Nixon’s downfall came after he complied with an order from the Supreme Court to release a transcript from recordings he had made of his conversations in the Oval Office, one of which clearly included discussing with his chief of staff how to quash the FBI investigation into the break in at the Watergate Hotel that agents of his 1972 presidential campaign had conducted. Nixon was very smart. He was just crazy. He was a megalomaniac who believed his agenda was important enough to justify breaking the law to achieve.
Trump is crazy, but he is also stupid. He has zero understanding of our Constitution, or even what a constitution is or why anyone would have one. The point of our Constitution is to create a central government that is powerful enough to do the job, but still limited in important ways. Nixon had an enemies list and tried to censor press coverage of the Vietnam War, but he knew he might well lose a battle over the issue in the courts. Trump keeps whining about Saturday Night Live making fun of him and suggesting a federal investigation, apparently not understanding why no such is permissible under our Constitution.
Trump’s end will not much resemble Nixon’s because Trump is too stupid to set a trap for himself as Nixon did. James Comey famously said “Lordy, I hope there will be a tape,” but apparently there are none. Trump does have a history of destroying evidence. He can figure that out. But he is too stupid even to keep his crimes secret. He and his advisors gave multiple reasons for firing Comey, the specific act that prompted the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor to begin with.
It is a commonplace that one reason not to lie is that one then has to keep track of one’s lies. Trump’s stupidity / mental illness is such that he seems not even to realize he is lying, and he seems incapable of sustaining a thought for two minutes, so he has no hope of lying consistently from one day to the next.
Nixon spoke repeatedly and forcefully about how he thought the investigations into the Watergate break in should end. Trump has whined incessantly about how the Mueller investigation was a “witch hunt” and how there was no collusion between his campaign and any Russian agents.
There may be no single document that plainly reveals illegal conduct in Trump’s case, but the reasonable surmise is that the Mueller investigation has uncovered a large pile of documents that show multiple illegal acts in the aggregate.
The public has the right to know what Mueller found so we can make our own decisions about how deep the rot in the Trump Administration runs and what to do about it.
Attorney General Barr has announced his summary of the Mueller report, which has left many people dissatisfied. Trump has consistently and repeatedly denied any unlawful conduct, but aside from the fact that he lies constantly, there is the related point that he may well have violated the law and just not know it because he is so stupid and so ignorant of the law and legal principles.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially for a president. This is all the more reason why members of Congress and the general public need to see the entire report.
We know Trump is stupid. We need to find out how criminal he is.