White House scandals have been motivated by greed, love of power, lust or a conviction that one’s political agenda is so good it justifies going around the law, as Machiavelli observed the corrupt tactics of Cesare Borgia: “the ends justifies the means.”
1866 – Guns to Mexican gangs
After the Civil War, the United States secretly supplied “decommissioned” guns to Mexican gangs to cause domestic violence and insurrection in order to oust Maximillian I.
Benito Juárez then captured Maximillian and had him shot, June 19, 1867.
1868 – Johnson refuses black voting
President Andrew Johnson refused to protect the right of freed slave to vote. As a result, the Republican Congress voted to impeach him.
1872 – Credit Mobilier scandal
President Grant’s vice president and several Congressmen received shares of stock in the Crédit Mobilier construction company, which was building the Union Pacific Railroad, in exchange for the company being allowed to fraudulently bill the government.
1875 – Whiskey Ring conspiracy
Government agents and whiskey distillers were involved in bribery and tax evasion. Grant promised swift punishment, but when his personal secretary was implicated, Grant tried protect him, which only made the scandal worse. The Secretary of War was impeached.
1875 – Bribes for land
Grant’s Secretary of the Interior, who advocated killing off the buffalo to make way for the railroads, was forced to resign for taking bribes in exchange for land grants.
1881 – Star postal route
During President Garfield’s administration, though he was not implicated, private companies delivered mail on the Star Route in America’s west. Low bids were given to postal officials, but when those officials presented the bids to Congress, they increased the amounts and pocketed the difference.
1910-1919 – Guns to Mexican gangs
During the border war with Mexico, President Woodrow Wilson supported one gang leader against the others, selectively ignoring an arms embargo, even arranging for train cars of weapons to be left unattended at a border town for Pancho Villa and anti-Catholic revolutionary Venustiano Carranza to be used against Victoriano Huerta. Wilson then backed Carranza against Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata.
1921 – Teapot Dome scandal
President Warren G. Harding’s Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall was caught selling exclusive rights to oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, in exchange for personal profit and cattle.
1922 – Veterans Affairs embezzlement
President Harding’s Director of Veterans Affairs Charles Forbes was convicted and imprisoned for denying claims of wounded World War I veterans and embezzling $225 million.
1924 – Bootleggers
President Harding’s Attorney General Harry Daugherty let pharmacies and bootleggers obtain permits to sell alcohol for “medicinal” purposes during the era of prohibition. This, and other scandals, forced him to resign. During Prohibition, among those suspected of illegally importing liquor was Joseph Kennedy.
Herbert Hoover wrote of President Harding in his memoirs (1952): “Harding had another side which was not good. His political associates had been men of the type of Albert B. Fall (Teapot Dome Scandal) … Harry Daugherty (bootlegging scandal) … Charles Forbes (embezzled from veterans over $2 million) … He enjoyed the company of these men (in) weekly White House poker parties … the play lasted most of the night. … It irked me to see it in the White House.”
1969 – Chappaquiddick
U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy hosted a party attended by six married men and six single women on Chappaquiddick near Martha’s Vineyard. Kennedy left the party with one of the women, Mary Jo Kopechne. The next morning she was found dead in Senator Kennedy’s submerged car.
1973 – Agnew
Spiro Agnew became the second vice president in U.S. history to resign when confronted with charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy.
1986 – Iran-Contra
During President Ronald Reagan’s administration there was a scandal of a different sort. Plans were made to sell arms to anti-Soviet forces in Iran in exchange for the release of U.S. hostages. These funds would then help Contra freedom fighters stop Soviet-backed communists from taking over Nicaragua. In this way, communists would be stopped on two fronts at no financial expense to the United States. Democrats opposed this.
1989 – Keating Five
Five U.S. Senators were accused of corruption:
- Alan Cranston
- Dennis DeConcini
- John Glenn
- Don Riegle
- John McCain
– for intervening to end a regulatory investigation of Charles Keating’s Lincoln Savings & Loan. The Savings & Loan collapsed, defrauding bondholders and costing taxpayers $3 billion. Keating had donated substantially to each of the senators’ campaigns.
1998 – Monica Lewinsky
President Clinton had an illicit relationship with Monica Lewinsky, whose friend, Linda Tripp, convinced her to keep a stained dress as protection to keep her from being added to the Clinton body count list, a collection of names circulating the Internet of deceased former Clinton associates. Attempting to cover up the affair, Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice.
2009 – Guns to Mexican gangs
President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress after refusing to release documents regarding a “Fast and Furious” operation which provided guns to Mexican drug gangs.
2012 – Benghazi
Prior to re-election, President Obama announced the war on terror was over. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the 57 leaders of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and promised support of a U.N. Resolution abolishing free speech insulting to Islam. This was after several European countries hurriedly abolishing free speech insulting Islam after orchestrated outbreaks of violence to Danish cartoons of Mohammed in 2005, and French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in 2011.
On Sept. 11, 2012, an orchestrated attack began on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Six hours into the attack, President Obama spoke via telephone with Secretary Clinton, but no rescue was attempted.
The next morning, Clinton’s State Department sent memos to YouTube and Google recommending they censor speech insulting Islam. Momentum began to abolish free speech till it was discovered that the U.S. Ambassador in Benghazi had been denied repeated requests for security by Hillary’s State Department.
When it was uncovered that the attacks were orchestrated and not the spontaneous result of a video insulting Islam, Secretary Clinton responded “What difference does it make?”
The momentum to abolish free speech quickly subsided. Then, emails began to surface of what was really going on. U.S. arms had illegally been used to oust Libya’s President Gaddafi. These arms were being moved in a gun-running fashion through Benghazi, similar to Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious” scandal, to arm fundamentalist Muslims to oust Syria’s President Assad.
When Russia came to Assad’s defense, the Muslim terrorists armed and trained by the U.S. attacked into Syria and Iraq, calling themselves ISIS. They proceeded to torture, rape, and behead hundreds of thousands in what Secretary of State John Kerry had to formally declare was a genocide. (CNN, 3/18/16)
In eight years, the Christian population in Syria had gone from 2.5 million to a just few hundred thousand. Obama administration’s arming of Muslim militants was reported in the Los Angeles Times (3/27/16): “In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA.”
President Trump ended Obama’s secret CIA program of arming and training Muslims, as Time magazine reported (7/28/17): “President Trump ends covert plan to arm Syrian rebels, Russia has pushed U.S. to end program.”
2013 – IRS targeting
After President Obama met 157 times with IRS director Lois Lerner, she pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked by Congress on whether the agency targeted conservative political groups prior to the President Obama’s re-election.
2016 – Hillary’s emails
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton illegally used secret email servers. When questions arose over lack of security, and the coordination of her Secretary of State’s Department to arrange favorable treatment for foreigners giving donations to the Clinton Foundation, supposedly in exchange for speeches given by her husband, suddenly 30,000 of Hillary’s emails were deleted. When questioned, her technology specialist, Bryan Pagliano, pleaded the Fifth Amendment on March 2, 1016.
The Justice Department, under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, initiated an investigation, but after an unprecedented meeting with Hillary’s husband at the Phoenix Airport, the investigation was curtailed. When interviewed, Lynch said “he mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix” though sources told ABC15 “former President Clinton did not play golf during his most recent visit in Phoenix.”
Under Lynch’s authority, FBI Director James Comey announced they would not investigate Hillary, though he described her behavior as “extremely careless.”
Since Comey’s statements differed from Hillary’s, House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte accused Hillary of lying under oath to the House Benghazi committee. Commentator Dick Morris explained that several of Hillary’s emails exposed nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri as an American spy, resulting in him being executed in Iran.
2016 – DNC
When WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange released 20,000 emails showing the Democrat National Committee worked to undermine Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton, DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign, though she was quickly hired by Hillary.
Rachel Alexander of Townhall.com wrote: “Since the Democrat National Committee emails were leaked a few weeks ago, three people associated with the DNC have all been found dead under what could be questionable circumstances.”
Seth Rich, a DNC data analyst, was shot in the back July 10, 2016, though his wallet, credit cards and watch were not taken.
On July 13, 2016, Shawn Lucas, who had served the DNC with a lawsuit on July 3, 2016, was found dead on August 2, 2016.
On June 22, 2016, John Ashe, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, was found dead with a barbell across his throat just days before he was scheduled to testify that a Chinese businessman illegally funneled funds to the DNC during Bill Clinton’s term in office.
July 22, 2017, Imran Awan, a Pakistani IT staffer who worked at the DNC, was arrested trying to flee the country.
1972 – Watergate
At the top of the list of political scandals in U.S. history was Watergate. It began when five low-level members of President Nixon’s re-election team did a third-rate break-in of the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.
Though Nixon was not involved, effort to defend his subordinates led to him being implicated in a cover up. The House Judiciary Committee staff prepared the articles of impeachment against President Nixon.
Hillary Rodham served on the Impeachment Inquiry staff. Her conduct was described by Jerry Zeifman, the Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, as “dishonest,” being that she “engaged in a variety of self-serving unethical practices in violation of House rules,” possibly to facilitate a future run for President by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.
Rather than face impeachment, President Nixon resigned. Sadly, the scandal overshadowed more notable aspects of his administration:
- ending racial segregation in southern schools
- NASA’s Apollo mission to the moon
- ending the draft
- officially recognizing “Fathers’ Day”
- beginning the process to end the Cold War
- fought foreign oil price gouging
- produced a balanced budget
- visited Beijing and Moscow
- supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War and had Secretary of State Henry Kissinger attempt to negotiate agreements between Israel and Egypt and Syria
With media fanning the scandal, Richard Nixon resigned on Aug. 8, 1974.
Having served as the 37th president of the United States, he stated from the Oval Office: “Good evening. This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office. … To continue to fight … for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress. … Therefore, I shall resign. … If some of my judgments were wrong … they were made in what I believed … to be the best interest of the nation.”
While an almost prophetic final warning, Nixon stated: “In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy … now look on us as their friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that … the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.”
Concluding, Nixon added: “I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, ‘whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly. … If he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.’ … In leaving … I do so with this prayer: May God’s grace be with you in all the days ahead.”
Privately, to his Cabinet, President Nixon confided: “Mistakes, yes … for personal gain, never. … I can only say to each … of you … we come from many faiths … but really the same God. … You will be in our hearts and … in our prayers.”
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