Reporting legends Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward on Wednesday compared the drama surrounding President Donald Trump’s White House with the scandals that plagued the Nixon administration.
The duo, formerly of The Washington Post, are best known for their reporting on the Watergate cover-up, an effort by former President Richard Nixon to interfere with the Democratic Party during his re-election bid in the early 1970s.
“Nixon reacted, he was presiding over a criminal cover-up. That’s what most of his efforts, I think, went into,” Bernstein told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.” “We see Trump’s reactions every day. And yes, he is under siege and he thinks and feels he is unfairly under siege.”
Bernstein recalled how Nixon’s plan during the 1968 presidential election was to “undercut and destroy” the campaign of his Democratic opponents, Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie.
“Watergate was about Richard Nixon’s attempt to undermine the electoral system of the United States,” Bernstein said.
The Trump administration has been caught up in several investigations into Russia’s 2016 election meddling. A special counsel probe headed by Robert Mueller is looking at any potential ties between Trump campaign associates and Russians to determine if there was any collusion.
Trump has repeatedly denied collusion.
“The allegations of quote, collusion, and what the Russians tried to do was to determine the outcome of an American election, to affect an American election, so in both cases, ironically enough, you’re dealing with the same allegations in some way,” Bernstein said.
Woodward also noted that it is still unclear what impact Russian interference might have had on the 2016 election.
“Nixon succeeded, as Carl pointed out, but we don’t know the impact of the Russian meddling, and that’s a big issue and maybe we’ll never know,” Woodward said.
Cooper asked the journalists their thoughts about one of Trump’s favorite communication methods: Twitter.
Woodward said he didn’t think the social media platform gives the “full picture” of Trump’s perspective – and reflected briefly on what it might have been like if Nixon had had access to it.
“I think – thank God Nixon didn’t have Twitter,” Woodward said.