“The situation in this country is almost revolutionary. Things are about to come apart.”

These words possibly describe our current political atmosphere, but over 40 years ago Gen. Alexander Haig chose this warning to persuade my grandfather, Leon Jaworski, to serve our nation as Special Watergate Prosecutor.

Haig’s appeal was not an easy sell to Jaworski who, by age 68, already had a full plate following a respected public service career, which over the decades included bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, prosecuting Mississippi’s governor for criminal contempt during integration, counseling the Warren Commission’s investigation and serving as president of the Texas and American Bar Associations. At the time Haig called, Jaworski enjoyed international respect as a busy leader of a successful Houston law firm.

My grandfather was skeptical of Haig’s request because only days before, Archibald Cox, the first Watergate prosecutor, was fired for seeking White House tapes. Cox’s firing outraged the nation because President Nixon, whose staff and office Cox was investigating, was seen as selfishly terminating a prosecutor who was getting close to the truth.

Nixon and Chief of Staff Haig then chose Leon Jaworski because, as Haig explained, “the only hope of stabilizing the situation is for the president to announce that someone in whom the country has confidence has agreed to serve as special prosecutor.”

Jaworski flew to Washington to consider the appointment but told Haig “there just wasn’t a strong enough guarantee that I could operate without interference.” Haig bluntly responded with an assurance from Nixon himself that the next Watergate prosecutor would have the right and the power to investigate and prosecute any member of the administration, no matter how high his office. Specifically, Nixon agreed he wouldn’t discharge Jaworski absent a supporting consensus of six out of eight congressman, composed of the leadership of both parties in the House and Senate as well as both parties’ leadership in the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

My grandfather could not turn his back on this national crisis. He knew his country needed him, and so he accepted the assignment. Jaworski had twice voted for Nixon and had no idea that Nixon was personally involved in a cover-up.

Nine months later, following efficient and aggressive prosecution, the Supreme Court unanimously ordered Nixon’s tapes be released and judicially cast aside his executive privilege. Nixon resigned days later. Watergate’s lesson became thus: no one, not even the president, is above the law.

President Trump’s firing of FBI director Comey recalls the outrage following 1973’s Saturday Night Massacre. Today’s crisis is arguably worse, given the relevant specter of cold war with Russia, a partisan, nonstop news cycle and a social media-fueled public.

This crisis, like before, demands the service of one or more Americans like Leon Jaworski, in whom the country has confidence to find the truth.

The world community expects the United States to lead, especially in matters of justice. Accordingly, the American experience is not just our history, it is everyone’s, and establishing the morality of our national narrative is a daily responsibility of U.S. citizenship. History will severely judge us if, on our watch, we fail to pursue the truth.

Joe Jaworski

lives in Galveston.

(35) comments

Doyle Beard

What a Crock.

Carlos Ponce

Joe, you're entitled to your opinion but the comparison to Watergate is off base. This just shows how Liberals are LOSING IT. Days before the firing, Liberals were urging Comey's ouster. When it happened they were outraged????? It seems no matter what Trump does, the Liberals will be outraged, even if it is something they asked for and got.

Lisa Blair

Thanks for reminding us of your grandfather's important contributions, Joe. Watergate taught us that no person is above the law, not even the president.

PD Hyatt

What a shame that the progressive deom-crats don't remember all the stuff that Obama did like gun running and they had no problem with that.... Before the election the progressive were screaming for Comey to be fired and yet when Trump did it they are now sceaming to have Trump fired.... Why is it that the liberal progessive and the liberal media do not see that they speak out of both sides of their mouths.... You all want to be able to do what you want to do without anyone saying a thing about it and you want to be able to crush anyone who doesn't think like you all do.... Wow.... I am so thankful that the Hildabeast did NOT win this election.... She would have continued to wrack up the cash for the Clinton cash machine and would have broke far more laws than Obama did....

Kitty Allen

Thank you, Joe, for your insight into some of the darkest days in our nation's history and for reminding us how valuable your grandfather's contribution was to protecting our democracy.

Jim Forsythe

By  Friday Feb 24, 2017  ,John Dean was  calling it a cover up .Unless it is investigated , calls will continue

@JohnWDean
I have expertise on this matter. Push back on an FBI investigation of the White House is better known as a COVER UP: 
9:20 AM - 24 Feb 2017

Well, what I see and hear, in following it, are echoes of Watergate. If you recall, Watergate ran about 900 days. In other words, it went on for years, starting with a bungled burglary at the Democratic National Committee and right up to Richard Nixon’s resignation, followed by the conviction of his top aides. So it ran a long time. What we’re seeing is very accelerated. It’s partially responsible because of the media and the technology today, but it’s also the behavior of Trump and his aides, as well as the media’s vigilance on this. So we’re seeing things accelerated. And what I see or hear are echoes of Watergate. We don’t have Watergate 2.0 yet, but we have something that is beginning to look like it could go there.   Friday Feb 24, 2017
Dean still thinks the Trump presidency will “end in calamity,” though he’s not sure how or when. “His presidency is a massive skyscraper built atop a shifty foundation — it has to come down at some point,” he told me. By “shifty,” he means slippery and haphazard, a makeshift operation without a coherent vision or plan.
Trump can survive four years in office if he manages to keep the Republican-controlled Congress in line. But Trump, being who and what he is, will make it difficult for Republicans. He simply can’t help himself, Dean said. “It’s obvious that his presidency is vulnerable, and yet he keeps creating those vulnerabilities every day. Like Nixon, he’s a slave to his own worst instincts.”
But, Dean added, “Trump is more volatile.”  John Dean  Friday Feb 24, 2017

Josh Butler

No, no it doesn't. Just stop with this narrative.

Doyle Beard

Anyone remember all the hullabloo the libs were hollering about Comey, Even Hillary said he should be gone. Maxine Waters said he had no credibility. Again the hypocrites come out in force. they are like a 3 ring circus.

Steve Fouga

Comey had to go eventually. He was no longer trusted after his handling of the Clinton emails and the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. I'm glad the president fired him at exactly this point in time, because it throws a brighter light on said Russia issue.

So now it's time for a new FBI director, and an independent investigation into Russian meddling in our election. I'm concerned about the possibility of Trump campaign collusion with Russia, but far more concerned with Russia's ability to hack the election, period. Russia is a dangerous adversary. We need to admit it, investigate the hack, determine Russia's capabilities, and counter them. That's what superpowers do.

Mike Zeller

Wednesday - Trump fires Comey
Thursday - Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister
What was Trump thinking?

Jim Forsythe

"Later, at the White House, Mr. Lavrov met President Trump for what was supposed to be a private meeting, with no reporters or cameras allowed into the Oval Office, save for official photographers from each government. Afterward, the Russian state news agency, Tass, published pictures of Mr. Trump and Mr. Lavrov grinning broadly, alongside the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey I. Kislyak."

Carlos Ponce

Mike, Jim, your tin foil hats are on too tight.[beam]

Steve Fouga

Coincidence. Meeting already scheduled.

Oh wait... the MEETING was already scheduled... and THEN the FIRING happened... and THEN the aforementioned meeting happened...

I'm calling for: [batman]

Carlos Ponce

Steve, Donald Trump IS Batman!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ3W_JSKhkc

Mike Zeller

Carlos, get your head out of the sand or where ever it is, and open your eyes.

Carlos Ponce

Eyes wide open, Mike. [beam]

Diane Turski

Thank you, Joe, for educating those who were not around to witness the Watergate investigation, and for reminding those of us who did witness it what is at stake with the Trump investigation. Every indication that I have seen is that this Trump/Russia investigation is even more sinister. It is especially disturbing that so many Republicans continue to cover for Trump. Since Tass was allowed in the Oval Office during Trump's meeting with the Russians, we might have to get whatever "tapes" the Russians get from the listening devices they may have left when they brought their "photography equipment" in. More blackmail ammunition for the Russians to threaten to release via Wikileaks I suspect.

Carlos Ponce

"Since Tass was allowed in the Oval Office during Trump's meeting with the Russians, we might have to get whatever "tapes" the Russians get from the listening devices they may have left when they brought their "photography equipment" in."
That statement discredits the men and women of the Secret Service. No credibility.

Doyle Beard

Hope no one gets educated on garbage.

Jarvis Buckley

Joe this article has caused me to lose respect for you. You are entitled to your opinion. Don't sell your opinion as fact.

judgecriss
Susan Criss

Curious. Do you get your news from Fox?

Carlos Ponce

Judge Susan Criss, how about telling us where you get your news. I get mine from CBN.[beam]

Carlos Ponce

The Russians are very happy. They've managed to stymie and influence American Government with their cohorts the Democrats of this country. When you hear a Liberal cry "Russia, Russia, Russia" they are doing the will of Vladimir Putin.

Lisa Blair

Of course! It's Obama's fault! 😂😂😊

Doyle Beard

Probably sure you did not mean that but for sure many of todays problems belong to the previous administration.

Carlos Ponce

That's a stretch but the hacking of the DNC computers occurred during the Obama administration. Obama knew of it long before the 2016 election. But Russia/ Soviet Union trying to influence American Presidential Elections is nothing new. Nikita Khrusev bragged about Soviet intervention in the 1960 election. They deemed Vice-President Nixon too "hawkish" and favored Senator John Kennedy. Conspiracy theorists think JFK's assassination was Soviet payback for not playing up to their expectations. They used former Marine Lee Oswald who spent time in the Soviet Union and married a Russian girl to do their bidding.

Jim Forsythe

Why would anyone think the President would have tapes? Who would suggests this?  "Trump suggested Friday that he taped private White House conversations with then-FBI Director James B. Comey"

Is anyone suggesting  they need to be turned over?
“If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a former federal prosecutor, said “it’s probably inevitable” that such recordings would need to be handed over to Congress and predicted that they would be subpoenaed. Asked on “Fox News Sunday” about Trump’s decision to set up a taping system, Lee called it “not necessarily the best idea.”  

The Senate Intelligence Committee ― which is also probing connections between the Trump team and Russian officials ― does not necessarily need to have proof that the tapes exist in order to subpoena them, Bradley Moss, a national security lawyer, said. Senate investigators could ask for “any recording devices or backup copies that were referenced in the post made by President Trump on the morning of May 12, with respect to recordings with President Trump and Director Comey,” said Moss

Can the President just get rid of them?
"If there are tapes, by law they must be preserved:A post-Watergate reform measure, the Presidential Records Act of 1978, requires presidents to preserve and archive recordings made in the White House. The act is built on the 1974 U.S. Supreme Court decision that led to Nixon’s resignation. The justices unanimously ruled that the president could not claim “executive privilege” against a subpoena seeking audiotapes made in the Oval Office".
"That means any such recordings could end up coming back to haunt Trump in a major way. If a special counsel is appointed, or if the House or Senate committees investigating the Trump-Russia connection, decides to subpoena those recordings, the White House has to turn them over. Nixon set the precedent. ".

"One thing the president’s words have done is wake up people at institutions he’s challenged. And if tapes do exist, expect the folks at one of those institutions – the Congress, the courts, the agencies – to make sure they’re heard"

Carlos Ponce

This is the 21st Century, Jim. Does anybody really think the White House has actual "tapes"?

Steve Fouga

The president must. That's the term he used. [whistling]

Jim Forsythe

Does anybody really think the White House has actual "tapes"?
Could the President be using tape? This is what he said , so he may be using tape.
Last Updated May 12, 2017 7:15 PM EDT
President Trump on Friday warned former FBI Director James Comey that he should hope there are no tapes of their conversations, with the president suggesting he could be leaking information to the media. .

Do other people use tape, yes, as it is a cleaner sound
"One question, however, has been resolved: tape or vinyl? Even the most dubious critics find no ambiguity here. The verdict: tape sounds better than vinyl."
"We sell our open reel decks as quickly as they come out of the repair shop," says Jerry Gahagan, the owner of Oak Tree Enterprises, a website that specializes in vintage audio equipment"

How about new technology? Welcome to the  21st Century.    
"The roots of this audio trend can be traced back to 2013, when a persnickety critic for The Absolute Sound shocked his readers by proclaiming that a new reel-to-reel deck designed by a team of fanatic engineers absolutely crushed the highest rated turntable rig ever reviewed by the magazine. A refresh of this same audiophile tape machine snagged one of The Absolute Sound’s coveted "Editors’ Choice" awards this year. That fancy R2R, which is handmade and can be customized like a Bentley"

Carlos Ponce

The suggestion was that if Comey contradicted Trump's assertion that he was not being investigated, there was tangible evidence that Comey told him he was not.
Trump used the word "tape" out of common usage where "electronic audio recording" would have more accurate. Just like he used the term "wiretapped" when the phrase "electronically surveilled" would be technologically more accurate. I still use the term "videotaped" while Video recorded would be more accurate.
Thanks for the info on the reel-to-reel tape players. I just noticed a large collection of reels donated to the museum of the SFJH band and was wondering if those players were still available.

Jim Forsythe

Maybe he could use the  equipment, left over from the, early 70's in the White House. 
For  now, it's a he said ,she said ,until the investigation is done.

"They said Mr. Comey never gave Mr. Trump any such guidance, which would violate longstanding policies on criminal investigations. "That is literally farcical," said one associate."

I guess I will prime the pump , and have 2 scoops

Carlos Ponce

"I guess I will prime the pump , and have 2 scoops ." Be careful, I don't think you really want that stuff.
"They said Mr. Comey never gave Mr. Trump any such guidance, which would violate longstanding policies on criminal investigations."
Dianne Feinstein said he was not under investigation, also.

Jack Cross

The only purpose this Guest Column is that it clearly separates the democrats and the republicans as of now it is a tie 5 and 5 so I guess I'll have to break the tie and side with the Russians.
Question, what has the former LM ISD school board and the democratic party have in common, you are thinking aren't you ..........Answer,they both are losers, they both can't accept the vote, they both advocate resist, they both blame others for their failure, they both ran up the debt. I am ashamed of what colleges are teaching our children, I am ashamed at the corruption in Washington. both republican and democrat and how the Establishment is sending a message to any outsider who attempts to clean up this mess, you better not try this again or you and your family will be destroyed, I weep for my country.

Jim Forsythe

This can not be true, interfering with the FBI.
Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of the memo to a Times reporter.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey that Mr. Flynn had done nothing wrong, according to the memo.
Mr. Comey did not say anything to Mr. Trump about curtailing the investigation, only replying: “I agree he is a good guy.” 

Nothing like taking care of friends.
Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and a major intelligence collector in the Middle East. The revelation that Mr. Trump boasted about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries. It also raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East.

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