Presidential historian Jon Meacham has told MSNBC’S Morning Joe that President Donald Trump’s actions in relation Russia could be treasonous. Joe Scarborough asked Meacham about President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974 and Meacham drew a strong comparison.
“It was a very rapid cascading effect in ’73,” Meacham said. “So the break in is June 17th, ’72. Nixon doesn’t resign until August 8th, ’74. Hearings began, I think it was May of ’73. But this was, this was the season, the last quarter of ’73 when Nixon said ‘I’m not a crook’, which would have fit on Twitter.”
“Then basically what begins to happen in ’74, you have the investigations, but you also have the economy souring,” Meacham said. “And that’s something to watch. If you want … one barometer of what’s going to happen to President Trump, it’s going to be in the corner of everyone’s television sets today, is what the markets are doing. I believe he’s been propped up artificially of what I think of 401(k) Trump supporters. Because their numbers were up they were willing to give him a pass on the rest of it.
“When that begins to crack that goes away,” Meacham said. “One other thought … it is possible that our ordinary political vocabulary, our ordinary vernacular, really isn’t commensurate with what’s happening here. If, in fact, Donald Trump knew about the Russian efforts on his behalf, then there’s a live question about whether he gave … he has been giving aide and comfort to the enemy, which is the definition of treason in the Constitution.”
“So this just isn’t who wins the week, who loses the week conversation. This is an existential constitutional crisis because it’s quite possible that the President of the United States right now is a witting or at least partially witting agent of a foreign power,” Meacham added. “I say that with great care but that’s a possibility. And I think that we have to somewhat tap the brakes on our ordinary assessment of things and realize that this is possibly the biggest kind of question we could confront as a democracy.”
“We’ve never been here before.” Scarborough added.
Meacham’s speculation about the economy reflects what many commentators and economists are saying. There may be a recession in 2019, which would dent the President’s already low popularity and prevent him from bragging about economic achievements on his watch.