U.S. President Richard Nixon (1913-1994) was thoroughly resentful of the manner in which the investigative authorities handled the Watergate scandal, according to his memoirs.

He accused them of using unsubstantiated allegations of his guilt to intimidate his staff and personal friends, and of trying to destroy him.

In 1972, members of a Nixon administration's official campaign organization were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., in order to wiretap the DNC. When the investigation began closing in on his inner circles, Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. This backfired, and the resultant public outrage led to his resignation.

Hasn't President Donald Trump learned anything from this history? He fired James Comey, director of the FBI, on May 9. The circumstances that led to this stunning drama have been reported by U.S. newspapers.

Shortly after assuming the office of the presidency, Trump tried to protect Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, who was suspected of collusion with Moscow. Trump urged Comey to shut down an investigation into Flynn, saying, "He's a good guy."

According to Comey's notes, he agreed only with Trump's assertion that Flynn is a "good guy," and did not back off the investigation.

Trump's appalling words and deeds are being reported practically every day. But on the other hand, there is good news, too. The judiciary has blocked Trump's immigration ban that appears to target Muslims, and Congress is fighting the repeal of Obamacare.

The United States has a functioning system that stops the president from acting like a dictator, and investigations into the administration's inner circle are continuing.

Even in Trump's America, there is at least no such thing as the president's "intents" being fully accommodated, or his aides surmising the boss's wishes and fulfilling them without being questioned.

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 19

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.