Elizabeth Drew is the author of Washington Journal, one of my favorite books about Watergate. Drew covered Richard Nixon’s collapse as a reporter for the New Yorker, and the book emerges from the real-time, journalistic diary she kept amid the chaos. As such, it does something no other Watergate book does: tells the story not as a tidy tale with a clear beginning and inevitable end, but as an experience thick with confusion, rumors, alarm, and half-truths.
Of late, I've heard a lot of people comparing the early days of Donald Trump's administration — with the strange scandals around Russia, the fast resignation of Trump's national security adviser, and the mounting pressure for investigation — with Watergate. And so I asked Drew, who is now a writer at the New York Review of Books, to provide some perspective on whether that comparison makes sense, and how to think about the Trump scandals that are unfolding, slowly and haltingly, right now.
One thing worth noting: In our conversation, I expressed skepticism that any elected Republican would touch the idea of a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s Russia ties, and Drew told me to be patient. Last night, Rep. Darrell Issa did exactly that. Score one for Drew.
You can listen to our conversation by subscribing to my podcast, The Ezra Klein Show, on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, or by streaming it off SoundCloud: