By Tom Quiner
Richard Nixon fired his attorney general because he wouldn’t collude with Nixon in obstructing a legal investigation in which Nixon was the target.
Donald Trump fired his acting attorney general, Sally Yates, because she refused to carry out the president’s orders.
Are the situations similar? No.
Peter Flaherty is president of the National Legal and Policy Center. He said:
“There’s no comparison at all. This Justice official was insubordinate and should have been fired … She may think she’s president, but she’s not.”
Andrew McCarthy concurs. He was the lead prosecutor on several high-profile terrorism cases in Manhattan:
“To my mind, she should have been escorted out of the building. It’s like comparing World War II to an exhibition baseball game. Apples and oranges doesn’t do justice to how different these two situations are.”
Carl Bernstein, who earned his fame as a Watergate investigative reporter, also sees no comparison:
“There’s a big difference, because the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ was really about firing the attorney general when Nixon was the target of an investigation and was actively obstructing justice. I think the president is within his rights here to fire the attorney general, that he has that ability.”
The fired acting attorney, Sally Yates, was a holdover from the Obama administration. In a letter describing her unwillingness to follow President Trump’s orders, she offered no legal analysis and cited no case law.
Had this happened under an Obama administration, the media’s response would have been much different.
The honorable thing for her to have done was to resign if she disagreed with her boss’s politics. That’s what this is all about.