Nixon presidential library dismisses comparisons of Trump and Watergate

Former President Richard Nixon’s presidential library weighed in on the firing of FBI Director James Comey on Twitter Tuesday evening, distancing President Donald Trump’s actions from Nixon’s.

“FUN FACT: President Nixon never fired the Director of the FBI,” the library said from its official Twitter account.

The library, based in Yorba Linda, Calif., concluded its tweet with the hashtag, "#notNixonian."

Comey was fired Tuesday afternoon for his handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, according to a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

"I cannot defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken," Rosenstein wrote. "Almost everyone agrees the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives."

But Comey's termination comes as the FBI is investigating Russia's possible influence in the 2016 election, including potential ties to Trump's campaign.


Critics alarmed by the timing of the firing — including Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and Patrick Leahy — have called the dismissal "Nixonian," drawing comparisons to that of Nixon's firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal.

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., compared the firing to the "Saturday Night Massacre," the night that Nixon's attorney general and deputy attorney general resigned as they refused to comply with orders to fire Cox.

Democratic lawmakers have also called for an independent prosecutor to investigate the potential connection between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Comey isn’t the only FBI director to be ousted since Nixon’s presidency.


Former President Bill Clinton fired director William S. Sessions in 1993 after he refused to resign on his own. At the time, Sessions faced ethics questions after a Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility report alleged that he abused his office.

The report concluded that Sessions had not paid taxes on a limousine used to take him to and from work and that he charged the government for a fence built around his home that provided no additional security, the Los Angeles Times reported then. He also took free trips, sometimes with his wife, aboard FBI aircraft, according to reports.

Even still, Clinton was accused by critics of being politically motivated in his removal of Sessions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Clinton said that then-Attorney General Janet Reno had reviewed the Justice Department’s report and concluded “in no uncertain terms that he can no longer effectively lead the bureau."

The New York Times reported at the time that Sessions was known for supporting policies promoting women and minorities within the agency. However, former attorneys general and associates would complain about his absences and management style, the New York Times reported.

Sessions was the first FBI director to be fired.

He currently serves on the board of directors of the Constitution Project, a legal research think tank in Washington, D.C. He is also a partner with Holland & Knight’s law firm, according to the Constitution Project’s website.