The leaked tapes of Donald Trump trying to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state to overturn the president’s election defeat are “far worse” than what occurred in the Watergate scandal, journalist Carl Bernstein said Sunday.
Bernstein, whose reporting of the 1972 political scandal led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, said the bombshell tapes of Trump were evidence of an attempted coup.
“It’s not déjà vu. This was something far worse than occurred in Watergate,” Bernstein told CNN. “We have both a criminal president of the United States in Donald Trump and a subversive president of the United States at the same time in this one person.”
In audio recordings published by The Washington Post Sunday, Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” exactly enough votes to overturn his loss in that state to President-elect Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election. Trump repeatedly insisted he had won. At one point, Trump seemed to threaten legal consequences if Raffensperger did not investigate his baseless claims.
“This is the ultimate smoking gun tape,” Bernstein said. “It is the tape with the evidence of what this president is willing to do to undermine the electoral system and illegally, improperly and immorally try to instigate a coup.”
In any other presidency, this tape would be evidence enough to result in impeachment, a conviction in the Senate and a call by members of Congress ― Republicans included ― for the president’s immediate resignation, Bernstein said.
“We’re not going to hear that,” Bernstein added. “We might from a few Republicans, but that’s what’s really called for here. And the one thing we should recall from Watergate was that the heroes of Watergate were Republicans who would not tolerate Richard Nixon’s conduct.”