Programming note: CNN Original Series “Tricky Dick” explores Richard Nixon’s political rise and fall, with never-before-seen footage, starting Sunday, March 17, at 9p ET/PT.
Washington (CNN) -- President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the Russia investigation might seem unprecedented, including his blistering attacks on investigators and pushback against the press. But history presents another strong example. More than 40 years ago, President Richard Nixon grappled with Watergate and hit many of the same points as the scandal unfolded.
In both cases, the President and his White House were enveloped by a sprawling Justice Departmentinvestigation. Both times, this led to the departure of senior officials, a slew of criminal charges against people close to the President, and allegations of a cover-up. Nixon and Trump both relished opportunities to proclaim their innocence and go after their opponents.
There are parallels, but there are also some differences. Watergate forced Nixon from office in August 1974 after Republicans in Congress withdrew their support. Trump has maintained the backing of GOP lawmakers and voters alike. Indeed, many Trump supporters have embraced his narrative that he is the victim of a “witch hunt” and the investigation itself is the problem.
As special counsel Robert Mueller nears the end of his investigation and Democrats on Capitol Hill ramp up their own probes, here are a dozen ways Nixon and Trump struck similar tones.