John Dean, the former White Home counsel to Richard Nixon, affirmed Monday that he sees “exceptional parallels” in between Watergate and the findings of Unique Counsel Robert Mueller’s report– at a dramatic Capitol Hill hearing that Republicans panned as a political “program” as they consistently challenged the reliability of the witness.
In statement prior to your home Judiciary Committee, Dean, an outspoken critic of President Trump, said numerous points in the Mueller report “echo Watergate,” especially connecting to the obstruction of justice probe.
” In many ways the Mueller report is to President Trump what the so-called Watergate plan … was to President Richard Nixon,” Dean stated, adding Mueller “has actually offered this committee a plan.”
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The hearing turned tense sometimes as Republicans and Democrats sparred over Dean’s trustworthiness. Georgia GOP Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, mocked Democrats for bringing Dean in for testimony, implicating Democrats of utilizing him to try to attack the president. “This committee is now hearing from the Seventies and they desire their star witness back,” he said.
Collins mockingly included, “Let the program begin.”
Throughout his questioning, Ohio Republican politician Rep. Jim Jordan referenced how Dean pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice 45 years back, dismissively saying Dean’s now “being available in to inform the Judiciary Committee on blockage of justice.”
He likewise indicated remarks that Dean, a CNN factor, made on-air last February recommending that Trump’s former individual attorney, Michael Cohen, needed to keep away from affirming in front of Republicans for as long as he could. In response to Jordan’s question on whether he ever gave guidance to Cohen or Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, Dean reacted: “I have actually understood Lanny Davis for practically, a couple decades, and we have discussed it. I did state, as quickly as you turn your statement over, it will be picked apart.” He rejected offering direct guidance to Cohen prior to the lawyer’s statement.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler implicated Jordan of casting “aspersions on the witness.” Nadler countered that Dean had been honest throughout the Watergate examination.
Later, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz implicated Dean of “generating income off” through books and tv looks by referring to numerous presidents as being even worse than Nixon. He then asked Dean to discuss how “Democrats prepare to spend for Medicare for all,” stating, “I figured if we were going to ask you about things you do not understand about, we ‘d start with the huge stuff.”
Dean dismissed Gaetz’s remarks. “That was a speech. I do not think I can react to it.”
In opening remarks, Nadler, a New York Democrat, described Dean as “a critical witness for district attorneys and congressional investigators” during Watergate and stated the committee will “count on the proficiency of these witnesses to help draw our own conclusions about the findings of the Special Counsel and other proof prior to us today.”
At the outset of his statement, Dean said, “Plainly, I am not here as a fact witness,” adding he accepted the invitation to provide historical context to the Mueller Report. Dean, who testified before the committee in 1974 throughout the Nixon impeachment inquiry, eventually complied with district attorneys, pleading guilty to obstruction.
Dean utilized his argument to make many contrasts in between Watergate and the Russia probe.
In comparing Watergate to Mueller’s investigation, Dean stated in testimony sent to the committee: ” In both circumstances, the White House Counsel was linked in the cover-up activity.”
Dean acknowledged being “an active participant in the cover-up for a time period” during Watergate, but said he does not think Trump’s White House counsel, Don McGahn, “took part in any unlawful or inappropriate activity.” Still, he said, there’s “no concern Mr. McGahn was an important observer of these activities,” as “there is evidence he avoided a number of obstruction efforts.”
To name a few parallels argued by Dean: In the Russia probe, the hidden criminal activity was the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton project. In Watergate, the hidden criminal activity was the break-in of the Democratic National Committee, he stated. While Dean pointed out that the Mueller report found no evidence that Trump took part in aconspiracy with the Russians, he likewise stated he does not think Nixon himself was involved in the real burglary and bugging throughout Watergate.
” Yet events in both 1972 and 2016 led to obstruction of the investigations,” Dean stated.
Arguing the president tried to block justice, he compared Trump’s comments in 2017 to then-FBI director James Comey about then-national security consultant Michael Flynn to Nixon’s comments to then-chief of staff H.R. Haldeman about the Watergate burglars. He also compared Trump’s firing of Comey to Nixon’s shooting of Special District attorney Archibald Cox in the 1973 “Saturday Night Massacre.”
And in responding to the Mueller’s report finding that Trump directed McGahn to have Mueller fired over supposed conflicts of interest (something McGahn never did), Dean said, “This is similar to Richard Nixon’s effort to get me to compose a fake report exonerating the White Home from any participation in Watergate … Because I had conducted no such investigation, I withstood months of repeated efforts to get me to write a bogus report.”
The hearing– which comes as House Democrats increase efforts to examine the president and recommend they might transfer to impeach him– is entitled, “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Blockage and Other Criminal activities.”
On Monday, Trump ripped into Dean. ” Dean has actually been a loser for several years,” Trump told reporters at the White Home on Monday.
The Republican politician National Committee likewise tore into Dean over his testament. “House Democrats are going to new lengths to baselessly smear President Trump,” the RNC’s Steve Guest stated in a declaration. “They are taking a relic from the past, John Dean, who has absolutely no connection to anything relating to the Mueller examination.”
Dean’s testimony kicks off what might be a remarkable week connected to oversight of the Russia probe: Nadler announced strategies Monday to strike pause on efforts to hold Chief law officer Expense Barr in contempt over his refusal to turn over Russia probe-related files, Democrats might still move on a separate contempt-related resolution this week to enforce subpoenas for Barr and previous White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Independently, the Democrats on the Home Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence announced plans to hold an open hearing on Wednesday entitled, “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Counterintelligence Ramifications of Volume 1.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.