The Democratic front-runner is starting to sound a little like a president who resigned.
by James S. Robbins • USAToday
Last month, famed Washington Post reporter and Watergate investigator Bob Woodward said that the email scandal engulfing former secretary of State Hillary Clinton “reminds me of the Nixon tapes: thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively his.”
Woodward’s impression is justified, and not just by the steady drip, drip of new secrets in the latest batch of Clinton emails released by the State Department on Monday. There is also a remarkable resonance between Nixon’s statements during the evolving Watergate crisis and Clinton’s public statements regarding her emails:
The people come first
Nixon: I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.
Clinton: I think it’s kind of fun. People get a real-time behind-the-scenes look at what I was emailing about and what I was communicating about.
I want to get the facts out …
Nixon: I want the public to learn the truth about Watergate and those guilty of any illegal actions brought to justice.
Clinton: I want it all out there.
…because they are on my side
Nixon: The facts will prove that the president is telling the truth.
Clinton: That does not change the facts, and no matter what anybody tries to say, the facts are stubborn.
There has been unprecedented openness …
Nixon: We have waived executive privilege on all individuals within the administration. It has been the greatest waiver of executive privilege in the whole history of this nation.
Clinton: I took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all my work-related emails public.
… about things I didn’t know …
Nixon: I had no prior knowledge of the Watergate operation.
Clinton: I don’t know how it works digitally at all.
… at least not at that time
Nixon: No one on the White House Staff, at the time (White House Counsel John Dean) conducted the investigation … was involved or had knowledge of the Watergate matter.
Clinton: I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received.
The last guy did it, too
Nixon: This kind of capability not only existed during the Johnson administration, it also existed in the Kennedy administration.
Clinton: Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing. … I mean, Secretary Powell has admitted he did exactly the same thing. … We both did the same thing.
And it was all legal …
Nixon: As far as the tapes are concerned, rather than being in defiance of the law, I am in compliance with the law.
Clinton: What I did was legally permitted, number one, first and foremost.
…At least at that time
Nixon: The first operation, begun in 1969, was a program of wiretaps. All were legal, under the authorities then existing.
Clinton: The laws and regulations in effect when I was secretary of State allowed me to use my email for work. That is undisputed.
And now I am fully cooperating …
Nixon: We have cooperated completely.
Clinton: We’re fully cooperating with [the investigation].
… but I am still protecting my privacy
Nixon: Let me explain very carefully that the principle of confidentiality either exists or it does not exist.
Clinton: Look, my personal e-mails are my personal business. Right?
I alone can determine what will be made public
Nixon: I have spent many hours of my own time personally reviewing these materials and personally deciding questions of relevancy.
Clinton: Under the law that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions.
But I have no idea how things were erased
Nixon: How (the 18 1/2 minute gap on one tape) was caused is still a mystery to me and, I think, to many of the experts as well.
Clinton: Like with a cloth or something?
And no, you can’t inspect the original
Nixon: We are standing firm on the proposition that we will not agree to the Senate committee’s desire to have (the tapes).
Clinton: The server will remain private.
Besides, it is someone else’s fault
Nixon: The easiest course would be for me to blame those to whom I delegated the responsibility to run the campaign. But that would be a cowardly thing to do.
Clinton: I think there are disputes going on among agencies about what shoulda coulda woulda been done four, five, six years ago. That’s something for them to work out.
Plus it’s a partisan witch hunt
Nixon: The Watergate issue has taken on overtones of a partisan political contest.
Clinton: So for the past eight years, Republicans and their allies have attacked President Obama with everything they’ve got. … But the real target isn’t me; it’s everything you and I believe in. … It’s not about emails or servers either. It’s about politics.
And the people will decide anyway
Nixon: I am confident that in those months ahead, the American people will come to realize that I have not violated the trust that they placed in me when they elected me as President of the United States.
Clinton: Now, with respect to any sort of future issues, look, I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters.
Nixon: This office is a sacred trust and I am determined to be worthy of that trust.
Clinton: People should and do trust me.
I wish I had done better
Nixon: I frankly wish we hadn’t had a (taping) system at all, then I wouldn’t have to answer this question.
Clinton: Looking back, it would’ve been better for me to use two separate phones and two email accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way.
Now that I have no choice, I apologize
Nixon: I’m sorry. I just hope I haven’t let you down.
Clinton: I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility.