Weaponizing the federal government has a long history
Nixon's abuses of presidential power may pale beside Trump's
Now that House Republicans have created a “Select Subcommittee on Weaponization of the Federal Government,” let’s revisit a classic of that power-abusing genre, featuring its greatest star, Richard M. Nixon.
The subcommittee’s express purpose is investigating federal investigators for alleged “illegal or improper, unconstitutional, or unethical activities,” at which Nixon was an acknowledged master. I’ve been listening to Nixon abuse power on the secret White House tapes for two decades with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. I’ve written about his decisions to sabotage Vietnam peace talks to damage the Democrats’ 1968 presidential campaign, to time his withdrawal from Vietnam to help his 1972 reelection campaign, and to spring former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa from prison in return for the union’s political support.
I’ve been listening to Nixon abuse power on the secret White House tapes for two decades with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center
This story is a forgotten sequel to the Watergate break-in. No one has ever proved that President Nixon ordered burglars to photograph documents and plant listening devices at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, known as the DNC.
But Nixon himself created proof that he abused his presidential authority to go after the DNC with the investigative powers of the Internal Revenue Service. He captured this high crime on tape less than two months after the Watergate burglars’ arrests.