On CNN, Rather and Donaldson Declare 'Mob'-Like Trump Is 'Out-Nixoning Nixon'

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Appearing as guests on Thursday's CNN Tonight, former CBS anchor Dan Rather and former ABC anchor Sam Donaldson declared that President Donald Trump is "out-Nixoning Nixon" on the Ukraine issue, with Donaldson claiming that there is a "smoking transcript" and Rather suggesting that it is already time to "roll the credits on a mob movie" based on President Trump and Rudy Giuliani's activities.

At 10:46 p.m. Eastern, host Don Lemon introduced the segment: "The coverup, the tapes, and a President under a cloud of impeachment. Is President Trump out-Nixoning Nixon? Who better to ask than two legends?"

As Rather began his analysis, he suggested that the matter is worse than the Watergate scandal:

Certainly it's reminiscent of the Watergate period in the 1970s, but there is this big difference, and I do think we, you know, we need to kind of pause and assess where we are -- the gravity of the situation, but at the same time, remain calm. But what's different between what Richard Nixon did and what Donald Trump has already admitted to is this: It involves a foreign power.

He soon added:

We have a pure truth and it's pretty simple. The President of the United States was conspiring with the leader of a foreign power to discredit one of the President's political opponents, and then there was a concerted effort in the White House with others besides the President involved to cover it up. That's a big difference. When you say something about out-Nixoning Nixon, I do think that in this case the President has out-Nixoned Nixon.

Although high-profile liberal professors like Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley have argued that the transcript does not constitute proof of lawbreaking, Donaldson played up the signficance:

Oh, it's very significant, and there's a big thing here that's happened in the last week. It took almost two years to find -- and after two years to find the evidence on Richard Nixon. And the final piece was the smoking tape, the killer tape in which we heard him and his chief of staff conspire for the coverup, It was just a week ago that the whistleblower story came into public view. And now we have the smoking transcript of the presidential call. We have the evidence right there.

The former ABC anchor added:

You read the transcript, and President Trump is acknowledging what his opponents say he needs to be impeached for. That is that he conspired to set up a phony investigation of the Bidens by the Ukrainian government, and he urged them to do it and said we could help.

A bit later, Rather likened President Trump's behavior to a mafia: "What the President and Rudolph Giuliani and others have already admitted practically says we can start the -- roll the credits on a mob movie, so this is moving quite fast."

Transcript follows. Click "expand" to read more. 

10:48 p.m. Eastern

DON LEMON: The coverup, the tapes, and a President under a cloud of impeachment. Is President Trump out-Nixoning Nixon? Who better to ask than two legends?

(…)

DAN RATHER: Certainly it's reminiscent of the Watergate period in the 1970s, but there is this big difference, and I do think we, you know, we need to kind of pause and assess where we are -- the gravity of the situation, but at the same time, remain calm. But what's different between what Richard Nixon did and what Donald Trump has already admitted to is this: It involves a foreign power.

(…)

RATHER: We have a pure truth and it's pretty simple. The President of the United States was conspiring with the leader of a foreign power to discredit one of the President's political opponents, and then there was a concerted effort in the White House with others besides the President involved to cover it up. That's a big difference. When you say something about out-Nixoning Nixon, I do think that in this case the President has out-Nixoned Nixon.

(…)

SAM DONALDSON: Oh, it's very significant, and there's a big thing here that's happened in the last week. It took almost two years to find -- and after two years to find the evidence on Richard Nixon. And the final piece was the smoking tape, the killer tape in which we heard him and his chief of staff conspire for the coverup, It was just a week ago that the whistleblower story came into public view. And now we have the smoking transcript of the presidential call. We have the evidence right there.

You read the transcript, and President Trump is acknowledging what his opponents say he needs to be impeached for. That is that he conspired to set up a phony investigation of the Bidens by the Ukrainian government, and he urged them to do it and said we could help.

(…)

RATHER: What the President and Rudolph Giuliani and others have already admitted practically says we can start the -- roll the credits on a mob movie, so this is moving quite fast.

NB Daily Congress Trump Impeachment Ukraine ABC CBS CNN CNN Tonight Video Dan Rather Sam Donaldson Don Lemon


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