From Nixon to Trump: John Dean to Speak on Mueller Report

John Dean

John Dean, former White House counsel to President Nixon, is sworn in during a hearing on the nomination of federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Dean is going to testifying today on the Mueller Report.

Dean, as you might recall, was President Richard Nixon’s White House counsel, and his testimony in the Watergate investigation helped to bring down Nixon. Dean’s June 1973 testimony before Congress trumpeted that Nixon knew about the Watergate cover-up. And we all know how that resulted. The president thought he was above the law. He wasn’t. The House voted to impeach him, and Nixon left office in disgrace.

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In an interview with CNN, Dean said: “Nixon was hands-on very early, just like Trump was hands-on very early. The firing of James Comey was not unlike the actions Nixon took.”

Monday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing will focus on Trump’s most overt acts of obstruction (Un)surprisingly, in true Trumpian fashion, the president went on the attack.

Thus reads Trump’s angry presidential tweet:

Shades of Tricky Dick, Nixon took a similar public defense when he blasted the “false charges” of the Watergate trial and asked the public to end the “obsession”—so he could get on with the nation’s business.

What is that saying about birds of a feather and their proclivity for flocking together?

Trump is furious because Dean could make it apparent that his presidential misdeeds are far worse than Nixon’s and that our country is tied up in a corrupt shit-show that makes Watergate pale by comparison.

At least Nixon was an environmentalist who didn’t deny global warming.

Everyone’s favorite lying sidekick, Kellyanne Conway, also went on the defense, appearing this morning on Fox & Friends to attack Dean’s credibility.

“It’s really something,” Conway told the Fox & Friends crew. “I’ve never been disbarred. I passed four state bars, never been disbarred. Never went to jail for obstruction of justice and don’t plan on it.”

Conway added, “They’re picking lawyers from TV now. Remember, he also tried to derail Brett Kavanaughs nomination. This is not a credible person.”

In 1974, Dean was disbarred and served four months in a federal safe house for obstruction of justice related to Watergate. He made a deal for a reduced sentence by providing key witness testimony.

Watergate

Six top Nixon administration officials resigned as a consequence of the Watergate case, including White House counsel John Dean. Bettmann/Getty Images

Like Trump with Comey, Nixon wanted a pledge of loyalty and had signaled to Dean that he might have taped him during a meeting. Before the Watergate hearings, Nixon called Dean into his office to make sure that Dean didn’t implicate him in his testimony.  

Nixon said to Dean: “You know when I told you we could get a million dollars [to keep the convicted Watergate burglars silent] I was just kidding?”

The bizarre exchange prompted Dean to think, for the first time, their conversation was secretly being recorded.

Dean might have gone to jail for his attempt to cover up Watergate, but Nixon, who was at the center of the corruption scandal, walked away scot-free before he could stand trial for his crimes; he was pardoned by his vice president Gerald Ford.

This leads us to wonder: Has Trump already worked out his deal with Mike Pence?  

From Nixon to Trump: John Dean to Speak on Mueller Report