Tags: Trump | Critics | Sally Yates | Nixon | Saturday Night Massacre

Trump Critics Compare Firing of Yates to Nixon's 'Saturday Night Massacre'

Image: Trump Critics Compare Firing of Yates to Nixon's 'Saturday Night Massacre'

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By    |   Tuesday, 31 Jan 2017 09:58 AM

Critics of President Donald Trump are comparing his firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates for her refusal to enforce his immigration ban to the 1973 "Saturday Night Massacre" incident in which President Richard Nixon clashed with his Attorney General's Office over the handling of the Watergate investigation that led to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, USA Today reported on Tuesday.

While presidents and their attorneys general have clashed on other occasions, they are not common, Texas Tech University history Prof. Sean P. Cunningham told USA Today.

"One of the important takeaways is that Nixon's efforts to control the attorney general and control the Watergate narrative, backfired badly," Cunningham said.

"By that point, most Americans already distrusted Nixon, but Nixon's aggressive actions dramatically eroded the public's already fading trust in the presidency" and helped lead to his resignation in 1974.

In an opinion piece for CNN, Princeton University history and public affairs Prof. Julian Zelizer also compared the two incidents by calling Trump's firing of Yates the "Monday Night Massacre."

"In his nominations, Trump has put forth people who likely will be mostly yes men and who will interact with a sympathetic and protective Republican Congress," Zelizer wrote.

"Perhaps, Senate Democrats will see Monday night's events at the Justice Department as a wake-up call to slow down the confirmation of Senator [Jeff] Sessions [as attorney general] before there is no one left around to place some restraints on the Trump presidency."

GQ's Jay Willis emphasized that "the Department of Justice is the agency within the executive branch that is charged with challenging the president's missteps, ensuring that the rule of law does not bend to the president's will," and that "not since 1973 has a President of the United States forced an attorney general out of office under circumstances like these."

Democratic senators also made the comparison with Charles Schumer using the phrase "Monday Night Massacre" and John Conyers tweeting that Trump had "commenced on a course of action that is Nixonian in its design and execution."

However, The Washington Post pointed out that Trump was within his rights to fire Yates, and Watergate investigative reporter Carl Bernstein said there was a big difference between what Trump and Nixon did, labeling Trump's move as more indicative of a bungled transition and chaos within the administration rather than trying to actively obstruct justice.

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Critics of President Donald Trump are comparing his firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates for her refusal to enforce his immigration ban to the 1973 "Saturday Night Massacre"...
Trump, Critics, Sally Yates, Nixon, Saturday Night Massacre
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2017-58-31
Tuesday, 31 Jan 2017 09:58 AM
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