- Prominent investigative journalist Carl Bernstein sounded an ominous warning about the Trump administration’s moves to undermine the US Justice Department and the FBI amid the Russia investigation.
- Bernstein said the US had reached “a turning point” at the end of a day that saw the resignation of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a Republican vote to release a controversial memo undermining the bureau and the DOJ, and the Trump administration’s decision not to impose sanctions on Russia.
- Bernstein called it the “Monday night slaughter of our institutions of justice in the United States.”
Investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, who helped uncover the Watergate scandal in the 1970s that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, sounded an ominous alarm on Monday following a day of pivotal headlines related to the Russia investigation.
Bernstein said the US had reached “a turning point” at the end of a day that saw the resignation of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a Republican vote to release a controversial memo undermining the bureau and the DOJ, and the Trump administration’s decision not to impose new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 US election.
“We are seeing a breakdown and I think we may look back on tonight as the Monday night slaughter of the administration of justice and our institutions of justice in the United States,” Bernstein said in an interview on CNN.
“A real slaughter by the obstructive, irresponsible, partisan gang in the House of Representatives that has put the interest of their party and the president of the United States and his personal fortunes above the national interest, and I think we’re going to look back on what happened today and tonight as a turning point,” Bernstein continued.
His use of the term “Monday night slaughter” is a spin on the phrase “Saturday night massacre” — the October 20, 1973, incident in which Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox amid Cox’s investigation into the Watergate scandal. When Trump fired FBI director James Comey in May 2017, some observers called it the “Tuesday Afternoon Massacre.”
Monday saw a whirlwind of activity linked to the broad investigation of Russia’s 2016 US-election interference. An effort that US intelligence officials said was executed to help get Trump elected and hamstring his then-opponent Hillary Clinton.
Trump and his allies in Congress and right-leaning media have made no secret of their disdain for the Russia probe, and the latest developments on Monday cemented their collective angst. Bernstein said it represents a dire threat to the entire investigation.
“Donald Trump has done everything in his power — including working with these enablers on Capitol Hill — to make sure that this investigation of him, his family, his aides, his campaign, his transition does not come to fruition, and this was part and parcel of it tonight,” Bernstein told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday night.
Bernstein said the totality of Trump and his allies’ actions may be a precursor to a “constitutional crisis.” Critics of Trump have used similar language to warn about various actions in the early aughts of his presidency. But Bernstein insisted that the administration’s moves of late are real cause for alarm.
“The system may fail us if the president continues down this road and if his enablers in Congress continue down this road,” Bernstein said. “Donald Trump may get away with this, and by ‘this,’ I mean shutting down the legitimate investigation of the president of the United States.”
He added: “The single thing that this president has been focused on from the day he took office is to make sure that the Mueller and the Russia investigation does not go forward. and he is doing everything in his power to see that that becomes the case.”