History may not repeat itself but it definitely rhymes. You may have a misty, watercolored memory of the way we were back in the 1970s when we thought — oh how naively and foolishly — that the nadir of democracy had been reached when Richard Nixon, in a pique of paranoia, had operatives break into the Watergate Hotel, and then did a big cover up of the incident.
As big and bad as that seemed then, with the level of corruption in the last Republican administration, if the Watergate break in had happened under Trump’s watch, it would have ended up on page 12 of the New York Times and CNN would have talked about it at 3:00 a.m. Think about it. Trump doing spying and political sabotage on that level would have ended up as a footnote to the magnitude of crimes he was committing at the time and is still being investigated for, as we speak.
But back to the 70s, Richard Nixon’s paranoia was not only his undoing, so was his vanity. He wanted to have a record of every word spoken in the Oval Office for posterity. He was ordered to have the Watergate tapes transcribed and turned over to prosecutors. There was a mysterious 18-minute gap in the tapes. Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, subsequently lied and said she had accidentally recorded over the tape when a phone call came in.
Woods reenacted the scene and it was a comical image. She had to have been a contortionist to have answered the phone and stepped on the wrong pedal to begin with and to have held that pose for 18 minutes is implausible in the extreme. Pictures of this reenactment were called “The Rose Mary Stretch” and the story itself was the stretch. Plus, it’s doubtful that a secretary of her caliber would have made that level of screw up to begin with.
Forensic investigators later concluded that the erasures had been done in five separate contiguous segments.
Now in this last and latest version of Republican presidential scandal, which makes Watergate seem quaint by comparison and Nixon an Eagle Scout, Kevin McCarthy is the one with an unaccounted time period to explain, a three-hour long one, to be precise. And McCarthy is most probably not going to be the only person to be subpoenaed and asked to account for the three hours, but he will be the first, is my prediction.
Take eight minutes and listen to Glenn Kirschner’s analysis of the pickle that McCarthy is in and how he put himself there. McCarthy isn’t clever enough to be duplicitous at this level and he’s about to find that out.
This three-hour gap keeps coming up in different conversations with different people. What was Trump doing for three hours? We have heard rumors that he recorded a few different versions of the tape that he finally released, but those rumors are unsubstantiated. The National Archives should have a copy of those first taped efforts and we should be allowed to view those, assuming they exist and haven’t been spirited off by Trump’s allies.
Stephanie Grisham said that Trump just sat there and rewound the footage and watched it on TV over and over again. That needs more clarification. It would be good to know what footage he re-watched that day, because there was so much footage that it took up more than three hours.
Another theory is that various people, Ivanka and Lindsey Graham among them, entreated Trump to do something and he only did do something when he felt like it.
This is key information, the three-hour gap. And McCarthy is going to have to go out there solo on the ice and explain it. After he testifies, then other people will probably be subpoenaed as well to corroborate or elaborate, but unless I miss my guess, McCarthy is going to be the star, “marquee” as Glenn Kirschner puts it, witness.
Give our regards to Broadway, Kevin. Your name is about to go up in lights, and you’re about to go up in smoke.