CNN and MSNBC previewed the State of the Union on Tuesday with amazingly similar talking points: Donald Trump is Richard Nixon in January of 1974, just waiting for the tidal wave of scandal to bring him down. CNN’s Anderson Cooper singled out a clip of Nixon’s ‘74 State of the Union, explaining: “But I gotta say, looking at President Nixon during one of his State of the Union’s when he’s talking about the Watergate investigation, I just want to play that. Because it sort of an interesting look back at how he handled it.”
After playing a clip in which Republicans cheer Nixon, Cooper hinted: “Interesting to hear the response of Republicans there.” Get it, Cooper seemed to be wondering. How similar was the journalistic thought process? Famous NBC anchor Tom Brokaw appeared on MSNBC later and actually cited rival CNN, noting “commentators on another channel” are “saying this is going to be the greatest scandal in the history of the country.”
MTP Daily host Chuck Todd worried that Trump was going to get away with it, linking the current Republican president with the former one: “If Nixon had Fox News, does he survive?” Talking to Brokaw, Todd attacked:
Are they succeeding in sowing the seeds of doubt? Like, I keep coming back — You had a front row seat to Nixon. And you — were there moments like, “Boy, Nixon is actually doing a good job undermining this investigation?” But it turns out he wasn’t, right?
Apparently, the talking point is out there for all liberal journalists: Trump is Nixon and this is 1974, a year of impeachment, all over again.
Earlier in the day, Brokaw compared the soon-to-be released memo by Congressman Devin Nunes (Calif.) to Watergate. Andrea Mitchell slimed Nunes as an “embarrassment to his colleagues, Republican and Democratic.”
Partial transcripts are below:
CHUCK TODD: Paul Ryan did apparently — he is trying, he is saying, “Don't oversell the Nunes memo.” Like, he is trying to dial it back. I think it’s too late.
ANDREA MITCHELL: But he is protecting Devin Nunes. And Devin Nunes has been an embarrassment to his colleagues, Republican and Democratic. He was in the transition. He went to the White House with a completely fraudulent claim about the Obama administration, national security team, which was discredited, disproved by the ethics committee, and yet he is asserting himself here and challenging what a FISA judge had renewed, involving an intercept that picked up collaterally a Trump campaign aide, not an important aide, but a campaign aide who was picked up talking to a man convicted for spying for Russia.
TOM BROKAW: We’re not the only ones talking about this. You have to remember, first of all, the wide band of social media. There is so much activity you can get online. And the President’s famous commentator — favorite commentator on another channel — some of the most prominent ones, are saying this is going to be the greatest scandal in the history of this country.
TODD: Are they succeeding in sowing the seeds of doubt? Like, I keep coming back — You had a front row seat to Nixon. And you — were there moments like, “Boy, Nixon is actually doing a good job undermining this investigation?” But it turns out he wasn’t, right?
BROKAW: Well, it was a different time, for one thing. You didn’t have a constant play that was going on across a wide spectrum of everything.
TODD: If Nixon had Fox News, does he survive?
BROKAW: Well, he didn’t have Fox News. And also, I’ve often said that I’d work real hard for the Nightly News and try to develop some fresh information and at 7:00 I would get on the phone for the Today show the next morning. Now, if I were doing it at 7:00, it would be, “Quick. You are on with Chuck.” You’ve got to have more commentary going.
TODD: Seventeen news cycles before —
BROKAW: It was a different pace. But there’s a lot of similarity here. We just saw earlier today President Nixon saying, “One year of Watergate is enough.” That’s how he opened his State of the Union speech trying to shut it down. And there was a fair amount of support out there for him. At the very end, I went out to Phoenix for a huge rally for him. And the White House press corps was in a little tiny correl and we though they were going to riot in and lynch us.
ANDERSON COOPER: We’ve shown this earlier today. But I gotta say, looking at President Nixon during one of his State of the Union’s when he’s talking about the Watergate investigation, I just want to play that. Because it sort of an interesting look back at how he handled it.