Everyone's comparing Trump to Richard Nixon and the 'Saturday Night Massacre' — here's what happened then

(The New York Times front page on Oct. 21, 1973Wikimedia Commons)
Democratic lawmakers quickly came up with a nickname for President Donald Trump’s unexpected firing of FBI Director James Comey — the “Tuesday Afternoon Massacre.”

The grim-sounding moniker is a reference to the “Saturday Night Massacre” on October 20, 1973, when then-President Richard Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox amid Cox’s investigation into the Watergate scandal.

Critics of Trump instantly drew parallels between Cox and Comey, who was leading an investigation into possible ties between Trump and Russia. 

Here’s what happened during the “Saturday Night Massacre.”

Cox had been appointed by Attorney General Elliot Richardson in May 1973 to investigate the break-in of the Watergate office complex one year earlier.

In July 1973, Cox issued a subpoena to Nixon, asking the president to turn over recordings of conversations between Nixon and White House officials that were taped in the Oval Office.

Nixon demurred, instead offering Cox a compromise in which Sen. John Stennis would review the tapes and issue a summary for Cox’s office.

But when Cox turned down the compromise, the president ordered Richardson, his attorney general, to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned in protest, as did Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. Solicitor General Robert Bork, who was next in line in the Justice Department, followed through with the firing, completing the “massacre.”

The dismissal contributed to the public’s growing distrust in Nixon, and calls to impeach the president immediately intensified. When the Watergate tapes were made public in August of the following year, including one in which Nixon told officials to ask the FBI to stop the investigation, his support all but disappeared. He resigned in disgrace three days later.

For 44 years, the Saturday Night Massacre was the only time a president has fired the person leading an investigation bearing on him, according to The New York Times.

That all changed with Comey’s firing on Tuesday, and for Trump, the Nixonian comparisons may be just beginning.

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I posted this about Robert Bork earlier on Wednesday, but as usual, Rachel puts it better.

Where do people even get their news anymore?

Because people are seriously going around saying that a Supreme Court justice died this morning…rather than a supreme court nominee.

I heard “Robert Bork died” and knew he was a former supreme court nominee during the Reagan administration, whose nomination was rejected by the Democratically controlled Senate.

I didn’t even have to read the rest of the news update that Fox sent me at 6am.

I just knew who he was.

Because I’ve read books!

That person I reblogged was literally the 5th person to have said or written, where I could read it, that Bork was apparently on the Supreme Court.

Do people just not read anymore?


Don’t Let Romney Bork America (by PFAWdotorg)

Marbury had clearly brought his case to the wrong court … his claim obviously did not qualify to be placed in [the Supreme Court’s] original jurisdiction and should have been dismissed out of hand. … Marshall had not only to ignore the fact that his Court had absolutely no jurisdiction, he had as well to distort the statute in order to make it a fit subject for a holding of unconstitutionality. … Marshall argued, quite incorrectly, that … None of this made much sense.
—  Bork, just casually dismissing THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT SCOTUS CASE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES without quoting it, or the constitution, once. From The Tempting of America
Modern Liberalism

“If we slide into a modern, high-tech version of the Dark Ages, we will have done it to ourselves without the assistance of the Germanic tribes that destroyed Roman civilization. This time we face, and seem to be succumbing to, an attack mounted by a force not only within Western civilization but one that is perhaps its legitimate child.

"The enemy within is modern liberalism, a corrosive agent carrying a very different mood and agenda than that of classical or traditional liberalism. That the modern variety is intellectually bankrupt diminishes neither its vitality nor the danger it poses. A bankrupt philosophy can reign for centuries and, when its bankruptcy becomes apparent, may well be succeeded by an even less coherent outlook. That is what is happening to us now. Modernity, the child of the Enlightenment, failed when it became apparent that the good society cannot be achieved by unaided reason. The response of liberalism was not to turn to religion, which modernity had seemingly made irrelevant, but to abandon reason. Hence, there have appeared philosophies claiming that words can carry no definite meaning or that there is no reality other than one that is "socially constructed.” A reality so constructed, it is thought, can be decisively altered by social or cultural edict, which is a prescription for coercion.“

Robert Bork, "Slouching Toward Gomorrah”


Bjork, Oh So Quiet

Relax everybody! Robert Bork died, not Bjork. Just trying to save y'all the suffering I had for about 5 minutes this morning. You’re welcome.