It is 1973.
In his memoir “A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures,” the late Ben Bradlee, who served as the executive editor of The Washington Post during the Watergate scandal, proudly recalls the paper receiving the Pulitzer Prize for its work in relentlessly uncovering the scandal that had at its center the paper’s longtime adversary, Republican President Richard Nixon. Bradlee cites this specific salute to The Post from the Pulitzer jurors. The Post, the citation says:
“ … mobilized its total resources for a major investigation, spearheaded by two first-rate investigative reporters, Carl Bernstein and Robert Woodward. As their disclosures developed the Watergate case into a major political scandal of national proportions, The Post backed them up with strong editorials, many of them written by Roger Wilkins, and editorial cartoons drawn by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Herbert A. Block (Herblock).”
Nixon famously wound up resigning the presidency in disgrace to avoid certain impeachment. And in the run-up to his resignation the House Judiciary Committee did in fact pass Articles of Impeachment, although Nixon resigned before the full House could pass them. For those who came in late it is worth recalling that Article I specifically cited Nixon for “endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, [and] the Federal Bureau of Investigation … ” Article I also cited Nixon for “endeavoring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States.” (RELATED: CODEVILLA: I Helped Write FISA. Let’s Destroy It)
The Post editorialized when Nixon resigned about the “terrible danger in which his wrongdoing put the nation for as long as it remained undiscovered and uncorrected.”
What a difference the passage of 47 years can make at The Post.
As recent days have unearthed now-declassified documents that plainly show multiples of Obama officials “unmasked” incoming Trump National Security adviser Michael Flynn, more detail is added to what was already a scandal involving the Obama administration’s abuse of the FBI and CIA. In the words of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board:
“The 2016 and 2017 spying on Trump officials and then leaking to promote a false narrative of collusion is one of the dirtiest tricks in the history of American politics. It is not ‘perfectly legitimate,’ and the public needs to know the full story behind it.”
And the response of The Post to what critics have quickly dubbed “Obamagate?” Out comes an editorial titled: “The absurd cynicism of ‘Obamagate’” in which the paper that received a Pulitzer Prize for investigating a president who abused the power of the FBI and CIA now says that when another president — this one a president they endorsed and lionized for eight years — is accused, with evidence, of having his administration abuse the power of the FBI and CIA? Now there is no relentless Post investigation. Instead, for The Post 47 years after Watergate, Obamagate is all just one big no-never-mind.
The now-documented charge that the Obama administration abused its power — including committing the federal crime of leaking the classified details of Flynn’s conversations and leaking it to The Post — is, says The Post, “totally untethered from reality, despite the credulous or cynical efforts of senior Republicans and conservative media to advance it.” (RELATED: How The FBI Used ‘News Hooks’ To Advance The Trump-Russia Probe)
Suffice to say, the illegal leak by the Obama administration of classified information to, yes, The Post, is in fact a federal crime.
Considering The Post’s one-time insistence that all of the paper’s resources be poured into a relentless investigation to find out what Nixon knew of Watergate and when did he know it, it is more than curious that it has refrained from pouring the same resources into an investigation of former President Barack Obama and Obamagate.
Unless, of course, it isn’t curious at all.
Jeffrey Lord, a former CNN contributor, is a columnist and author. He is a former associate political director in the Reagan White House. In his Washington career, he has served successively as a senior aide for a U.S. congressman and a U.S. senator, chief of staff for former Reagan cabinet member Drew Lewis in the 1984 Reagan-Bush campaign, and as an aide to HUD Secretary Jack Kemp. He writes at his website, TheJeffreyLord.com.
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