Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday rejected comparisons between the Watergate scandal and the investigation into possible connections between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, calling attempts to equate the two “such a long reach.”
“I don’t see any there there,” Rumsfeld, who served in multiple Republican administrations, added in an interview with Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga.
Rumsfeld, as the chief of staff for President Gerald Ford, was privy to the tumult wrought by and in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon’s resignation.
Trump sparked a storm of comparisons to Nixon when he abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey earlier this month. Though the White House claimed Comey was terminated because of how he handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, Trump contradicted his own administration, saying the director was fired for being a “showboat.” He later told Russian diplomats firing Comey relieved “great pressure.”
“The president of the United States has every right in the world to fire anyone he wants,” Rumsfeld said. Still, he conceded the investigation may progress in a direction that would make Comey’s firing, and Trump’s motives, more ominous.
“Who knows what’s going to evolve?” Rumsfeld said. “But sitting here, a comparison with Watergate seems to be a big reach. I can’t imagine.”
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