If comparing the James Comey firing to Watergate isn’t enough, why not move on to the Kennedy assassination? That’s apparently the thinking of 80-year-old journalist Bob Schieffer on Friday. Appearing on CBS This Morning to bash Donald Trump as like “something out of a Godfather movie,” he first connected the President’s actions in the Russia investigation to the murder of JFK.
Schieffer bewildered his audience by suggesting, “There are many parallels to Watergate. But I have to tell you, I think all the way back to the Kennedy assassination, to draw parallels.” The veteran journalist stretched, “I was there, as you know. I have always felt that if Lee Harvey Oswald had been put on trial, a lot of these conspiracy theories that are still circulating today would have been put at rest then.”
One can sort of see what Schieffer was aiming for, in relation to dispelling conspiracies about the Russian investigation, but it’s still a bizarre comparison to make. The former Face the Nation anchor took on face value claims, disputed by the White House, that Trump demanded loyalty from Comey:
Norah, this is look something out of a Godfather movie. This isn't something that comes out of the Constitution or the way our government does business. Demanding loyalty of someone who's heading an investigation into your own administration? That borders on obstruction of justice. I don't think we're there yet, but this is totally improper and out of place to even be holding a conversation like that.
It’s like something out of a Godfather movie? A film about Mafia gangsters murdering people?
Schieffer fumed at Trump, bashing, “It looks like some sort of a train wreck.” He added, “But what we're seeing now is just kind of a clinic of incompetence at the very highest level.” At another point, he mocked, “It is the original amateur hour as we look at it from the outside."
As for ridiculous comparisons, Schieffer is known for them. He compared Barack Obama banning torture to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
CBS This Morning
GAYLE KING: Trump’s firing of James Comey has been compared this week to the actions of our 37th president, Richard Nixon.
SCOTT PELLEY: Mr. Trump is first president since Richard Nixon to fire a law enforcement official in investigation of the White House.
[Montage of people saying this is Nixonian.]
KING: CBS contributor Bob Schieffer covered the Nixon administration and many others during his very stellar career. He’s with us now from Washington. Bob, first let’s just say, it’s really good to see you. Really good to see you in Washingtona and on the satellite this morning.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you very much, Gayle.
KING: Just hearing your voice. So, Bob, is this a fair comparison?
SCHIEFFER: You know, there are many parallels Watergate. But I have to tell you, I think all the way back to the Kennedy assassination, to draw parallels. I was there, as you know. I have always felt that if Lee Harvey Oswald had been put on trial, a lot of these conspiracy theories that are still circulating today would have been put at rest then. It is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump find a way to reassure the American people that these questions about Russia are not true, if that is his version. He's got to lay it all out and find ways not just to tweet out every morning the news is being made up by the news media. He's got to show some proof. He has got to give them some reason to believe that these things are not true. Frankly, unless he is able to do this, this is going to dog his presidency for the rest of his term.
Look at what's happened in Washington right now. It's come to a complete stop while the country and Washington tries to digest the firing of James Comey. Putting this to rest is not going to be helped by firing the guy who was doing the investigation. Sending these people out to explain the inexplicable is not going to help. He's making fools of his own staff. The White House appears to be in chaos. It is the original amateur hour as we look at it from the outside. He's got a lot of work to do, and so far what he has done has not helped in my view.
KING: Well, he released a tweet this morning saying “It's not possible for my surrogates to stand at the podium with perfect accuracy.”
SCHIEFFER: Well, that would go into the understatement hall of fame, wouldn't it? I've got to go with him on that one.
SCHIEFFER: I mean, look at what happened the other night when all this news broke. You had officials of the White House holding news conferences out in the shrubbery outside the White House. You had people running around. It looks like some sort of a train wreck unfolding. Nobody seemed to know what was going on. Then the White House officials come out and give one explanation and the President blows him out of the water and says it's an entirely different thing. They’ve got to start by getting their stories straight. I think what has to happen, the President has to go to Congress, open the books. He has to say, “Ask me any question you want. I'll give you any document you want. I want to put this thing to rest.” So far that's not happening. But what we're seeing now is just kind of a clinic of incompetence at the very highest level. This cannot sustain. It's not good for him. It's not good for the country.
CHARLIE ROSE: So should he appoint a special prosecutor?
SCHIEFFER: I don’t — I think he should get together with people in Congress and figure out how to put this thing to rest. But it's going to take more than just tweets saying, “I didn't do anything wrong.” He's got to show some people proof of what happened here and what this is all about.
O’DONNELL: I mean, we have, Bob, conflicting accounts about what was said at a dinner now between the President and the FBI director where the President reportedly demanded loyalty and the former FBI director said he would giving him honesty. Honesty versus loyalty. Now, the White House is disputing that account.
SCHIEFFER: Norah, this is look something out of a Godfather movie. This isn't something that comes out of the Constitution or the way our government does business. Demanding loyalty of someone who's heading an investigation into your own administration? That borders on obstruction of justice. I don't think we're there yet, but this is totally improper and out of place to even be holding a conversation like that.
ROSE: They even differed over whom invited whom.
SCHIEFFER: Well, there are many, many questions here and, you know, this interview yesterday with Lester Holt was stunning, some of the disclosers that came out there. I mean, calling Comey a showboat.
KING: Grandstander, yeah.
SCHIEFFER: Donald Trump called somebody a showboat?
ROSE: Great to see you, Bob.
O’DONNELL: Bob, could you be available every single day to come on?