, Richard Nixon was considered
a right-wing danger whose abuse of power warranted his removal. But in 2016,
Hillary Clinton was seen as liberal crusader who would save the nation from the
dangers of the reactionary ogre Donald Trump—and any means necessary to achieve
such ends was considered justified.
For liberals in 1973, the status quo
was considered right-wing and dangerous—and it was therefore to be opposed at
all costs to find the truth about Nixon. In 2016, Clinton was part of a status
quo that extended eight years back through Barack Obama’s tenure and was
considered the favored candidate by the permanent bureaucracy, the mainstream
media and the legal establishment, many of whom sought to help her defeat
Think about changing the roles in
2016. Imagine a Trump-funded, anti-Clinton dossier drawing on Russian gossip
about Secretary Clinton, peddled by the FBI, rubber-stamped by FISA courts and
used to monitor Clinton campaign operatives to find dirt on Clinton and to leak
such information to the press—in the last days of a presidential campaign.
Would we not then see a true progressive reenactment of Watergate, with all of
the concerned parties repeating their 1973 roles—the press especially frenzied
rather than somnolent?
FISA-gate is not just an upside-down
Watergate. It also forces us to rethink Watergate itself. The facts, of course,
that led to Nixon’s 1974 resignation are unchanged and condemnatory. But the
relative eagerness to uncover them can be recalibrated by the contrast with
In other words, was it really
principle and concern for the transparent and blind administration of justice
that drove the original and necessary official and media investigation of
Nixon? Or, in some measure, did the furor over Nixon arise over his seemingly
odious politics and person that for decades had enraged his enemies?
FISA-gate, and the media’s response
to it, is not so much another Watergate as an anti-Watergate. The disconnect
with the past begs us to redefine the story of Watergate itself 45 years later:
Was it what Richard Nixon did, or who Richard Nixon was, that ignited the