Watergate reporter has an urgent message for panicked GOP: Put 'principle above party'


As Trump tries to sabotage the Russia probe, legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein urges Republicans to do what's best for the country.

Legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is urging Republicans not to provide cover for Donald Trump as he tries to "sabotage" special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, which entered a new phase Friday evening when it was reported that the first indictments would be coming Monday.

Instead of complying with the federal investigation and letting the facts play out, Trump and some of those around him have "sought to muddy the waters" by diverting attention to Hillary Clinton, Bernstein told CNN's Don Lemon.

And he cautioned Republicans against joining Trump in his efforts to derail the probe into Russian interference, and questioned why anyone involved would try to sabotage the process if they have nothing to hide.

"Every citizen would hope that the President of the United States and those around him — particularly if they maintain there's no 'there' there — would do everything possible to cooperate with the investigation," Bernstein said.

"But so far, we've seen just the opposite," he added.

Bernstein, whose investigative reporting helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974, compared the current situation to that era and urged Republicans to "put principle above party."

"I do go back to Watergate and think of a time when Republicans were those who said, 'We will put principle above party. We want to see these investigations of Richard Nixon proceed. Let the facts come fall where they may,'" he said. "That's really what we need now."

As Trump becomes increasingly desperate, his efforts to derail the Russia investigation have intensified, and many of those in his inner circle have joined in on the sabotage.

On Friday, CNN reported that Trump "has made it clear to the State Department that he wants to accelerate the release of any remaining Hillary Clinton emails in its possession as soon as possible," in what appears to be an attempt to undermine the credibility of former FBI Director James Comey and provide a rationale for firing him.

The most likely reason for doing so is that Trump fears the possibility of facing obstruction of justice charges for firing the FBI director who was investigating him.

Many Republicans in Congress have fallen in line with Trump's efforts to sabotage special counsel Mueller's work, which is focused on uncovering the full extent of Russia's attack on our democratic process and finding out whether any Americans were involved in it.

This week, in an effort to divert attention away from an increasingly panicked White House, Republicans announced an investigation targeting – who else – Hillary Clinton for the 2010 sale of uranium to a Russian company. Also this week, Trump and his allies revived a year-old story about the funding of the so-called "Steele Dossier" in a desperate attempt to undermine an investigation that never relied on the dossier in the first place.

But that's not all: Republicans are also reportedly pushing for a premature end to the congressional investigation into Russian interference.

According to a recent CNN report, a "growing number of key Republicans" are pushing congressional leaders to wrap up the federal probe, insisting that the investigation of last year’s election shouldn’t extend into 2018.

Politico also recently reported that Trump loyalists are "losing patience with Republican leaders over the wide-ranging Russia probes creeping into his inner circle." According to the report, Trump apologists are outraged with congressional leadership for "allowing" the investigation into the Russia scandal to continue.

As Bernstein noted, if Trump has nothing hide, then he shouldn't fear the outcome of the investigation, nor should Republicans be concerned about what the investigation uncovers.

Furthermore, Republicans were not elected to provide cover for the president; they were elected to serve the country and their constituents.

If their efforts to undermine the investigation are successful, Republicans would not only fail to uphold their constitutional duty to provide oversight of the executive branch — they would also be responsible for leaving America vulnerable to future attacks by Russia and other hostile foreign powers.