by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Nixon remains the only living president to have left office before completing his term.
There is no question that Nixon was on the ropes and that his voluntary departure helped heal a badly wounded nation, but so much new information has surfaced in the past four decades that we should ask ourselves whether his resignation was actually a mistake — and whether it would have been better for the nation, if not for him, to have had a Senate trial. …
… You can already tell where I come out: It was right for Nixon to resign at the time because had totally lost the moral authority to govern. But, in retrospect, his resignation seems completely unjustified because what we now know might have come out in a Senate trial. Nixon was essentially railroaded out of office by specially recruited, highly partisan prosecutors. Knowing that today, we’d better be very cautious about how we treat President Trump. …
… What the special prosecutors actually did to Richard Nixon is quite astonishing: they wrongfully assured both grand jurors and HJC staff that Nixon had personally approved the payment of “hush money” to Howard Hunt. Admittedly, there was circumstantial evidence to this effect. Nixon had first learned of Hunt’s blackmail demands from Dean on the morning of March 21, 1973, and a payment to Hunt’s lawyer had been made that very evening. Yet prosecutors were never able to prove the necessary chain of events to make the case that this was done at Nixon’s personal behest.
That didn’t stop them, however. They simply misrepresented the facts to cover their lack of direct evidence. This was fully and finally proven just last year.