John Dean Calls Leaking The Questions A Possible Basis For Obstruction Of Justice

E0398-03APresident Nixon’s White House counsel John Dean claimed that if the Trump administration leaked questions from special counsel Robert Mueller it could qualify as obstruction of justice.  Once again, I disagree with such sweeping interpretations of the crime of obstruction of justice.  Leaking such questions or topics would not be a crime under any case that I am aware of in defining the crime of obstruction.

The New York Times revealed Monday that it had a list of nearly 50 questions Mueller would like to ask Trump as part of the investigation.  Dean, a CNN contributor, stated that “The very fact that the questions are out there, my first reaction, suggesting it could be an act of obstruction to just have released these questions.”

I cannot see the basis for such a claim.  These were topics discussed between prosecutors and a subject’s counsel. There is no nondisclosure agreement binding a subject who testifies in a grand jury or is interviewed by prosecutors. If that could be the basis for obstruction, prosecutors could silence a host of individuals by simply interviewing them or raising a variety of topics.

I have previously criticized Trump’s critics for continually downplaying the elements  needed to establish crimes like obstruction.  It creates a false impression for the public about the underlying facts and relevant legal analysis.  As I discussed today, leaking these questions could very well be a violation of legal ethics, but I do not see the basis for an allegation of obstruction.

50 thoughts on “John Dean Calls Leaking The Questions A Possible Basis For Obstruction Of Justice”

  1. Below: In which Trump supporters and defenders attempt to clear the good name of Richard Millhouse Nixon.

    They never let go of anything.

    1. You think defending Trump and his mountain of lies is easy?
      Let’s have some compassion for those afflicted with that impossible task.

    1. Good question. Mr. Turley has also been making inquiries along those same lines.

      “Is Rudy Giuliani working FOR Donald Trump or AGAINST him?

      First came Hannity, who asked Giuliani about Russians giving dirt on Trump to the investigator Christopher Steele, paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Giuliani’s response will now enter the Hall of Fame of the greatest non sequiturs in history. Giuliani immediately started talking about Stormy Daniels and said, “Sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know.”

      He then proceeded to directly contradict the past denials by both the president and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that Trump had no knowledge of the $130,000 paid to the porn star. It was clearly a planned moment where the Trump team would start the awkward process of tacking away from the president’s denials and toward defensible legal ground.”

      Johnathon Turley
      https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/03/stormy-daniels-rudy-giuliani-donald-trump-130000-payment-column/576661002/

      The Trump team has just executed a 180 degree turn on the Stormy Daniels payments. Who knew the truth was so flexible? What will be the party line tomorrow? Let’s start a pool!

  2. He’s not a Republican he’s a RINO and part of the Watergate Gang. Since then a second rate nothing.,

    1. He was a very ordinary government lawyer, assisted in his career by his personal friendship with Barry Goldwater Jr.

      He and his wife have made good coin since 1975. (She was a stockbroker for a run of years). They were able in 1993 to afford a house in Beverly Hills that the real estate sites say is now worth $4.2 million.

  3. Paul Ryan is derelict in his duty to uphold the Constitution.

    Paul Ryan is allowing Mueller to subpoena the President for NO CRIME.

    Paul Ryan should have impeached, for crimes of high office, or recommended for prosecution Rosenstein, Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Mueller, Steele, Simpson, Hillary, Huma, Lynch, Clapper, Power, Farkas, Rice, Obama, et al.

    1. That’s probably the fall back postiion. Don’t answer anything that isn’t about the charge of Collusion which Mewler already admitted was false but come to think of it what else is left. LMAO The left overs off courseI

    2. You left out the Queen of England, H.W. Bush, and Henry Kissinger. Otherwise known as the “Trilateral Commission.” Nice hat.

      this is to “I removed my molars so the CIA couldn’t bug them” georgie

  4. The reality is that those with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) believe that ANYTHING is a basis to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.

  5. If Mueller is pursuing an obstruction charge, why isn’t he investigating the person who recommended Comey’s firing — Rod Rosenstien?

  6. John Dean was and has been in the very inside of DC for a while now, and if anybody has taken the time to read his writings, they would know that he knows more from being inside and outside, then a lot of so-called experts. He is not to be taken lightly in his law opinions.

    1. He hasn’t practiced law since 1973. He and his wife decamped to Los Angeles 40 years ago and searches of various databases indicate they have lived in Beverly Hills for 25 years or more.

      1. Nutchacha,..
        – Of all of the key Watergate conspirators…and John Dean was in it up to his neck from the beginning…he came out of it with a sweet deal from the prosecutors.
        Very little time served under relatively comfortable surroundings.
        I think most of the time served was “work release” helping the prosecution.
        By testifying against his co-conspirators ( many of whom went to prison) he escaped the fate of the others who were as guilty (or less guilty) than Dean.

        1. He was jailed at Fort Holabird in Maryland from. It was a very small minimum security federal prison (20-odd inmates) of whom four (Dean, Charles Colson, Jeb Magruder, and Herbert Kalmbach) were caught up in the Nixon scandals. He was initially given a sentence of 1-5 years in the pen. Of those sentenced prior to January 1975, I believe Gordon Liddy’s was the harshest, followed by Dean’s. Dean’s lawyer (Charles Schaffer) made a motion to reduce sentence, and the Judge agreed, so Dean and Charles Colson were paroled in January 1975. Not sure about Kalmbach and Magruder, but I assume they were as well. Dean was the last of the four to arrive there, so his time served was the shortest (about 4 months). The special prosecutor’s office was rueful about the sentence Dean was given because they were at the time negotiating a plea (with John Mitchell or Robert Mardian, I forget) and the defendant in question saw how badly Dean had been schlonged by Judge Sirica after co-operating that he backed out and went to trial. Dean himself offered that line up of defendants was peculiar. You had Mitchell, Haldeman, and Ehrlichmen who’d been at the linchpin; Robert Mardian, a 2d echelon official of the Justice Department whose involvement in skulduggery was fairly brief; and Kenneth Parkinson, a lawyer for the Committee to Re-elect the President was was aware of shady dealings but not a conspirator himself; Parkinson was acquitted.

          In the intervening years, Gordon LIddy and others have contended that Dean’s account of his actions between January and June of 1972 is largely fictional and that he was an active participant in the sequence of events which led to the burglary in question. IIRC, Liddy has said that one object of the burglary was an errand for Dean, who thought a DNC employee had compromising material on Maureen Biner, who Dean was planning to marry (and to whom he’s still married). Dean contended in his memoir that he found Liddy’s proposed Operation Gemstone a lurid mess and wanted nothing to do with it or any scaled-down version of it, and that he had no significant dealings with Gordon Liddy after the first iteration of Gemstone was vetoed by John Mitchell in early 1972, explicitly telling H.R. Haldeman that he wanted out.

        2. Mr. Cohen should take note of John Deans sweetheart deal after he cooperated.
          Assuming he doesn’t want to miss several of his children’s birthdays in the near future.

  7. I support Trump and believe that his enemies, including Mueller, are conducting a witch hunt. However, if anyone leaked Grand Jury testimony, I believe that would be a crime. Grand Jury testimony is kept sealed and not available for review at the court house. These are some sort of criminal interrogatories, however, would it be legal for anyone to disclose secret Grand Jury testimony in which neither the target nor their attorney are able to even attend the Grand Jury (and in many instances are not even made aware of a secret Grand Jury)?

  8. If only Trump had lost the election. Then none of this would be going on. Hilary would be president and we all would be happy and gay. Now instead of investigating a crime we’re investigating someone to see if they committed a crime

  9. John, John, John, If leaks and intrigue were prosecuted, the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy would never have gotten this far.

    if leaks and intrigue were prosecuted, the entire leadership of the DOJ/FBI and Obama administration would be in prison and America would not be in a contrived “constitutional crisis” of caterwauling liberals who lost an election today.

    “Car 54, Where Are You?”

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, where are you?

  10. The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

    Obama, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, CNN, Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller et al.

    A fabricated “dossier” is created and distributed for maximum effect in overturning a presidential election.

    A binder for the Stozok/Page “insurance policy in Andy’s office” is delivered.

    The Obama Coup D’Etat in America.

    “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

    – Barack Obama

    The conspirators, from Obama to the “investigator of nothing,” Mueller and his treasonous “subpoena

    threat,” must be impeached by Congress and/or prosecuted for abuse of power, abuse of public trust,

    conspiracy, subversion, treason, etc.

  11. Let’s see. If the questions were purposely leaked by Trump’s team at Trump’s direction for the purpose of giving him cover for refusing to meet with the Special Counsel, thus forcing counsel to utilize a subpoena which will be resisted all the way through the Supreme Court to avoid having to testify. It kinda smells a little like obstruction.

    1. Your guess as to why someone intended something is meaningless.

      A legal act does not become illegal – merely because you do not like WHY the person acted as they did.

      Most of the left’s attack’s on Trump – including the attacks on his EO are rooted in this idiocy that “why” matters.

      That our law has in too many instance polluted itself with concerns about why, means we are past the rule of law and into the rule of man.

      In criminal cases prosecutors try to demonstrate intent to a jury – not because the act would be legal if the intent were different, but because we do not like to beleive that people commit crimes without reasons.

      It is still the criminal ACT that we convict for.

      Think about this – the left is littlerally arguing that Trump’s immigration EO’s – which deliberately and strongly mirror Obama’s are illegal because “TRUMP!”.
      That the same EO could be legitimately issued by Obama and it would be OK.

      This is the ultimate in hypocracy. It is exactly what is meant by the rule of man not law.
      Law that is different depending on the person.

      And the left is OPEN in asserting this.

      Trump’s legal actions are illegal because “Trump!”

      I do not always agree with Trump’s actions.
      I am free to question his motives.
      But he is free to DO anything that is legal – regardless of what his motives are.

      1. Thanks for the legal analysis, “Counselor.” Google “mens rea” to start; you’ll discover that “intent” is actually an element of virtually every criminal offense.

        this is to “I’ve seen every episode of ‘Law and Order’ three times” johnnie

        1. Marky Mark Mark – intent is specifically not an element of what Hillary should have been charged with. Are you sure you should be defending federal defendants?

  12. So putting information into the public purview may be considered obstruction?

    What will TDS sufferers think of next?

    1. It would not be obstruction – but it would be an ethics violation, and possibly a crime, if Muller did it.

      The requirement to keep a criminal investigation confidential it to protect the rights of the accused.
      It is a constraint on government – not on witnesses, subjects, or targets.

      1. If Mr. Mueller had ethics, he would never have accepted the appointment to begin with due to his multiple conflicts.

  13. Dean was disbarred in 1974. Of all the men who have served as counsel to the President in the last 50 years, Dean’s antecedent career as an attorney was the least distinguished. The derided Harriet Miers had been managing partner of a law firm which employed 200 – odd attorneys. Dean had held a position on Richard Kleindienst’s staff at the Department of Justice, prior to which he’d been employed on the minority staff of the House Judiciary Committee, prior to which he’d been an associate at a Washington firm which specialized in communications law. He’d left that firm in February 1966 because he was fired for cause. The partner who canned him threatened to bring him up on ethics charges.

    Exactly why is his opinion on this matter of interest (except that he was once the linchpin of a conspiracy to obstruct justice).

      1. Marty,..
        If you’re referring to John Dean’s role in helping to expose the Watergate scandal, the desire to save his own hide probably was a greater motivator than “a conscience”.

      2. Dean, conscientious? There’s a fine argument abroad that Dean’s account of his doings between January and June 1972 was a fiction crafted to avoid even more severe conspiracy charges than those he faced for his scamming around between June 1972 and April 1973. That’s not conscientious. I should note that Dean and his wife are quite wealthy. Pretty good job for a disbarred lawyer marred to a stockbroker. John Profumo, he ain’t.

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