Trump ‘most authoritarian president’ in US history, says Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein

US president has 'nothing but contempt for democratic tradition and rule of law', legendary journalist says

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 16 May 2019 09:21 BST
Carl Bernstein: William Barr is abetting the 'most authoritarian president'

Donald Trump is “the most authoritarian president” in US history and is involved in a “continued cover-up” aided by his attorney general, veteran journalist Carl Bernstein has said.

During an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Mr Bernstein said the US president has “nothing but contempt for democratic tradition and rule of law”.

“There has been no real bipartisan investigation of the most authoritarian president in our history,” Mr Bernstein said.

“Right now, it’s obvious to anyone that watches, anyone who looks at the facts, reads the Mueller report, the obstruction part particularly, we are in the midst of a continuing cover-up by the president, aided and abetted by the attorney general of the United States.”

Mr Bernstein, who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, which led to president Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, said events in Washington were taking the US “to an unprecedented place”.

He said the situation was “not about a constitutional crisis” but was a “systemic crisis”, which he said was “challenging whether our institutions are able to function in this country to deal with a president of the United States who is unique in our history, who has nothing but contempt for democratic tradition and rule of law”.

He also called Mr Trump “a grifter president of the United States”.

Special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russian interference in the US election did not conclude the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow.

Although Mr Mueller did not rule on whether Mr Trump obstructed justice, attorney general William Barr claimed the report shows the president did not obstruct justice.

Mr Mueller said the report “does not exonerate” the US president.

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Democrats have called for a release of the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report and related material.

Meanwhile, Mr Barr has appointed a US attorney to investigate how the probe into Russian meddling began and whether laws were broken while intelligence was being collected on the Trump campaign.

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