What Is the Monday Night Slaughter? Bernstein Accuses Trump, Republicans of Obstructing Justice After McCabe's Forced Out

Carl Bernstein attends the New Yorker Festival in Manhattan on October 6, 2017. He says today's top Republican lawmakers might have let President Richard Nixon survive the Watergate scandal. The New Yorker via Getty Images/Brad Barket

Legendary reporter Carl Bernstein said Monday the departure of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe might be looked back upon years from now as the "Monday Night Slaughter," a phrase harking back to the era of disgraced President Richard Nixon.

He also took aim at top Republicans in Congress, accusing them of protecting President Donald Trump above the country's interests.

Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward took down the Nixon administration by exposing corruption and a cover-up in the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, discussed on CNN McCabe's expected, but still sudden, step-down from the FBI. He likened the situation to the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" from the Nixon era.

On Saturday, October 20, 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to dismiss special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Instead, both resigned, and so did Nixon less than a year later.

"I think we may look back on tonight as the Monday Night Slaughter of the administration of justice and our institutions of justice in the United States," Bernstein said, according to Mediaite. "A real slaughter by an obstructive, irresponsible, partisan gang in the House of Representatives that has put the interests of the party and the president of the United States and his personal fortunes above the national interest."

The "gang" Bernstein was likely referring to was Republican members of the House, headed by Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who led the vote to release a memo that supposedly outlines misdoings by the FBI and Justice Department in the investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.

Bernstein also accused Trump of trying to suppress investigations into possible collusion with Russia, as well as his campaign and transition to the White House. And he questioned if House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have investigated Nixon over Watergate.

"If the facts are exonerating him, then he should be exonerated, but he is trying to suppress the investigation of the president of the United States," Bernstein said. "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 what we're seeing now."

Bernstein concluded, "The single thing this president has been focused on from the day he took office was to make sure the Mueller and Russia investigation does not go forward."

McCabe was originally expected to retire in March but used leave time to speed up his departure after FBI Director Christopher Wray was reportedly worried about the contents of a forthcoming report from the Justice Department's inspector general, according to The New York Times.

McCabe told friends he felt "pressured" from top FBI brass to leave ahead of schedule, and Wray was toying with the idea of assigning McCabe to another post that would have essentially been a demotion.