Let It Play Out!
'We the people'… must let Robert Mueller complete his investigation.
Many of us came of age, one way or the other, in the late 60’s and early 1970’s. We experienced love, heartbreak, tragedy, war, and were witness to a President resigning from office in disgrace.
That being said, I am not endorsing, nor am I criticizing the current Robert Mueller investigation. Many have called for an end to the investigation, including our current President. Others have become impatient, highly critical, and weary of the arrests, indictments and length of the investigation, with no real conclusions.
However, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to younger readers or remind older readers of an investigation that took place 47 years ago – Watergate.
Here is a timeline of those events, courtesy of Watergate.info with my thoughts at the end:
November 1968: Richard Milhous Nixon, the 55-year-old former vice president who lost the presidency for the Republicans in 1960, reclaims it by defeating Hubert Humphrey in one of the closest elections in U.S. history.
July 23, 1970: Nixon approves a plan for greatly expanding domestic intelligence-gathering by the FBI, CIA and other agencies. He has second thoughts a few days later and rescinds his approval.
June 13, 1971: The New York Times begins publishing the Pentagon Papers – the Defense Department’s secret history of the Vietnam War. The Washington Post will begin publishing the papers later in the week.
September 9, 1971: The White House “plumbers” unit – named for their orders to plug leaks in the administration – burglarizes a psychiatrist’s office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg, the former defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.
June 17, 1972: Five men, one of whom says he used to work for the CIA, are arrested at 2:30 a.m. trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel and office complex.
June 19, 1972: A GOP security aide is among the Watergate burglars, The Washington Post reports. Former attorney general John Mitchell, head of the Nixon reelection campaign, denies any link to the operation.
August 1, 1972: A $25,000 cashier’s check, apparently earmarked for the Nixon campaign, wound up in the bank account of a Watergate burglar, The Washington Post reports.
September 29, 1972: John Mitchell, while serving as attorney general, controlled a secret Republican fund used to finance widespread intelligence-gathering operations against the Democrats, The Post reports.
October 10, 1972: FBI agents establish that the Watergate break-in stems from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of the Nixon reelection effort, The Post reports.
November 11, 1972: Nixon is reelected in one of the largest landslides in American political history, taking more than 60 percent of the vote and crushing the Democratic nominee, Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota.
January 30, 1973: Former Nixon aides G. Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord Jr. are convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping in the Watergate incident. Five other men plead guilty, but mysteries remain.
April 30, 1973: Nixon’s top White House staffers, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resign over the scandal. White House counsel John Dean is fired.
May 18, 1973: The Senate Watergate committee begins its nationally televised hearings. Attorney General-designate Elliot Richardson taps former solicitor general Archibald Cox as the Justice Department’s special prosecutor for Watergate.
June 3, 1973: John Dean has told Watergate investigators that he discussed the Watergate cover-up with President Nixon at least 35 times, The Post reports.
June 13, 1973: Watergate prosecutors find a memo addressed to John Ehrlichman describing in detail the plans to burglarize the office of Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, The Post reports.
July 13, 1973: Alexander Butterfield, former presidential appointments secretary, reveals in congressional testimony that since 1971 Nixon had recorded all conversations and telephone calls in his offices.
July 18, 1973: Nixon reportedly orders the White House taping system disconnected.
July 23, 1973: Nixon refuses to turn over the presidential tape recordings to the Senate Watergate committee or the special prosecutor.
October 20, 1973: Saturday Night Massacre: Nixon fires Archibald Cox and abolishes the office of the special prosecutor. Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus resign. Pressure for impeachment mounts in Congress.
November 17, 1973: Nixon declares, “I’m not a crook,” maintaining his innocence in the Watergate case.
December 7, 1973: The White House can’t explain an 18 1/2 -minute gap in one of the subpoenaed tapes. Chief of staff Alexander Haig says one theory is that “some sinister force” erased the segment.
April 30, 1974: The White House releases more than 1,200 pages of edited transcripts of the Nixon tapes to the House Judiciary Committee, but the committee insists that the tapes themselves must be turned over.
July 24, 1974: The Supreme Court rules unanimously that Nixon must turn over the tape recordings of 64 White House conversations, rejecting the president’s claims of executive privilege.
July 27, 1974: House Judiciary Committee passes the first of three articles of impeachment, charging obstruction of justice.
August 8, 1974: Richard Nixon becomes the first U.S. president to resign. Vice President Gerald R. Ford assumes the country’s highest office. He will later pardon Nixon of all charges related to the Watergate case.
Ironically, and this has no historical significance or interest to anyone but me, the burglars broke into the Watergate building on my birthday in 1972. I was 23.
Although the break-in happened in June 1972, it took Congress one full year to appoint a special prosecutor to conduct a formal investigation – Archibald Cox. Cox’s investigation lasted 15 months, ending ultimately with several Presidential staff members resigning, many going to prison, some staff and government officials fired by Nixon, and with the President finally resigning in disgrace.
Now, let us turn to the Robert Mueller Investigation. Above all, I am not drawing or alluding to any parallels between Watergate and the Mueller investigation. However, I do want to make several points and present a short commentary. Points to think about.
In May 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate if there was any Russian connection or interference with the 2016 Presidential election. Of special concern was whether President Trump was involved.
Since that appointment, many of Trump’s close circle of campaign advisors, department and cabinet appointees, and friends have either resigned, been fired by the President, indicted, or arrested and found guilty of various crimes including lying to Congress and the FBI. Here are some of the higher profile individuals: Manafort, Gates, Flynn, 13 Russian Nationals, van der Zwaan, Kilimnik, Cohen, Papadopoulos, Sessions, and just recently, Roger Stone.
Patience everyone! We are about to enter the 10th month of the Mueller investigation. The ‘official’ Watergate investigation took 15 months. However, the entire FBI and Cox investigation from break-in to resignation took three years and two months.
“Let it Play Out. We the people…must let Mueller complete his investigation.” We deserve to know the truth.
By the way, ‘we the people’ can thank The New York Times and The Washington Post which first exposed this terrible abuse of power and corruption. If the Times had not published the Pentagon Papers and if reporters from the Post had not followed the evidence (money), we may have never known the extent of the corruption and abuse of power from the highest office in our land.
Let me reiterate, “Let it Play Out.” Ending the investigation now will only feed the conspiracy theorists for generations. We deserve to know the truth.
Michael S. Lambiotte
“Your humor is absolutely spot-on and intelligent, peppered with a bit of sarcasm and childlike wonder. Your stories have that element of memory, poignant and comic at times, but always heartfelt and affecting. Your language is simple and friendly, weaved seamlessly in your narrative that is consistently lighthearted and warm in tone. Your experience as a teacher shows in your elaborate, playful descriptions and your sharp, unpretentious irony. I am also impressed with the way your structured the book—as a collection of short stories in no chronological order as opposed to one big chunk of episodic chapters that are more or less akin to a journal. It serves the tone and heart of your words perfectly.”
On the whole, these essays encourage us to nurture our better selves—and who among us doesn’t need an occasional nudge toward greater kindness, tolerance, and appreciation of the things that really matter in life?