Trump knowledge of Russian election hack could lead to impeachment, says Watergate lawyer

Published: February 21, 2017
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US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: AFP

US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: AFP

Richard Ben-Veniste, the prosecutor in the Watergate case, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, has said that if President Donald Trump had any knowledge of the Russian hacking scandal of 2016 beforehand, it would be an ‘impeachable’ and ‘criminal’ act.

He made these remarks while speaking on MSNBC. Former US president Richard Nixon’s White House counsel John Dean drew parallels between the Watergate and the 2016 Russian hacking scandal.

Nixon’s White House counsel John Dean drew parallels between the Watergate and the 2016 Russian hacking scandal during the same segment.

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Dean shed light on the ‘interesting parallels’ between the two, noting while the modalities were different, they both dealt with the Democratic National Committee, and that is where the comparison stems from.

Ben-Veniste said that the difference between the two scandals is that ”Here you’ve got a foreign power, our adversary, the Russians, who are interfering … with our election, our electoral process.”

”So that is big,” he added. “The question is, was Trump or any of his close associates, somehow involved with the Russians during this course of conduct? And if so, then that would be huge.”

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“If there was such activity, then this would be a criminal act that would be of the utmost seriousness to this country,” he said.
While comparing the two presidents at the time of the scandals, he said that Nixon would work behind the scenes to undermine the press. In contrast, Trump has been right out front with his criticism of the media up till now.
Ben-Veniste explicated the difference between the leaders in terms of preparedness for the job, arguing that Nixon was ’eminently prepared’ to be the leader of the nation.
“This is on-the-job training for President Trump, and one can only hope he utilises the vast resources that are available to the President of the United States, and pick people who say ‘no’ to him,” he added.
“This is what was Nixon’s downfall. He surrounded himself with people who catered to his dark side.”

 

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