- The prominent investigative journalist Carl Bernstein sounded an ominous warning about the Trump administration’s moves to undermine the US Justice Department and the FBI amid the Russia investigation.
- Bernstein said the US had reached “a turning point” after a day that saw the resignation of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a Republican vote to release a controversial memo, and the Trump administration’s decision not to impose sanctions on Russia.
- Bernstein called it “the Monday night slaughter of the administration of justice and our institutions of justice in the United States.”
Carl Bernstein, the investigative journalist who helped uncover the Watergate scandal in the 1970s that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, sounded an ominous alarm on Monday following a day of pivotal headlines related to the Russia investigation.
Bernstein said the US had reached “a turning point” after a day that saw the resignation of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a vote to release a controversial memo Republicans are seeking to use to cast doubt on the Russia investigation, and the Trump administration’s decision not to impose new sanctions on Russia over its interference in the 2016 US election.
“We are seeing a breakdown, and I think we may look back on tonight as the Monday night slaughter of the administration of justice and our institutions of justice in the United States,” Bernstein said in an interview on CNN.
“A real slaughter by an obstructive, irresponsible, partisan gang in the House of Representatives that has put the interest of their party and the president of the United States and his personal fortunes above the national interest, and I think we’re going to look back on what happened today and tonight as a turning point,” Bernstein continued.
“Monday night slaughter” is a spin on “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating Watergate, on October 20, 1973. When Trump fired James Comey as FBI director in May, some observers called it the “Tuesday Afternoon Massacre.”
Congressional committees and the FBI, led by the special counsel Robert Mueller, are investigating Russia’s election interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. US intelligence officials have said Russia sought to get Trump elected and hamstring Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee.
Trump and his allies in Congress and right-leaning media have made no secret of their disdain for the Russia probe. Bernstein said it represented a dire threat to the entire investigation.
“Donald Trump has done everything in his power – including working with these enablers on Capitol Hill – to make sure that this investigation of him, his family, his aides, his campaign, his transition does not come to fruition, and this was part and parcel of it tonight,” Bernstein told CNN’s Don Lemon.
Bernstein suggested that the totality of Trump and his allies’ actions might be a precursor to a “constitutional crisis.” Critics of Trump have used similar language to warn about various actions early in his presidency. But Bernstein said the administration’s recent moves were real cause for alarm.
“If the president continues down this road, and if his enablers in Congress continue down this road, a constitutional crisis in the sense that the system may fail us, that Donald Trump may get away with this, and by ‘this’ I mean shutting down the legitimate investigation of the president of the United States,” Bernstein said.
He added: “The single thing this president has been focused on from the day he took office is to make sure that the Mueller and the Russian investigation does not go forward, and he is doing everything in his power to see that that becomes the case.”
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