- A Watergate prosecutor says Trump’s alleged crimes could be “incalculably worse” than Richard Nixon’s.
- Jill Wine-Banks compared the 457-minute gap in Trump’s phone logs on the day of the Capitol riot to an 18.5-minute gap in Nixon’s records.
- “Much can be said in 457 minutes,” Wine-Banks wrote in an op-ed published on NBC News.
A prosecutor during the Watergate scandal believes former President Donald Trump’s alleged crimes, which may have been obfuscated by a lack of White House phone logs, could be “incalculably worse” than former President Richard Nixon’s crimes.
“It is often said that Nixon’s cover-up was worse than his underlying crime. The opposite may be true for Trump,” wrote Jill Wine-Banks in an op-ed published by NBC on April 2.
“Trump’s record gap is 25 times that of Nixon, but his alleged crime could be incalculably worse,” she added.
Trump is currently under scrutiny over a seven-hour, 37-minute gap in White House call logs on the day of the Capitol riot. The lack of those call recordings has also prompted the Jan. 6 House of Representatives committee to investigate a “possible cover-up.”
“Much can be said in 457 minutes,” Wine-Banks wrote. “Comparisons to the 18.5-minute gap in a crucial shot of President Richard Nixon were immediately obvious to me,” she added.
Wine-Banks, who questioned Nixon’s secretary about the rift in 1973, also noted that she “wasn’t the only one to make that connection between Trump and Nixon.”
“First, based on my experience and other experts, Nixon’s hiatus appears to have been a deliberate obliteration. Is that from Trump? We don’t have enough evidence to say for sure yet, but the missing part certainly appears to be intentional,” she wrote.
According to Wine-Banks, the omission of vital data in the Trump case was “suspicious” and prompted a “set of urgent follow-up questions.”
“It is unlikely, even unbelievable, that during a crisis, when he was in the White House, no one called the President for 457 minutes. Even calls that go unanswered at the White House should be included in official logs,” she wrote.
Wine-Banks added that while the gap in Nixon’s conversation was “about covering up a third-rate intrusion,” Trump’s calls were likely about the insurgency and plans to overthrow free and fair US elections.
Watergate was a major political scandal centered on efforts by the Nixon administration to cover up its involvement in a 1972 break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, DC. The scandal led to Nixon’s resignation in August 1974.
Parallels have also been drawn between Watergate and the numerous scandals that have plagued the White House during Trump’s presidency.