Carl Bernstein: Ryan and McConnell might have stopped Watergate investigation if they’d been around then

Carl Bernstein: Ryan and McConnell might have stopped Watergate investigation if they’d been around then
© Greg Nash

Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said he doubts the Nixon-era investigation would have gone forward had Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP, Kavanaugh accuser struggle to reach deal GOP making counteroffer to Kavanaugh accuser The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins MORE (R-Ky.) been in their roles at the time.

During an interview on CNN, Bernstein said he thinks the country is seeing a breakdown of its institutions. 

"I think we may look back on tonight as the Monday night slaughter," he said.

"A real slaughter by an obstructive, irresponsible, partisan gang in the House of Representatives that has put the interests of their party and the president of the United States and his personal fortunes above the national interest."

Bernstein was asked whether he thinks the U.S. is heading toward a constitutional crisis.

"If the president continues down this road, and if his enablers in Congress continue down this road, a constitutional crisis in the sense that the system may fail us," he said.

"And by this, I mean shutting down the legitimate investigation of the president of the United States."

Bernstein said if the facts are exonerating Trump, he should be exonerated.

"But he is trying to suppress the investigation of the president of the United States,” Bernstein said, adding that during Watergate, the Republicans "were the heroes in making sure that that process went forward."

“If you had had Speaker Ryan and Mitch McConnell as the leaders during Watergate, I doubt seriously that that investigation would have gone forward and we would have seen, really, what we’re seeing now.”

His comments come after the House Intelligence Committee on Monday voted to make public a GOP-crafted memo alleging what some Republicans say are "shocking" surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice.

At the same time, the committee voted against making public a Democrat-drafted memo.

The precise contents of the memo remain unknown.

However, it’s believed to contain allegations that the FBI did not adequately explain to a clandestine court that some of the information it used in a surveillance warrant application for Trump adviser Carter Page came from opposition research partially funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, now known as the “Steele dossier.”

His comments also came after Andrew McCabe on Monday stepped down as deputy director of the FBI, bowing to pressure from Trump and congressional Republicans who were clamoring for his ouster.