Carl Bernstein says Trump's call asking a Georgia official to help him overturn Biden's win is 'far worse' than Watergate

Carl Bernstein says Trump's call asking a Georgia official to help him overturn Biden's win is 'far worse' than Watergate
Carl Bernstein on CNN on January 3, 2020.CNN
  • Carl Bernstein, whose reporting on Watergate in the 1970s led to President Richard Nixon's resignation, appeared on CNN on Sunday to discuss a call between President Donald Trump and Georgia's secretary of state.
  • In the call, Trump asked Brad Raffensperger to "find" more votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win in Georgia.
  • Comparing the Watergate evidence to the new audio, Bernstein said Trump's call was "far worse" and "the ultimate smoking gun."
  • He said that "in any other presidency" it would be enough to bring about impeachment.

Carl Bernstein, whose reporting helped to expose the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, said President Donald Trump's attempt to pressure a Georgia official to overturn the state's election result was "far worse."

On Sunday, The Washington Post published audio from a call in which Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win there.

During an appearance on CNN on Sunday, Bernstein was asked whether the tape gave him déjà vu from Watergate, in which it was revealed that President Richard Nixon covered up a break-in at the Democratic National Committee's headquarters to steal campaign secrets.

"It's not déjà vu. This is something far worse than occurred in Watergate," Bernstein said.

Bernstein described the tape as "the ultimate smoking gun" that showed what Trump was "willing to do to undermine the electoral system and illegally, improperly, and immorally try to instigate a coup."


"In any other presidency, this tape would be evidence enough to result in the impeachment of the president of the United States, his conviction in the Senate of the United States, and, really, an immediate call by the members of Congress - including of his own party - that he resign immediately," Bernstein said.

"That's really what we ought to be hearing from Republicans at this moment."

Since news of the call broke on Sunday, a Washington, DC, watchdog group and Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called for a new impeachment of Trump. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris called the conversation a "baldfaced, bold abuse of power." Republicans have stayed mostly quiet.

Bernstein said it was unlikely that Republicans would turn on Trump over the news - he said that was one of the biggest contrasts to Watergate.

"The one thing we should recall from Watergate is that the heroes of Watergate were Republicans who would not tolerate Richard Nixon's conduct," Bernstein said.


It's not the first time Bernstein, who has been a frequent critic of Trump, has said one of the president's scandals was worse than Watergate.

In September, Bernstein said Trump's admission to downplaying COVID-19 in taped conversations with his former reporting partner Bob Woodward was "even more devastating than Nixon's tapes."