Woodward and Bernstein say Comey firing is different than Watergate

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor
Bob Woodward, left, and Carl Bernstein speak at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, D.C., last month. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The celebrated investigative reporters credited with breaking the Watergate story that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation weighed in Sunday on President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, which has been compared to the infamous scandal.

“This is not yet Watergate,” Bob Woodward said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There are, you know, a thousand questions, and they should be answered. But there’s no evidence that President Trump, at this point, was somehow involved in collusion here.”

Woodward, who along with Carl Bernstein led the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on Watergate, said Trump’s decision to fire Comey in the middle of the bureau’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia was “not a clear crime.”

“Now that doesn’t mean — you know, we don’t know where this is going,” Woodward said. “There is a tremendous amount of smoke.”

But he also said comparisons of Trump’s firing of Comey to Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox — the special prosecutor investigating the case — are unwarranted because unlike in Nixon’s case, there is no evidence Trump is obstructing justice.

“You have nothing comparable,” Woodward said.

Related: Commentators mostly agree: Firing Comey was positively Nixonian

But, according to Bernstein, Trump’s firing of Comey is “a potentially more dangerous situation than Watergate.”

“We’re at a very dangerous moment,” Bernstein said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “Because we are looking at the possibility that the president of the United States and those around him, during an election campaign, colluded with a hostile foreign power to undermine the basis of our democracy: free elections.”

Like Woodward, Bernstein said there are a lot of facts we do not yet know.


“But what we do know is, is that the president of the United States seems to be doing everything in his power to keep us from knowing the facts,” he said, “including firing the director of the FBI because — says the president of the United States — of ‘this Russia thing.’ So the question of a coverup seems to me to have been answered a while ago.”

“Whether that means the president of the United States obstructed justice or not, or those around him did, we don’t know,” Bernstein added. “But what we see is that at every turn, this president is impeding the ability of those who were chosen to investigate to do so.”

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