Get a little action in

I was born in 69 so I’m not quite old enough to remember the Saturday Night Massacre. All you olds out there, what was it like in terms of the mood of the country? Was there real outrage?

We’re headed towards something like that again, I believe, and I’m curious what it’s going to feel like.

152 replies
  1. 1
    Trentrunner says:

    The Saturday Night Massacre happened on October 23, 1973.

    Nixon didn’t resign until August 9, 1974.

    The GOP was WAY less radical/extremist in 1974 than it is now.

    I think we’re in for a long fucking bumpy ride.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Man, but I could use some action about now.

  3. 3
    debbie says:

    I didn’t hear about it until Sunday morning, when my boyfriend brought in the Sunday Globe. We sat on the porch all morning, reading but not understanding how the country had arrived at that moment. It was much like the way I felt the night of the RFK assassination. Both times, I felt the world was losing its mind.

  4. 4
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I’m not old enough to remember, but the press will blame Hillary and those 2 FBI agents who were banging when Trump shit cans Mueller.

  5. 5
    debbie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    How many minutes?

  6. 6
    andy says:

    I was born in ’61 and nobody ever admitted voting for Nixon after that went down. Of course, back then the GOP wasn’t in the grip of the garbage people to the extent they were now, so it was still possible to get enough of them to do the right thing. Nixon could count votes as well as anybody, so he resigned.

  7. 7
    Mike in NC says:

    @Trentrunner: Way back in ’74 there were still a lot of moderate Republicans, including many from the northeast. They were all targeted for elimination over the years by the extremist wing which now calls itself the Freedumb Caucus.

  8. 8

    To you its all a joke, like the Snooze Hour bots. When are you going to start a betting pool?

  9. 9
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Was there real outrage?

    Here’s a short really compelling video on the firestorm that ensued (

    Even the liberal NY Times was in shock (photo)

  10. 10

    I was 13, so I remember it pretty well, did the news break into regular programming. Everyone pretty much knew that Nixon was a goner at that point.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I was 31 at the time of the SNM, and my recollection is that it was a real shock. I remember feeling just battered and buffeted with every firing and resignation.

    It will not be surprising this time around. We’re all braced for it, we’re all expecting … something. Yes, it will be outrageous, but nobody born after about 1960 will be the least bit shocked.

  12. 12
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    What’s interesting is Nixon thought he could sneak the Saturday Night Massacre through because media attention was focused on the ongoing Yom Kippur War.

    It didn’t work.

  13. 13
    debbie says:


    It will not be surprising this time around.

    Thanks to social media, for better or worse.

  14. 14
    Mike J says:

    When Rosenstein is Richardsoned, is there a Ruckelshaus? Who becomes Bork?

  15. 15
    Paul T says:

    If you read a timeline of the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned less than a year later, as was pointed out earlier in the thread.
    But the Massacre was the beginning of the end. The pressure on Noxious became much more intense from that night on. If you didn’t believe Noxious was a crook before, you certainly did afterwards. Trumpet will be admitting guilt, period. And all the little Trumpets will be noted as guilty forever.

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    trollhattan says:

    Saturday night’s all right for firing.

    Would not surprise me if he moved while the chaos of the tax bill is still fresh. He does so love spectacle.

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    SiubhanDuinne says:


    To you its all a joke, like the Snooze Hour bots.

    Oh, I don’t get that at all from Doug!’s post. He seems to me to be posing a genuine question to those of us who are old enough/in a position to remember 1973.

  20. 20
    FlipYrWhig says:

    There used to be a concern in elite circles, including both parties and the major media, that the US government should avoid doing the kinds of things that totalitarian or banana-republic governments would do, like purging critics and co-opting law enforcement.

    Republicans no longer have this concern, and the major media doesn’t really like to fight with Republicans (mostly they admire their chutzpah [and/or their shoot-spa #bachman]). So we’re boned.

  21. 21
    Emerald says:

    It’s not just the Republicans who have changed. If anyone thinks our current media is going to handle it the way John Chancellor did, they’re dreaming.

    Our media will bothsides it. They’ll take all the shit that Faux and the Republicans have done this week in attacking Mueller and give it credence.

    So, no constitutional crisis this time. Just fascism. Unless police or the military refuses to follow orders.

    Or we get those tumbrels out into the streets. I’m for the tumbrels.

  22. 22
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think you probably could have, but chose not to.

  23. 23
    Feebog says:

    As Trentrunner observed it still took another 9 nine months for the fucker to resign. But it was definitely the turning point. People began to realize there had to be limits to presidential power. But it was a different era. Politicians were not as entrenched as they are now. Some Republicans would be considered moderate Democrats now. I don’t know how Republicans will react to another Saturday Night Massacare, but it sure seems like they are perfectly willing to defer to Trumpov.

  24. 24
    Jay S says:

    I remember the press and politicians reacting with real shock and concern. I am not sure that can happen in today’s environment. First there were more than one person who were willing to be fired instead of going along with it. One person being fired may not have been as shocking even then, but several standing up and saying no caught people’s attention. You couldn’t just ignore it as one person’s insubordination, or lack of judgement. It was a dramatic turning point in the investigation in my opinion. You had to take it seriously.

  25. 25
    smintheus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Yep. It was widely seen as a frank admission of guilt by Nixon. Same would be true of Trump, except this time nearly all Republicans would parrot whatever conspiracy story the White House puts out. As of this weekend, it looks like they’re preparing to claim that Mueller was breaking the law by investigating their emails without their permission.

  26. 26
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: WHy you gotta do that? How about a better Saturday night song?

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: A little from column A, a little from column B.

  28. 28

    I was in my senior year in college and watching TV that night when John Chancellor interrupted whatever I was watching and told the world about it. I had been following Watergate since it started — I spent the summer of ’73 painting houses and listening to Senator Sam Ervin and the Watergate Committee, including the revelation about the tapes — and the SNM seemed inevitable. Archibald Cox was relentless, but the GOP at the time was just as obstinate about protecting Nixon as the Trumpistas are now, so when it happened there was plenty of outrage from the Democrats and media, but the Republicans stood with him.

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    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Mike J: Ruckelshaus was Sally Yates. Bork is Rachel Brand, a Federalist Society extremist.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mike J: I’m just mean.

  32. 32

    @SiubhanDuinne: I don’t find the incessant speculation about when and how Mueller is going to be fired, a productive activity. DougJ has been at it, since Mueller was appointed.

  33. 33
    satby says:

    I had just graduated high school, and it was a big deal, and the beginning of the end of Nixon. Except for the hardest right wingers,it was seen as a tacit admission of guilt.

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    @Mustang Bobby:
    The tapes were just so…Nixon. He basically wove the rope, fashioned the noose and tossed it over the transom himself.

  35. 35
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:



    Really, Omnes?

  36. 36
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I am assuming that DougJ is going ban me now. Nice knowing you all.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Yes, the gloves were off after Tricky Dick made that move. It was painfully obvious he was as guilty as sin at that point. The country was in an uproar.

  38. 38
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    It may not be productive, but I don’t fault him for seeking factual information from those of us who were around at the time.

  39. 39
    Jinchi says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:
    Yikes! I hope Trump isn’t planning to start WW3 just to distract from firing Mueller

  40. 40

    Most of Nixon’s last twelve months was taken up with the stalling over the tapes. The Supreme Court removed Nixon from office, for all practical purposes, by ordering the release of the tapes. It was all over in a few days after that. Only a tiny handful of individuals knew what was on the tapes. A lot of people know what is “on Trump’s tapes” and there has been plenty of time to price that knowledge into the rhetoric.

    A fire extinguisher can only be used once. Then it is empty.

  41. 41
    Mark says:

    Nixon carried the nickname of “Tricky.” He had campaigned on his foreign policy credentials, but we were clearly losing in Vietnam. The Senate hearings were gripping to my cohort, and they prepared the setting. By the time of the SNM, the narrative had slipped away from him. We did not hear all of the tapes by then, but he was losing it. It was King Lear in real life, “I would not be mad.”

  42. 42
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I will put in a good word on your behalf. When I’m not being a Mob Enforcer, I’m a fine Character Witness.

  43. 43
    debbie says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    I had been following Watergate since it started…and the SNM seemed inevitable.

    I was working at Boston University as assistant to the office manager of the General Biology Department. I was supposed to type up all of the exams for the freshmen intro courses (on those mimeograph things). I thought I would die, until one of the grad students brought in a little t.v. and asked me to watch and report on the proceedings. It at least broke up the monotony. I still remember very clearly the Friday afternoon when Alexander Butterfield testified that why yes, Nixon taped all of his conversations.

  44. 44
    dr. bloor says:

    @Mike J: The one thing the administration won’t have any trouble with is finding a Bork. He probably has more volunteers than he can handle.

  45. 45
    debbie says:


    Argh, forgot what I meant to say: That I followed closely, but that he would actually go so far as to fire Cox and Richardson was a real surprise to me.

  46. 46
    dr. bloor says:

    @Emerald: As Adam has pointed out in other posts, this isn’t strictly a domestic affair this time around. Our former allies have intelligence as well, and if the US makes an effort to sweep the corruption and duplicity under the rug, other countries are going to sweep it right back into daylight.

  47. 47

    @SiubhanDuinne: I find a different iteration of the same thread, fatiguing. So I will make myself scarce now.

  48. 48
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Frank Wilhoit: Also, if you look at the economic statistics, over those twelve months the economy was sliding into the crapper. Nixon might not have lost so much support if the country wasn’t entering prolonged stagflation while the Watergate thing dragged on.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Yes, I was thinking of social media. We’ve been speculating about the possibility for weeks, on FB and Twitter and BJ and Uncle Tom Cobley and all. So if it happens, whenever it happens, we’re braced for it.

    We’re also, of course, geared and organized to take to the streets on a moment’s notice. Also thanks to social media.

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    @dr. bloor: May I ask who (what country IC) will be believed when the USA IC is poo-poo’ed on this matter?

  51. 51
    Dave says:

    @Hunter Gathers: No they won’t. Oh there will be a few sops to the texts which is a few too many and far too many some say but the media, other than Fox, isn’t primed to treat this as anything but a spectacle. The ultimate answer to that is of course elections. If those are terminally comprised well then we are living in the sort of interesting times I really wish we weren’t.
    So if he fires Mueller will anything immediate happen to him? Probably not. Will that be immensely frustrating and concerning. Hell yes! Does that mean he wins. Hell no.

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  53. 53
    maeve says:

    Born in 57. My parents were politically active so I remember it evolving. Right after the Watergate breakin I remember interviews in the news where people said “what’s the big deal – what did the Dems have to hide?” – so the evolving story and Saturday massacre was a big deal, but remember watching the Watergate hearings that summer and the biggest deal was when Butterfield said there were tapes.

    When Nixon resigned I heard it on the car radio while driving with my Dad to go visit a college (I was a senior in high school then) – that was actually a big shock.

  54. 54
    Trentrunner says:

    Josh Barro and few others speculate that this latest email story + all the other GOP “Mueller must go” stories are laying the groundwork not for firing Mueller but for discrediting/undermining his entire investigation so the GOP can ignore its findings.


  55. 55
    mai naem mobile says:

    I’m too young to remember any of it but I don’t think the GOP needs Dolt45 after the tax bill so I am not sure they’ll all stand with him especially the Senate. There will be a Ruckleshaus because there’s too many lawyers who know their American history and want to be on the right side in history books. Where’s efg? I bet he has something to add to this thread.

  56. 56
    uila says:

    Yes, but who will write and record the Sweet Home Alabama of our day?? I hope it’s got a catchy hook!

  57. 57
    Jay S says:

    @dr. bloor: The massacre followed the AG and deputy AG until it got to Bork being appointed. Now it’s not clear who would need to be fired or who would do the firing, but there are too many toadies even with the lack of appointments.

  58. 58
    JPL says:

    The firings were a shocking moment in history, and although Nixon remained for sometime, his power was gone. It’s not comparable to today, because the republicans would welcome it.

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s the type of thing that gives lawyers a bad name. just sayin

  59. 59
    Barbara says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Thanks for saying this, I feel exactly the same way , although even Josh Marshall is starting to get worried.

  60. 60
    Bostonian says:

    Only Rosenstein can fire Mueller. If Trump says Mueller is fired, Rosenstein can correct him.

  61. 61
    jl says:

    I was a little too young to follow it closely or understand the significance, though in HS and old enough to think Nixon was a complete jerk and manipulative con-man. IIRC, GOP, as extremist today or not, defended Nixon until he was so politically toxic that they jettisoned him out of political self-preservation. I think the same dynamic will work here.

    If Adam is correct, and other countries have interesting info and feed it to news organizations after US investigations get shut down or slowly grind to a halt, and people are out in the streets, Trump will get very politically toxic.

    So, maybe something like:
    GOP wrings all the legislative goodies they can out of Trump, like their rich man’s tax scam, and maybe in Spring, some damage to entitlements.
    Try to defend Trump through primaries to stave off defeat from enraged Truimpster GOP base (might be all that’s left of the GOP primary base by then. Look at depressed GOP vote in VA and AL specials).
    Dump him afterward in order to avoid an electoral catastrophe (of 1932 proportions perhaps) in midterms.

    Sound implausible because of the extreme nihilism and cynicism that would take. But we’ve already seen that from them.

  62. 62
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    mike in dc says:

    Chain of command in DOJ:
    1. Sessions(recused)
    2. Rod Rosenstein(won’t fire him)
    3. Rachel Brand(might fire him)
    4. Solicitor General–Noel Francisco(might fire him)
    5. Dana Boente(won’t fire him)

    If Trump goes through that whole list and nobody agrees to fire Mueller, it’s an unmitigated disaster for him. Even just Rosenstein refusing to fire him effectively duplicates the effects of the SNM, because the public will(60% of them, anyway) recognize that Mueller wasn’t fired for cause, he was fired to try to shut down the investigation of the president–fired by the president himself.

    I expect DC will be lively if/when this happens. If it shuts down the whole investigation, expect mass protests for months, and an electoral bloodletting next November.

  64. 64
    Mike J says:

    @Bostonian: And only Richardson could fire Cox.

  65. 65
    lowtechcyclist says:

    All you olds out there, what was it like in terms of the mood of the country? Was there real outrage?

    The public reaction, in the words of TIME magazine (not prone to exaggerate), was a “firestorm.”

    My fellow olds undoubtedly remember the “Impeach the Cox Sacker!” bumper stickers.

  66. 66
    Jager says:

    “Impeach the Cox Sacker” bumper stickers appeared over night in Boston. I think I saw my first on the following Monday.

  67. 67
    JPL says:

    Truthfully what does he have to lose. His base is solidly behind him, and the house judicial committee will do zilch.

    Nixon improved water quality, and Trump is polluting it. The times have changed.

  68. 68
  69. 69
    Marcopolo says:

    Did I miss anyone talking about this?

    Mueller has the emails of Trump’s transition team:

    A lawyer for President Trump’s transition team said Saturday that Robert Mueller’s special counsel office obtained tens of thousands of emails from the Trump transition organization illegally, Reuters reports.

    Kory Langhofer, counsel to Trump for America (TFA), wrote a letter to several congressional committees claiming that Mueller’s team improperly obtained thousands of emails from the General Services Administration (GSA), where the Trump transition team housed its staffers during the transition.

    Langhofer’s letter accuses Mueller’s team of “unlawfully produc[ing] TFA’s private materials, including privileged communications, to the Special Counsel’s Office,” according to Reuters.

  70. 70
    germy says:

    .@LindseyGrahamSC & @CoryBooker have a bill that would require the Justice Department to have judicial approval to fire Mueller—& @SenThomTillis & @ChrisCoons have a bill that would allow Mueller to contest any firing after the fact—Demand they pass bills to #ProtectMueller!— Scott Dworkin (@funder) December 16, 2017

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:


    That’s the type of thing that gives lawyers a bad name.

    Shot through the heart! And Omnes is to blame. You give lawyers, a bad name!

  72. 72
    germy says:

    @mike in dc:

    electoral bloodletting next November.

    Christ, I’m hoping for that no matter WHAT happens.

  73. 73
    Mike J says:

    @Marcopolo: Every single day the FBI goes to an ISP somewhere and says, “we’d like to see this user’s email.” Cops can ask for anything they want. It’s up to the ISP to tell them to go get a warrant.

  74. 74
    Tom Q says:

    I was in my first year out of college, working in Chicago. I’d been to a movie that night, and stopped by some friends’ apartment on the way home. They were gleeful at the opportunity to tell me all I’d missed; I did catch a bit of John Chancellor, saying, with utter solemnity, “These are actions without precedent in our country’s history”.

    Watergate had been on a slow boil since Spring, but this seemed a decisive moment: there was a clear “why would he do this if he wasn’t guilty?” thing in the air. I remember watching the TV news on Monday, the first work-day back. People were standing outside the White House holding “Honk for impeachment” signs, and behind them you could hear a cacophony of horns blowing. From then on, we knew Nixon was going down.

    Yes, it was another almost nine months till the resignation because, like now, the prosecutors had to get all their ducks in a row. I understand a bit of the cynicism here — GOPers in general are of a lower life-form than they were in 1973. But I still say, when faced with clear evidence of constitutional malfeasance, enough of them will blink and drop their support for Trump. There may be nasty resistance from his Fox-brainwashed die-hards — including violence — but I think punishment will be dealt in the end.

  75. 75
    mike in dc says:

    Of course there’s nothing unlawful about it, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it listed on any memo firing Mueller.

    I’m pulling for Mueller to pull something out of his hat during the meeting with Trump’s attorneys, something to scare them into backing off. He absolutely has to be aware of the machinations going on. He can’t be indifferent to it.

  76. 76
    germy says:

    @Mike J:

    Every single day the FBI goes to an ISP somewhere and says, “we’d like to see this user’s email.”

    With some of the titles Doug! chooses for his posts, my browsing history has probably attracted some attention…

  77. 77
    Mike J says:

    @mike in dc: Show them a list of people who went to prison when Nixon went to California. WH counsel, special counsel to the president, etc, etc.

  78. 78
    Corner Stone says:

    @Marcopolo: Illegally? The claim is Mueller has the emails by way of an inappropriate act or manner?

  79. 79
    NotMax says:

    Yes, it was immediately perceived as a BFD, a lightning bolt of unprecedented voltage. Record numbers of telegrams of protest flooded into D.C.

    Which is why it is singled out as the Saturday Night Massacre, not ‘one of those things Nixon did.’

    Cox’ deputy prosecutor immediately after held the press conference where he famously intoned Cox’ own statement, “Whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people.”

    It was a major turning point in the scandal, and helped make impeachment feel like a real possibility.

    “The television networks offered hour-long specials,” Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein write in their book The Final Days. They continue:

    The newspapers carried banner headlines. Within two days, 150,000 telegrams had arrived in the capital, the largest concentrated volume in the history of Western Union. Deans of the most prestigious law schools in the country demanded that Congress commence an impeachment inquiry. By the following Tuesday, forty-four separate Watergate-related bills had been introduced in the House. Twenty-two called for an impeachment investigation.


  80. 80
    Jeffro says:

    OMG most boringest opening band ever tonight, yeesh…

  81. 81
    Marcopolo says:

    @Mike J: I understand that. And I assume they issued subpoenas to get the legally. But two points: 1) they have all the emails (instead of the cherry picked ones the transition team lawyers wanted to turn over)—which I hope means lots of incriminating info; 2) and perhaps because of that the Trumpists are appealing to Congressional R’s to say this was an inappropriate action (mind you they did not say illegal cause they can’t). Anyways, I do think we all need to be ready to hit the streets in the next week or two.

  82. 82
    jl says:

    @Marcopolo: A Trumpster hack is in charge of The Hill, and sometimes they put out slanted stories. Do a search ‘Mueller emails Trump transition team general services administration’ and you’ll get dozens of hits. Business Insider seems to have most complete report.

    Mueller has obtained ‘tens of thousands’ of Trump transition team emails
    Business Insider
    Sonam Sheth

  83. 83
    Schlemazel says:

    @mai naem mobile:
    I’d buy that except that Pence would sign the piece of shit too so they don’t need Dump at all. This goes much deeper

  84. 84
    germy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Kory Langhofer, counsel to the transition team known as Trump for America, Inc., wrote a letter to congressional committees to say Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had improperly received the emails from the General Services Administration, a government agency.

    It’s rawstory, so…

  85. 85
    Mike J says:

    @NotMax: And even that didn’t really get impeachment going. Nixon hired Leon Jaworski to take cox’s place and things went back to a simmer.

    It did make impeachment seem like a real possibility though.

  86. 86
    Marcopolo says:

    @Corner Stone: That’s the Trump folks spin as reported by the Hill. Am on my phone so I can’t use all the prettying function like block quoting to show I am just reporting not agreeing.

  87. 87
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    It’s strange to say this, since the words were written by an American lyricist. But Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting is really not a song you should cover if you can’t get your tongue around the very British vocabulary and cultural references.

  88. 88
    Mike J says:

    @Marcopolo: Keep in mind also that even if some emails contained privileged communications, that would mean they couldn’t be used in a trial, not that it would be illegal for a prosecutor to read them. And since impeachment is a 100% political act, the standard rules of evidence don’t really matter.

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    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @andy: I voted for Nixon in ‘68, for reasons I don’t recall. Of course I was only 11 years old and it was a school straw poll, so I don’t think I affected the totals.

    I wasn’t really aware of politics in 73 and didn’t really notice Watergate till the televised hearings started. Then it was everywhere.

  90. 90
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    Born in 62. It consumed the summers of 73 and 74 for my pubescent self, as well as afternoon TV.

  91. 91
    Marcopolo says:

    @jl: Fark. I’d forgotten the Hill has gotten slanty. Thanks for the reminder. Still suspect this will be the lead news on tomorrow’s shows.

  92. 92
    debbie says:


    Check him out. Not very impressive, but then I’m not a lawyer.

  93. 93
    jl says:

    @Mike J: Business Insider quotes lawyers experienced in white collar crime cases who say that the claim of illegality is BS, actually there is nothing at all even unusual about the transfer.

    And the Trumpster lawyers themselves give the game away that it’s BS in my (IANAL) humble opinion. In one story they were quoted as saying both that the transfer of emails was currently illegal, and that Congress needs to pass a law to keep it from happening again. Huh?

  94. 94
    NotMax says:

    @Mike J

    It did, however, serve to move the concept of impeachment from the realm of the esoteric and/or purely partisan to a prominent place on the adult table.

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @Marcopolo: Didn’t mean to suggest you agreed. Only that the “illegal” wording was the angle they were trying to use to discredit Mueller.

  96. 96
    rikyrah says:

    Maddow did a segment, reporting back then. The Congress was overwhelmed by the number of telegrams sent to Congress, in a short time period. It was 50,000 sent in like 48 hours.

  97. 97
    JCJ says:

    I don’t exactly remember the Saturday Night Massacre (I was born in December 1961), but I have mentioned before that the Congressman for my area at that time was Earl Landgrebe. He became famous for his unending support for Nixon with the statement “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve got a closed mind.” I see no reason to think that the entire Republican party has long adopted that mindset.

  98. 98
    xjmuellerlurks says:

    I had just turned 21 and didn’t really follow politics yet. However, like most college students at the time, I didn’t like Nixon. My friends and I all thought that this was a massive admission of guilt on his part. Gee, we were right. As others have said, the Repubs of the time were different from today’s crowd, so I won’t hold my breath waiting for them to act honorably or ethically.

  99. 99
    Bostonian says:

    @Marcopolo: The best part is that they have two sets of emails: the total set, and the subset given over by the lawyers. All they have to do is overlay them like a palimpsest, and they know where the dirt is. It made their job easier.

  100. 100
    Marcopolo says:

    As for the Nixon impeachment stuff. My family was on vacation in Canada the summer of ‘74. My father made sure every place we stayed had TVs we could watch the hearings on which we did every night. I was 12 so I remember watching but not necessarily being entranced—though i was the only person in my 5th grade class to openly support McGovern.

  101. 101
    Corner Stone says:

    @debbie: I’m not sure. How many do you have?

  102. 102
    jl says:

    @Marcopolo: Yeah, it will get some play. Means some dramz, eyeballs, and excitement for nitwit news actors fraudulently pretending to be journalists on corporate TV news shows.

  103. 103
    Felanius Kootea says:

    Since firing Mueller wouldn’t stop the investigation, just as firing Comey didn’t stop the investigation, I’m not sure what the point would be. It’s fun to speculate for some, I guess.

  104. 104
    debbie says:


    In the link to
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch’s video (post #9), they show the telegrams being gathered and counted.

  105. 105
    jl says:

    I don’t remember if there were street demonstrations after Nixon’s SNM. I believe several big ones have already been organized in case Trump tries to shut down the investigations.

    So, that may be one difference. A lot of people will be out in the streets immediately if Trump does something so dangerous and desperate. And Trump’s job approval is continuing its long slide. Might go below 30 percent very quickly if Trump springs a Happy Holiday surprise.

  106. 106
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @debbie: Yale Law, journal editor, State Supreme Court law clerk, DOJ criminal division. All that looks pretty good on a resume.

  107. 107
    debbie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Ignore it. Feeling lousy from the pneumonia vaccine I got.

  108. 108
    debbie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Mitt Romney seems to have been impressed.

  109. 109
    AnonPhenom says:

    I was a senior in high school. I remember it being a lot like That 70’s Show. Except I was in Queens, so…more drugs, and POC.
    But we all knew Nixon and his crew were crooks.

  110. 110
    raven says:

    I was deep in the shit.

  111. 111
    Ruckus says:

    In Oct 73? Different shit?
    Twenty four yrs old, I was already discharged from the navy in Oct 73. By then my hair was down to my shoulders and my beard was several inches long.

  112. 112
    mskitty says:

    Post SNM, the term “pitchforks and torches” began to be heard in the land.

  113. 113
    Porlock Junior says:

    @maeve: A quick text search seems to show that this hasn’t yet come up, so:

    It’s necessary, in talking of the SNM and where people were when the resignation came out, to mention the dancing in the streets, which actually happened the night of the resignation. At least in Berkeley, I don’t know about the rest of the country.

    I don’t think that will happen this time around, because things are so much worse now after the death of the non-treasonous faction of the GOP; but if it does, just picture the reaction in the era of flash mob. Spectacular.

  114. 114
    Emerald says:

    @dr. bloor: I like your thinking!

  115. 115
  116. 116
    Susan says:

    I was in my first year of law school. When I first heard of it I was frightened. We all thought Nixon was “the worst president ever” (I regret how I’ve over used that phrase for so many GOP presidents in the past) so I wasn’t surprised he would sink that low even though I didn’t see it coming at all. I remember being proud of those who quit rather than carry out his order. I remember the law professors wouldn’t even answer our questions, they kept saying “it is a political problem, not a legal one”.

    I look back on it now and it seems like such a quaint crime, stealing from the opposition party, compared to selling our country out to a sworn enemy. (Yes, I know, it was the coverup that got Nixon, but at the heart of it, it was a “3rd rate burglary”.)

  117. 117
    raven says:

    @Ruckus: Looks like most people are gone from this thread. I’ve got all the shit figured out for the RB. We’re parking in Colorado One, sitting in bleachers at Colorado and Pasadena Ave right on the freeway bridge. I expect to get there @ 5am, hang and get to our seats at 7. That will give us 4 hrs to kill before kickoff. There is a chance I might go ahead and park in Lot H depending on what traffic is like that early.

  118. 118
    sigyn says:

    Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! I always thought those lyrics were “…getting an election in.”

    I have been singing along, loudly & enthusiastically, for *years*. Oh my god I’m just cringing right now.

  119. 119
    NotMax says:


    Leave us not forget the break-in which was caught was a return visit. To, among other things, replace some bugs planted earlier which had gone wonky.

  120. 120
    geg6 says:

    I was 14 and totally obsessed with the entire Watergate saga. My parents were pretty political and definitely intent on making us good, informed citizens, so we watched almost every minute of hearings we could. I remember my mom telling us that when we all went to mass the next day that we should pray for our country to be rid of that evil man.

  121. 121
    mad citizen says:

    Yes, nickelback, wtf? I have a cd single of The Who doing the tune:

  122. 122
    efgoldman says:

    what was it like in terms of the mood of the country? Was there real outrage?

    Yes (I was 29 in ’74, and had a radio in my office); I hung on every word, and watched the rebroadcasts at night.
    By the massacree, it was clear that Tricksie was covering up something, We had been appalled by all the ancillary stuff that came under “Watergate” (plumbers, briefcases full of cash) the massacre involved two rock-ribbed, unimpeachable Republicans (Cox and Richardson). I think that’s a big part of what pushed GOP senate leader Howard Baker to the precipice.
    I haven’t read other comments above. Other recollections may be different.]

  123. 123
    Ruckus says:

    Well that’s what I thought, different shit.
    My hair wasn’t as long as yours but it was getting there. I seem to recall that I didn’t cut my hair for I want to say at least 3 yrs maybe 4. And then it was a trim. Of course they made me get a haircut 2 days before discharge. Fucking assholes. Like I was going to reenlist. Fat fucking chance.
    OK on the RB. I seriously doubt that I will get up anywhere near that early. Even though the parade will wake me up. Has every year so far. This will be my third yr living 2 blocks from the parade. But there is no parking around my place so traffic is worse on a Fri/Sat night than it will be on the 31/1st.
    Sounds like a visit, even a short one is out of the question. Oh well maybe next time. Enjoy!

  124. 124
    Mike J says:

    @raven: I had been out of diapers for several years, so I was out of the shit too.

  125. 125
    NotMax says:


    Cox was a Dem. Had been JFK’s solicitor general and had penned the first draft of the voting rights act under LBJ. Was in consideration for Supreme Court under Carter.

  126. 126
    SectionH says:

    Late as usual but I’ve been wondering a bit why the SNM is still so vague to me. When I looked at the dates on Comment 1,the penny finally dropped. I was 22 then, and had been active politically since I was 16. But my son was born in Sept. 73 and spent the 1st month of his life in the High Risk Nursey at the University Med Center which so luckily had the latest equipment to keep him alive. He was a preemie, and had Hyaline Membrane syndrome (the same thing which killed the Kennedy baby a decade earlier). He spent a month there. I think we may have actually brought him home that Saturday. So yeah…

    I paid a lot more attention to the last several months of Watergate.

    And I’m pleased to add that my son has always been interested in politics, and is now involved in a local campaign right now, backing a really worthwhile guy.

  127. 127
    raven says:

    @Ruckus: I didn’t cut my hair until I broke my back in 75. They taped it up for the surgery and left it for 6 weeks. I was before dreads or I might have had something! It would be nice to run into you but I know it’s going to be a logistical nightmare.

  128. 128
    SectionH says:

    @efgoldman: My usual mistake IS to read all the comments, and then it’s a dead thread. Damned one way or the other.

  129. 129
    BC in Illinois says:

    In Oct 73, I was 24, out of the Navy for two months. Married, back in college.

    And the thing I remember of the time from ’73 to ’74 is that things did change. Bit by bit, people got fed up with the lies, then the new stories, which then turned out to be lies. There was an increase in the number of people saying, “This can’t go on. This has to stop.” Even the Chicago Tribune came around–at the end.

    90% of Fox viewers supported Trump in January; now its down to the 70s. The Republicans still support Trump, but fewer people say they’re Republican. Oct 73 was a year out from the election, just like we are now. Think if the poll numbers keep dropping, if more people say “This can’t keep going on. This has to stop.” The Sat Night Massacre kept the process going on. The marches in the street if Trump tries the same will keep the process going on.

    Things can change.

  130. 130
    Irony Abounds says:

    Unfortunately the Dems had leverage in ’73, the GOP was, generally speaking, not traitorous assholes, and the media wasn’t consumed by false equivalence, so there were repercussions when Nixon pulled that shit. Today, the Dems have zero leverage, at best the GOP will be concerned, and the media will act outraged until Trump says something stupid and then simply move on to the next story. Guarantee you that Trump gets away with firing Mueller and then pardoning everyone in sight. There may be a backlash in the ’18 election, but still not enough to give the Dems any real power to do anything. In the meantime, Medicare and Social Security will be cut, programs for the poor gutted and decent common sense regulations repealed. Maybe I’m just in a pessimistic mood, but Trump won the election and that was far more unbelievable than the things I predicted.

  131. 131
    Emdee says:

    @mike in dc: Let’s walk through it.

    Trump can’t fire Mueller; he can only direct Rosenstein to do it. We presume Rosenstein will refuse. What’s Trump’s next move?

    He directs Sessions to fire Rosenstein and replace Rosenstein with someone who will fire Mueller. Sessions has three possible responses: “yes sir,” “no sir,” and “I can’t because I have recused mahself, I say, re-cused mahself.”

    If Sessions says yes and fires Rosenstein, he has violated his recusal to the point where people can question whether Rosenstein and Mueller have, in fact, been dismissed. This may actually be Trump’s best hope.

    If Sessions says “I’m recused” and sticks with it, I have few doubts Trump will just fire him and go down the chain until he finds the Liberty University Law School graduate he needs to sign the paperwork. The same thing happens if Sessions says “no, I won’t fire Rosenstein.”

    But, see, at that point, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions Fontaine de la Tour Dauterive III becomes Trump’s worst nightmare. He is in up to his neck way over his head with the Russian-Trump collusion, has no power to protect himself, has no friends in the White House, and can’t even pursue his dream of restoring the U.S. to the days when the Emmitt Till lynching was “a good afternoon.”

    Why wouldn’t he go straight to whoever may still be investigating this and spill everything he knows for full immunity? I’ll bet NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would love to know what campaign irregularities happened within his state’s borders.

    IMHO, this is why Trump is so desperate to convince the GOP Congress somehow to find a way for the legislative branch to shut down this investigation. It’s the only way he can keep Sessions in the DOJ where Trump feels he’s safe.

    Call me naive if you want. Also because I think Trump is entirely unprepared for whatever Mueller turns up against Trump and his family. Trump, getting all his news from Fox News Channel, thinks he’ll go on TV and say whatever Mueller says is a lie and “fake news” and that’ll be the end of it. At worst, he might have to send Jared and Ivanka back to NYC or pay a civil penalty. That’s how all his previous trouble has worked out.

    He has no idea.

  132. 132
    Doug! says:

    Nickelback is far from the worst music development to come out of candidate this decade.

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Doug!: Damn, that’s all the reaction I get from you? FWIW, I was listening to the original while I link to the horror.

  134. 134
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Irony Abounds: Let’s just curse God and die then, right?

  135. 135
    J R in WV says:

    I got out of the USN in February, 1973, after a regulation haircut, which was the first one in weeks, as I was wearing a neck brace for my slightly broken neck. I got tickets to where my wife was, the shipyard where my ship had been until a month before.

    We gathered up our stuff, rented a U-Haul and booked for West Virginia, where we both went to work for the family business – the local newspaper. Wife was soon City Editor, I worked downstairs in the composing room, learning the old way of publishing news, with hot-type cast from molten metal.

    By the Saturday Night Massacre, (wife and I were anti-war liberals) we were at a party, mostly staff and spouses at someone’s home, when the music on the radio was interrupted by news announcements. Everyone was a news junkie, some more than others.

    Wife and I went to the office, around 11 pm. This was decades before the internet, but there was newswire services to papers and TV and radio stations, dedicated phone lines providing The Associated Press newswire, the NYT newswire, UPI, several others. These were feeding data to teletypes, which produced typed news stories on “endless” fanfold sheets of paper.

    When a new story came over the wire, a bell would ring, to alert staff that something had happened in the teletype room. The more important the story was, the more the bell would ring. One bell was a football score, an arrest, a bank robbery. Two bells was a big crime, a playoff score. Three bells was a major politician indicted or arrested in a gambling den raid.

    Four bells was an event during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Five bells was Pearl Harbor, JFK’s murder, the firing of the Attorney General. We spent several hours there, late into Saturday night and Sunday’s wee hours. It was pretty dark, everyone was gone by the time we got there.

    A place that was totally hectic during production hours, different for the morning paper and the afternoon paper, was late on Saturday and early on Sunday empty, quiet, dark and somber. We listened to bells ringing to announce a new lead to one story, a write-through update to another story, different news services competing to provide the most compelling coverage.

    Bells rang when the Assistant AG was fired, over and over as new bits of information were added to the accounts. More bells rang when Bork, Solicitor General and 3rd in line of authority at the Justice Department, fired the Special Prosecutor. 4 bells? 5 bells? I really don’t remember, because all those teletypes were ringing constantly.

    Nothing actually happened other than political maneuvering that night or Sunday… the Sunday AM talking head shows were different, but we were asleep for that.

    It was pretty tense, Democrats were more pissed than ever, and Republicans were slowly realizing that they did not have a winning hand to play. The hearings were broadcast, and gradually politicians came to believe they had to do something to back up the constitution, which Nixon was riding roughshod over.

    I don’t think what happened then has much predictive benefit to offer today… things are too different.

    Watergate was dirty politics followed by a failed attempt to cover up the crimes. This affair is treason, the purchase of a president by a hostile foreign power, while nuclear threats are being made in two different hot spots, where the sitting president only has real leverage with aircraft carrier strike forces and boomer submarines.

  136. 136
    Sloegin says:

    Was a wee lad of 9 years during the ruckus, grew up in Nixon country (Spokane) and dad was a staunch R to the end and beyond. The local paper was (and still is) hard right, and TV viewing was carefully filtered by pops. It was still pretty much inescapable though.
    The news these days feels very similar, except for the fast-forward speed of it, like some meth-head with his hands on the remote. The big difference now is our having a pure propaganda channel instead of the 3 relatively level-headed networks, and minor things like Rockefeller Republicans being anti and Dixiecrats being pro Tricky Dick.
    The thing I fear this time isn’t Fox, it’s that so many R’s are *in on this* they’re all going to fight like hell. It’s not completely implausible we end up with President Hatch after it’s all said and done.

  137. 137
    Skepticat says:

    There was real outrage, but this was back when having the president be a lying sack of manure wasn’t something normal and even celebrated. Of course, I already was terribly frustrated and never understood why Watergate didn’t cost Tricky Dick the election. The Saturday Night Massacre was the beginning of the end because in the olden days, having the president be dishonest and abuse his power seemed like a bad thing. I fear it’ll be deja vu all over again, but this time there’ll be no real consequences. As a matter of fact, I find it almost laughable that people are calling for impeachment because of his sexual harassment, while tRump’s true assault is on democracy, our political system, and basic law.

  138. 138
    Skepticat says:

    @J R in WV: I worked at a television station at the time, and I can hear the teletype bells now. And yes, basic treason does trump a minor burglary by a bit.

  139. 139
    WaterGirl says:

    @J R in WV: Love your newspaper story. Thanks.

  140. 140
    Doug R says:

    I’m pretty sure the blogs back then didn’t just roll over like Eeyores in a frenzy of self pity, loathing and despair.
    Seriously, the Democrats just won a Senate seat in Alabama, the Pew, Quinnipiac, and Monmouth polls all have trump at RECORD lows of 32 per cent. It took two terms for Nixon and W to get there. Qunnipiac has the generic ballot at D+14, Monmouth has it at D+15.
    Buck up, buttercups.

  141. 141
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Tom Q:

    there was a clear “why would he do this if he wasn’t guilty?” thing in the air.

    This time around, they’ve been laying the propaganda groundwork to convince the loyal that Mueller is some nefarious biased figure. Even some people who think Trump is guilty believe this. Everyone either already believes Trump is guilty, or won’t be convinced by any action he takes against Mueller.

  142. 142
    Doug R says:

    @Matt McIrvin: He’s at 32 per cent, the snow job ain’t gonna work.

  143. 143
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Anyway, I’m in the OP’s boat, I have only vague confused memories of people picking on Nixon for some unfathomable reason involving tapes or something, even though he had to be a good guy because he was the President. (My parents did not agree on this last point.)

  144. 144
    JGabriel says:


    Both times, I felt the world was losing its mind.

    I’ve felt that way since the night Trump was selected by the Electoral College,

  145. 145
    monoglot says:

    There was absolute outrage in my Democratic household, and the Democratic households of both sets of grandparents–all in Texas. There was a real sense that the country was not going to survive a continuation of the Nixon presidency, but that stopping it had to be careful and deliberate.

    At my high school, there were picnic tables outside where non-politically focused students gathered with the political junkies to listen to discussions about why this was a crisis.

    Also sparked life-long loathing of Bork, btw.

  146. 146
    maurinsky says:

    I was born in 1969, but my earliest memory is of my father yelling at Tricky Dick on TV.

  147. 147
    JimV says:

    I saw the Kennedy-Nixon debates on TV – the one with the famous legend that those who watched it thought Kennedy won and those who heard it on the radio thought Nixon won. My take on that was that we who saw it had more information: not Nixon’s sweaty jowls (which I didn’t notice), but his beady, constantly blinking eyes. I never saw a speech by him without thinking, this guy is trying to sell me a used car and it’s a lemon. (That was a cliche too, but a darned accurate one.)

    The Cox firing was no surprise to me, as a consequence. It definitely shook up the news media, though. My main reaction that I can remember is that Richardson seemed very pleased to leave the Nixon administration on those terms. Sort of like how I felt when I quit GE after Welch’s hires trickled down to my department. I imagine there are still some in the Trump administration who will react similarly when Trump fires Mueller, even in these parlous times.

  148. 148
    Doug! says:

    @Doug R:

    As I’ve pointed out before, the aftermath of Watergate was huge Dem gains in Congress.

  149. 149
    EL says:

    I was in college, and a Watergate junkie. I remember feeling like this was America on the road to a third world dictatorship; I was shocked and felt drained. I remember my roommate playing “Four Dead in Ohio” and “Military Madness.” The outcry nationwide was heartening.

    Favorite resulting bumper sticker: “Fire the Cox sacker”

  150. 150

    @Emerald: The judiciary is different, too. Will there be a judge as independent and as willing to do the right thing as Judge Sirica?

  151. 151
    Bonnie says:

    You are really, really young! I graduated from high school in 1963. Later, that November John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Politically, everything went downhill from there. I was 27 when the Watergate burglary occurred. I lived in Seattle; and, the Seattle Times published all the articles from The Washington Post. I watched the hearings when I could; but, I worked. It was a steady crescendo of corruption until the tapes were released. I had never seen so many “expletive deleted” in all my life–or ever before. Later in my life, around 1985, I started spending time in used bookstores. I found and read every book ever written on Watergate. Now, I am the resident expert. But, Watergate was nothing compared to Trump and his cohorts colluding with Russia to hurt our country. There does seem to be a pattern, though. Nixon, Reagan, and Trump have all committed treason . . . when will they be held accountable?

  152. 152
    SWMBO says:

    @Carolyn M Kay: Wouldn’t it be an ironic hoot if it came down to Merrick Garland?

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