Trump Is Still Three Nixons Short Of Watergate

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent testimony by former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean. While President Trump has personally attacked Dean, I have always liked and respected him. However, I disagree with his historical analogies. Comparisons to the Nixon case are fair, but they become forced when people insist that the conduct or record is the same. There are fundamental and likely determinative distinctions. There is a valid basis for an investigation but the record does not support the extent of comparison laid out by John Dean. John often seems to rank presidents on a Nixon scale. Yet, rather than giving Trump essentially “five Nixons,” I would put it as one or two pending further investigation. In other words, the case must still be made that this is “just like Watergate.”

Here is the column:

As John Dean sat down in the witness chair before the House Judiciary Committee this week, the historical comparison was inescapable. It was almost exactly 46 years after his famous appearance as White House counsel to President Nixon in what was a pivotal moment during those impeachment hearings. It was a made for television moment by House Democrats, except for the clear absence of actual television coverage.

Afterward, House Democrats expressed outrage that neither the major networks nor the cable channels covered the hearing. As Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee lamented to the press, “It is just how many people saw it, I do not know. It should have been on MSNBC, it should have been on CNN, it should have been on Fox, not just on CSPAN 3.”

Dean has long ranked presidents on a type of Nixon scale. He wrote a book, “Worse Than Watergate,” giving George W. Bush effectively five Nixons. As someone who was asked to testify at the hearing, I cannot say that I regret taking an extra day of hiking in the southwest instead. (As Dean himself might have observed, the La Luz Trail of New Mexico was very captivating, deceiving, and ultimately punishing just like Nixon.)

While the Washington Post reported that the hearing “failed to produce a blockbuster moment” or even “gain traction” against President Trump, it was not due to the lack of media cameras or the efforts of Dean. The failure to create a temporal rift between 1973 and 2019 was due to overstating the analogy between them. Dean did his best, testifying, “It is quite striking and startling that history is repeating itself, and with a vengeance, so that is why I have spoken out.” However, he gave several overlapping examples that undermine the case for his Nixon analogy.

Comey firing and Nixon ‘massacre’

Dean insisted that Trump firing FBI Director James Comey “echoes” Nixon firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox in the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” in 1973. The problem is that, as detailed in the memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, an array of current and former Justice Department officials felt Comey should be fired. Cox was not accused, as was Comey, of violating “long standing Justice Department policies and tradition” or disregarding “his obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the traditions of the department and the FBI.” The investigation continued under special counsel Robert Mueller, and Trump did not terminate it.

Lawyers John Dean and Don McGahn

Dean compared his own record with that of former White House counsel Don McGahn, who allegedly refused an order by Trump to fire Mueller. Like himself, Dean said McGahn refused to commit criminal acts. There are, however, problems with this analogy. First, Dean did not really refuse to commit criminal acts. He pleaded guilty to an array of criminal acts, though he certainly mitigated such conduct by coming forward with his full account before Congress.

Second, while ordering McGahn to fire Mueller could be viewed as an obstructive act, Trump insists he told McGahn to raise alleged conflicts of interest of Mueller, conflicts that were discussed in the media. While McGahn appears to have viewed that as an order to fire Mueller, there is no alleged crime in Trump demanding to know what Rosenstein was going to do about such alleged conflicts.

The creation of false accounts

Dean cites both the effort by Nixon to create false accounts and the denial by Trump of facts related to the Trump Tower meeting and the McGahn order. Again, the analogy is understandable but ultimately unsustainable. First, Trump pressured McGahn to say that he did not expressly order the firing of Mueller, but McGahn did not take it that way, and he should be commended for refusing to make a statement he believed was misleading or false. This is likely to come down to an interpretative difference in what Trump was demanding. Mueller did not cite evidence of an express order to fire him and only generally described the exchange with McGahn.

Second, Mueller destroyed the long standing claims of the Trump Tower meeting as part of any crimes related to collusion. Indeed, he found no evidence that Trump was aware of the meeting beforehand. Nevertheless, the infamous statement drafted by Trump was misleading, even if it was not hiding a criminal conspiracy. Still, Trump is not the first president to knowingly issue false or misleading statements, from “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq to “keeping your own doctor” under ObamaCare.

Presidential pardon abuses

Dean insisted that Trump has dangled pardons before possible witnesses, much like Nixon, who “knew that offering such pardons or giving pardons to try to control witnesses in legal proceedings was wrong.” Again, the analogy collides with the record. Nixon discussed pardons to help silence key figures like Watergate burglar Howard Hunt. Trump has not pardoned anyone, and all witnesses gave testimony to Congress or the special counsel. Congress has a legitimate interest to investigate the matter, but this would not be unprecedented. Think of situations like when George H.W. Bush pardoned Iran Contra figures.

Trying to end an investigation

Dean insists Trump tried to shut down the investigation just as Nixon did. He cites such examples as Trump telling Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting” Michael Flynn go. Yet, Comey said Trump did not ask for the investigation to be shut down, and Mueller did not find evidence that Trump demanded such action. Even regarding McGahn, Mueller found that Trump objected to his involvement, but did not find that Trump sought to end the investigation by sending McGahn to see Rosenstein.

As with many noncriminal motives cited by Mueller, this ultimately could be a pitch for leniency for an aide who was fired and his career ruined. Flynn did not implicate Trump in any crime related to collusion, and Flynn was charged with a single count of a false statement that is likely to result in little jail time. Nixon, on the other hand, directly ordered agencies not to investigate crimes. While Dean declared that the words of Nixon were “strikingly like those uttered” by Trump, he did not offer any compelling comparison beyond the public attacks by Trump on the basis for the collusion investigation. That is different from direct orders by Nixon.

Finally, the greatest difference is that, while the special prosecutor found ample criminal acts linked to the campaign and the White House in Nixon, the special counsel found no basis for a criminal charge of collusion, and both the attorney general and deputy attorney general found no basis for an obstruction charge. Nixon was therefore acting to cover up extensive criminal violations while Trump is now being accused of obstructing an investigation that has found no underlying crime related to collusion.

None of this means the Nixon analogy is baseless. As I have previously written, Congress has ample reason and jurisdiction to investigate these matters. Moreover, Trump is doing his best to fulfill such comparisons, including his attacks this week against Dean as a “sleazebag” attorney. Coming from a man who had attorneys and associates like Roy Cohn, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort, that attack is strikingly misplaced.

Indeed, this is where the analogy by Dean is the weakest. Nixon would never have engaged in such reckless attacks in public. In the end, Trump sought to make a curious distinction from his predecessor, insisting that he is not Nixon because Nixon “left” office. But that is the one distinction Trump should reconsider. Nixon “left” before he was removed through impeachment. Just as Trump almost “counterpunched” himself into an obstruction case, he can still do the same thing with an impeachment case. That should be a distinction he should not relish or welcome.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

60 thoughts on “Trump Is Still Three Nixons Short Of Watergate”

  1. Watergate had an underlying crime that Nixon was trying to conceal.

    Mueller found no evidence of any underlying crime

    Watergate was the least of Nixon’s crimes.Nixon committed treason with Vietnam and prolonged the war and destroyed LBJs peace deal.

  2. When do you suppose the Democrats will being in a star witness who is NOT a convicted felon.

    1. The stimulus was a contention made by Howard Hunt relayed either through his lawyer or through reporters. Something about Hermes notebooks. My recollection is that Dean found them in a safe in his office. He and fielding had put them there in June 1972 and then he’d forgotten about them.

  3. Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that there is some analogy between Watergate and the current matter, how is this legitimate testimony for a House committee within any rational definition of the word “testimony”?

    Dean has no connection with the current matter. If he wishes to express his view on similarities between the current matter and Watergate, he is free to write an op-ed article and see if anyone will bother to publish it.

    He was called as a “witness” to testify for no other reason than that the committee chairman wanted to make an inference.
    The committee chairman is embarrassing himself over this matter.

    1. Steve J.,
      This is why the rumor is circulating that Nadler will next invite Albert Fall to give equally relevant testimony.

    2. This is political theater and bad theater at that. Calling Dean to testify is on par with Biden reversing his stance on abortion and saying he would cure cancer if elected. Apparently the Democrat leadership still believes Jonathan Gruber’s assessment of their base hasn’t changed one iota.

      1. Olly, calling Dean to testify is on par with calling Avenatti to testify. They both have the same failings.

        1. Allan,
          They’ve painted themselves into a corner. We have the Mueller report and it was a lump of coal in the Democrat’s stockings. With the IG report and others looming, they’ve become very desperate. Impeach/don’t impeach, it isn’t going anywhere. And for the next year and a half, Republicans will have all the campaign material they could have dreamed of courtesy of all these investigations.

          I don’t even know why anyone bothers to engage the Lefty klan on this blog regarding anything involving President Trump. Even though the known facts have never supported their theories, have any of them been nudged to admit they’ve been wrong about anything? If the facts haven’t mattered to this point, I seriously doubt there will be some magic turn of phrase that will give them that aha! moment.

          1. ” don’t even know why anyone bothers to engage the Lefty klan on this blog regarding anything involving President Trump. ”

            Olly, you are absolutely right. Sometimes one can’t believe people are so stupid. So one goes back again to see if they know they made a mistake.😀

  4. “It is glaringly apparent that many who support the president’s administration are either racists, steeped in religious beliefs, ignorant, or as my mother used to say, just plain dumb,’ ” she said. Fudge was reading the letter from Rev. Ronald S. Williams, a man identified by the Washington Post as the “senior pastor and chief executive of Mount Zion Fellowship in Highland Hills, Ohio.”

    Latest: New York Times Writer Questions Dan Crenshaw’s Patriotism, Gets Eviscerated

    “I believe the crooked ascension of Trump to the Oval Office is a gauge that measures the declining patriotic and moral values of the many citizens of America,” she added.

    Isn’t Marcia Fudge cute?

      1. There’s no shortage of “ugly” people in the world. And many of them are good people — which is what’s important.

        You’re hung up on beauty and value the superficial.

  5. I’m not sure what JT finds to “like and respect” about John Dean, but leaving that aside;
    John Dean has experienced in a long-ago era of being a principal participant in both the Watergate burglary, the subsequent destruction of evidence, and other aspects involved in the cover-up/ obstruction of justice.
    He was clever enough to know that once the “coverup ship” was sinking, he could swing the sweetest deal by being one of the very first to jump ship.
    Dean is an earlier version of Michael Cohen, but I think that Dean was a lot smarter and slicker in benefitting from ratting out his fellow co-conspirators.
    Some if whom were not into the Watergate scandal up to their neck, like Dean was. But Dean knew how to “score points” with prosecutors after he “reformed” and worked against those he had directed and worked with in planning and covering up the Watergate burglary.
    So Dean is a much smarter, slicker version of Michael Cohen. I don’t see that as “likeable or respectable”.
    I don’t see what Dean’s involvement in a 1970s scandal has to do with the “Russiangate” issue, but I’m sure😉😄 that the House Committee that invited him thought that he was relevant for some reason.
    That same committee is now considering extending an invitation to Albert Fall to gain needed perspective from him as well

    1. Dean had skeletons in his closet, but not a history of concealed criminal activity, which Cohen did have.

      Dean was one of a set of defendants who pleaded out for obstruction of justice and related crimes. None of them were charged with involvement in the Liddy crew’s burglary and wiretapping schemes. Dean, Charles Colson, Jeb Magruder, and Herbert Kalmbach all entered guilty please. Paul O’Brien was actually given bath immunity, then never used as a witness. Wm. O. Bittman was never charged.

      IIRC, the first to crack was James McCord.

      1. Absurb,
        I think McCord’s letter to Judge/Prosecutor John Sirica was the first “crack on the Stonewall”. I think Dean was in his early 30s when he got into the Watergate trouble, so he was about 20 years younger than Michael Cohen when Cohen “reformed”.
        Dean and John Mitchell helped to plan the the Watergate burglary. Dean and Hunt (and maybe Haldenman?) removed documents from a White House safe after the Watergate guys were caught, and instructed FBI Director Gray to destroy them.
        Dean appeared to remain silent for months after the break-in and when McCord and other broke ranks, he probably calculated the the coverup would not hold.
        But in the events leading up to the Watergate burglary, and in the subsequent c.8-10 months after the buglary, Dean was in the planning and the subsequent obstruction up to his neck. Had his criminality gone uncovered for say, another 20 years, maybe he would have more closely paralleled Cohen’s lengthier track record.
        The fact that Dean was tripped up in his early 30s and was the first in Nixon’s inner circle to rat out to investigators doesn’t seem admirable to me. He was on board with the plumbers, with the break in, and with the coverup as long as he saw that it was working.
        When things went South, he was the first high-level Nixon Administration official to break ranks and cut a relatively sweet deal with prosecutors. Dean’s “epiphany” in deciding to walk away from the dark path and walk in light of righteousness was about as sincere as Cohen’s “Reformation”.

        1. No, it was Dean and Fred Fielding who found a mess of stuff in Hunt’s safe. I think they filed it away. L. Patrick Gray did destroy a batch of files, but it wasn’t that particular batch. Don’t believe Dean told him to do it, though who knows.

          IIRC, Dean did later destroy contents from Hunt’s safe himself. Although Fielding was Dean’s deputy, I don’t think prosecutors ever took any interest in him and Dean says nothing in his memoir about Fielding’s conduct that looks criminal. I think Dean’s other deputy (John Caulfield) and Caulfield’s chum Anthony Ulaszewicz pled out to some minor something-or-other.

          1. Absurd,
            I think you’re correct that the material pulled from the White House safe was from Hunt’s material he had stired there….I’d have to recheck the roles of Dean, Haldelman, Hunt, and Erlichman to see who it was that actually was involved in the removal and destruction of the items take from the White House safe immediately after the Watergate burlars were caught.
            It’s difficult to know exactly what was taken and what was destroyed, given that it WAS destroyed. I still think John Dean was one of the, if not THE, principal actors in that getting those items out of that White House safe, delivering the material to Gray, and ordering Gray to destroy them.
            When this came to light, I think Gray testified that he later burned the papers Dean wanted destroyed in his fireplace.

  6. “Inside DOJ and FBI: Anatomy of a bloodless coup?”
    The Hill
    February 1, 2019

    “The word “coup” evokes imagery of bloody revolution, but does a coup have to be bloody, or even happen all at once? What if, instead, a bloodless, rolling coup started with a snowball and ended with an avalanche? Many believe this very thing happened in 2016, with a small political cabal determined to see Hillary Clinton elected president. When she was defeated, the theory goes, they worked even harder to try to bring her hated opponent, Donald Trump, down by any means necessary — even if this caused much of the American public to believe the president of the United States is the tool of a foreign adversary.

    Is this theory merely the fevered dream of tinfoil-hat-wearing types, or could such a cabal have existed with the kind of power to instigate such a plot? With special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation apparently close to winding down, it is useful to analyze the underpinnings of the Trump-Russia collusion accusation that started it all.

    Partisans cite evidence to support both the theory of an attempted “bloodless coup” by political hacks inside the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) and the theory that dedicated professionals had reason to believe there was a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians sufficient to launch an unprecedented counterintelligence operation…

    This lends credence to those who argue the FBI ignored protocols for partisan political ends. First, efforts were made to prevent Trump from winning the White House (high-level leaking of information ensured the Russia collusion investigation became public before the election). Second, surveillance and leaks continued until after the president’s inauguration — leading to talk that he should not be inaugurated, or should resign shortly thereafter.

    All of these facts appear to show the “collusion” investigation was begun by those with apparent political motives and complete disregard for protocols. This suggests that, indeed, a small political faction inside the U.S. government attempted to sway a presidential election — and used our country’s counterintelligence assets to do it.”
    _______________________________________________

    The Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious scandal in American political history.

    The co-conspirators are:

    Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic, Yates, Baker,

    Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Sir Richard Dearlove, Steele, Simpson,

    Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Azra Turk, Kerry, Hillary,

    Huma, Mills, Brennan, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power, Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile,

    Sessions (dupe or patsy?), Obama et al.

  7. Jon, you might want to check this out 11 CFR Section 110.20 before opining that it is not illegal to accept dirt on an opponent in an election from a foreign country or person:

    §30121. Contributions and donations by foreign nationals

    (a) Prohibition

    It shall be unlawful for-

    (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make-

    (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

    (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

    (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or

    (2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

    Providing opposition research has been construed to include “…other thing of value”, so accepting such research is a violation of this statute. So, you have Trump not only admitting he’d be willing to commit a crime, but criticizing Christopher Wray, claiming he is “wrong”.

    And before the Trump harpies start Kellyanne pivoting to point the finger at HRC, her campaign did turn over the information it obtained to the FBI.

    1. I want to share a fun short story by Jack London, author of “White Fang” and “call of the wild” two of my favorite books.

      http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/TolDro.shtml

      ” Told in the Drooling Ward
      Me? I’m not a drooler. I’m the assistant. I don’t know what Miss Jones or Miss Kelsey could do without me. There are fifty-five low-grade droolers in this ward, and how could they ever all be fed if I wasn’t around? I like to feed droolers. They don’t make trouble. They can’t. Something’s wrong with most of their legs and arms, and they can’t talk. They’re very low-grade. I can walk, and talk, and do things. You must be careful with the droolers and not feed them too fast. Then they choke. Miss Jones says I’m an expert. When a new nurse comes I show her how to do it. It’s funny watching a new nurse try to feed them. She goes at it so slow and careful that supper time would be around before she finished shoving down their breakfast. Then I show her, because I’m an expert. Dr. Dalrymple says I am, and he ought to know. A drooler can eat twice as fast if you know how to make him….”

    2. “her (Hillary’s) campaign did turn over the information it obtained to the FBI”.
      I don’t see how that could be, when no one in the Hillary campaign has admitted that they knew anything about Steele/ Fusion GPS’s work.😉 So if, as they have all claimed for years, they were unaware of that Steele had compiled a stack a Russian dirt allegations against Trump, how could they have even known it existed, let alone delivered it to the FBI?
      What comparable project using British/ Russian operatives did the Trump campaign authorize? Did they hire a foreign ex-spy/businessman to use Russian contacts and sources for opposition research against Clinton?
      There was no comparable GOP operation to the DNC/ Hillary Campaign- funded Russian Dossier project, so neither the GOP nor the Trump Campiagn could hardly be expected to turn over British/ Russian opposition research when they never authorized a project like that.
      Trump’s statement ( actually the topic of another column) was that he might not turn over foreign opposition research on a candidate to U.S. intelligence agencies. That is hypothetical, since Trump didn’t commision anything like the Steele Russian Dossier project. Had he done so in 2016, should he have trusted people like Strzok, Page, McCabe, the Ohrs, etc. with that information? Had Trump known to the mindset and the communication and the activities of these FBI/ DOJ officials at the time, could he reasonably be expected to go to them if he had bought the equivalent of a Russian Dossier on Hillary?

      1. Tom, Steele reported the incidents which concerned him to the FBI. There is no evidence either way that Hillary’s campaign knew Steele worked for Fusion GPS, which is the entity they hired and paid.

        By the way, surely you know that Steele was not a “British/Russian operative”, but the former head of the British government’s MI-6 Russia Desk. If you did not know, the British government has been our closest ally for almost 2 centuries. Steele was a trusted work partner of our intelligence agencies.

        Your guilty of either exceedingly sloppy thinking or deliberate promotion of propaganda for fools, or maybe both.

        1. Tom, this guy Anon can’t keep up with the latest revelations about foreign government involvement.

  8. Turley says: ” the special counsel found no basis for a criminal charge of collusion, and both the attorney general and deputy attorney general found no basis for an obstruction charge. Nixon was therefore acting to cover up extensive criminal violations while Trump is now being accused of obstructing an investigation that has found no underlying crime related to collusion.”

    Come on, Jon, you know better than that. Mueller said he didn’t have enough evidence to charge conspiracy. Trump and Russians all refused to sit for an interview. Mueller did NOT clear Chubby on obstruction and laid out no less than 10 instances where Trump obstructed justice. He left it to Congress to take action, believing his hands were tied by DOJ policy. The AG was hand-picked by Trump to protect him against being brought to justice. Everyone knows that. Barr is a disgrace. Since when is or should it be OK for a POTUS to tell people to lie and create false documents? Trump did that.

    Did you see the George Stephanolopoulos interview with Fatty, in which he said that he not only would accept assistance from a foreign government in the form of opposition research, but he saw no reason to call the FBI? He still doesn’t get it. Maybe when they slap on the handcuffs.

    1. Hold your breath for that Natch. Hold your breath for those handcuffs. Please, try and hold your breath.. surely, it’s coming soon?

    2. Turley loves to groom his facts to fit his core readers. Turley knows better that anybody that if he says the truth about Trump he would lose his right-wing and he would never get that gig on FOX.

      1. IMO, Turley wants to be a federal judge. I’ve lost a lot of respect for him over the years.

  9. among we peasants, snitches are bches and they get stiches.

    Dean’s the worst kind of lawyer, the one who betrays his client

    God is punishing John Dean, by giving him a long life of infamy as a snitch.

    Only Democrat politicians and professors “like” him. We can see through that.

    Like I said, nobody likes a snitch.

    I hope law school students are reading this. Don’t believe the lies they tell you in school.
    Take it from a real lawyer who actually goes to court and makes his bread representing people.
    The worst lawyer in the world is the one who screws his own client.
    That is the first and most important lesson you must learn if you want to be a real lawyer.
    Your first job and your whole justification to society is simply this:
    help your clients, don’t hurt them.

  10. I never met John Dean and I never want to, because, i try and stay out of jail and a punk snitch bch like Dean makes a decent person want to punch him in his ugly face

    I am loathe to criticize the host, but, he has now wandered into the forest and has burrs all over his pants and looks a mess with that one. Likes John Dean?

    Trust me nobody likes John Dean. Not his victims and not the handlers who pimped him out against his former friends, either

    Listen up kids. Nobody likes a snitch. Your old friends will hate you and you new ones will never trust you. If you want to be respected, never snitch

    Why for example, does Michael Franzese still walk around free and alive? Because he did his time but he didn’t snitch; and out of respect his former colleagues don’t give him the usual penalty for trying to “quit” a club that doesn’t allow quitting.

    John Dean is from a different sort of club with different rules .But whatever the penalties, one rule is always the same: nobody likes a snitch.

    1. I know an old guy (knew, he’s dead now) that got in trouble in law school because he saw a fellow student cheating. He asked a priest and a professor for advice. Both told him not to snitch, in so many words. He didn’t. Then, somebody else snitched. Then the dean “investigated” the “failure to report” cheating. Of course the old guy had to say, but gosh, i asked a priest and a prof and they warned me off. So the dean, who was not about to embarrass the priest and the proff, just sent a private disciplinary letter to the old guy for violating the socalled “honor code” which presumed to require snitching.

      The cheater, of course, evaded punishment. So much for the honor code. They all graduated.

      The old guy held on to that disciplinary letter like it was gold. Literally, and we found it in a strong box with other precious objects. Nobody knew about it until he was dead and gone. Why so precious? because it was proof that he didn’t snitch, that he responded to a difficult situation with discretion and good judgment, and that he allowed the dean to not look like a fool, by taking his little lump in silence. And this letter was proof of same. And that proof went a long long way in life.

      Later in life, how did the old guy’s career stack up to the one who snitched?

      The snitch went on to continue to be what he was– a nobody.

      The one who didn’t snitch, earned his reputation among his peers, and went on to glory and money.

      Simple as that kids. Don’t snitch.

      oh and by the way. The cheater went on to be come– you guessed it– a politician.

      1. One of my friends many moons ago, entered accounting service for a public good administered by the state. it was typical of certain public goods out here in flyover, an administration rife with corruption. Like, corruption involving envelopes of money in exchange for concessions.

        an honest guy, he did not further these things. But, he couldn’t rock the boat. The people involved in this were not exactly nice people. And of course it was already under investigation as he soon found out. They wanted him to rat out his boss. (for some reason the people delivering the envelopes never got in trouble). So between a rock and a hard place, he refused to cooperate, lawyered up, plead the fifth. He didn’t wear a wire, etc, and didn’t snitch on his boss either. So the feds, of course, bagged him on as small of a felony as they could charge and expect to win, and they did, and sent him to a light prison sentence for that “corruption” which they hung around his neck, because they couldn’t get the goods on the boss who was actually the one responsible. The boss was charged anyways, and acquitted, and the persecutor had a metaphorical black eye over this lame investigation.

        That’s how it works in law enforcement. Maybe that is a necessary tactic for prosecutors. I can understand that and I accept it. But for the individual, the choice between a light sentence and being branded a snitch for life, is an easy one.

        Not for John Dean, because he was a punk, and afraid of doing time like any normal human being can easily do at club fed.

        My friend is ok now. he has a great job which is more fun than being a damned paper pushing accountant. His life is easily better than if he had been stuck in crappy office jobs like that his whole life. Among his big family, he seems the happiest.

        Don’t snitch, kids. Which leads to the corollary: if you cant do the time, dont do the crime.

    2. …nobody like a snitch. (Kurtz)

      Except Gordon Liddy, perhaps.

      Liddy became part of director J. Edgar Hoover’s personal staff and became his ghostwriter. Amongst his fellow agents he had a reputation for recklessness and was known primarily for two incidents. The first was an arrest in Kansas City, Missouri during a black bag job;… (Wikipedia)

    3. Kurtz, it has nothing to do with Watergate and the details behind it. John Dean was and always will be dirt.

  11. Watergate obstruction included obstruction of an actual crime. Trump pushed back on a hoax, he did not push back or try to cover-up a crime. This is a distinction that all the Dummycrats and lefty loon media are aware of, but still push forward with Witch Hunt 2.0

  12. While President Trump has personally attacked Dean, I have always liked and respected him.

    Come again? You live in Washington. He’s lived for 40-odd years in Los Angeles, hasn’t lived in Washington since you were 14 years old, and has never lived in Chicago. He hasn’t had a law license since 1974. When would you ever have occasion to spend time with this man?

    Even if you liked him, why would you respect him? People with an informed opinion will tell you he’s never come clean about his dealings with Gordon Liddy et al between January and June of 1972. That aside, he’s been disbarred consequent to criminal activity and his only time in private practice (1964-66) ended rather ignominiously when the communications law firm which had hired him as an associate (1) fired him for cause and (2) made it clear that it was doing him a favor by not filing charges against him with attorney disciplinary panels in the jurisdictions where he was admitted. His public advocacy over the last 40-odd years has been obnoxious and silly. What Thos. Sowell has said, “Equal respect is the abolition of respect”.

    1. Dean is a snitch and something else that rhymes with that. Dean is snitch. All you need to know. A lawyer who screwed his client by snitching, even worse.

      1. I don’t mind he turned state’s evidence. That was the sensible thing to do. (I do think he was treated absurdly leniently compared to others). However, if, as Liddy has contended, he was up to his hips in skullduggery before McCord and his crew were collared at the DNC, it was his obligation to either take the plea deal and recede into private life or to wait until the statute of limitations had run out and come clean. Most of the Watergate defendants did not write memoirs, much less memoirs that consciously misrepresented what they did do and didn’t do, not in re details, but in re the whole enchilada. And the only other defendant who was a persistent public presence was Charles Colson, who ran a prison ministry and whose topical commentary concerned a restricted range of issues quite irrelevant to Washington political scandals.

        1. Colson is honorable. Liddy is honorable. Dean is not. Howard Hunt, was a bad dude, for different reasons, but not a snitch.

          “sensible” only to a punk and a sissy. he didn’t even do his little bit in a real jail. all he had to do was shut his yap, but he failed in simple duty, sang the tune put before him like a good canary, and was rewarded with short time in a safe house instead, and after a fat paying job as an investment banker (probably kind paid to stay out of the way once he did the meet and greet) and lots of book deals.

          Which made him a rich snitch bch, just the kind they “like” in DC. And they trot him out now which shows us what a lot of snotty rich bches they are too. I thought the Democrats were low but they exceeded expectations with this act in their dog and pony show.

  13. What comes closer to Watergate, and might actually exceed it in treasonous behavior, is the possibility that Dept. of State and CIA used “friendly” foreign intelligence agents and their paid informants to try to entrap the Trump campaign in the appearance of a Russian conspiracy. Then, they waged an inforwarfare campaign using a false dossier. I think the use of foreign intelligence assets to try to sway a US elections, perpetrated by government officers acting under cover of official duty, is very similar to Watergate. The use of foreign intelligence goes a step further than Watergate, which used domestic spy talent to bug the DNC office.

  14. Bringing in a felon as an “expert witness” says a lot about the Dems.

    Aside from the moral deficiencies, it highlights the weakness of their case against Pres. Trump.

    All of us learned the stupidity of p–ing into the wind when we were young; the Dems have to learn that lesson as old folks.

  15. “Gohmert started by reading Dean’s criminal record from an old New York Times article: “They reported that in your case, John Sirica, the judge, read the formal charges regarding the conspiracy to thwart the investigation and he read as follows: that you were suborning perjury, giving false statements, and concealing evidence in the trial before Judge Sarika last winter.”

    “Of the men arrested in the break-in, offering clemency to the defendants, paying to keep the arrested men silent, asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation for information, attempting to get the CIA to provide money for the payments,” Gohmert continued reading. “And furtherance of the conspiracy judge Sirica continued reading, Dean had committed six overt specific overt acts on or about June 27, 1972.”

    The 5 minutes Gohmert questioned Dean were riveting.

    1. It was good that Gohmert recited that. The thing is, Dean has pretended for 40 odd years that he begged off any involvement with Gordon Liddy’s operation in January 1972 after Liddy presented detailed plans for Operation Gemstone in a meeting which included John Mitchell and Jeb Magruder as well as Dean, and that he was blindsided when he returned from vacation in June of 1972 to discover that the chief of security at the Committee to Re-elect the President had been arrested with four others burglarizing the DNC offices. Gordon Liddy has maintained they were doing errands at Dean’s request and that Dean had made a wretched pest of himself in the preceding weeks. IIRC, the haphazard recollections of Jeb Magruder were consistent with Liddy’s account, though they do not confirm every component of it. Liddy’s been harsh about Dean for quite some time, maintaining he was an inveterate liar.

      1. Liddy has always seemed honest, whatever his crimes, whereas Dean always seemed like a low down dirty snitch.

        1. “Liddy has always seemed honest, whatever his crimes…” (Kurtz)

          Kurtz has an interesting definition of the word “honest.”

          For the record, a little about Liddy from Wikipedia:

          Liddy was the Nixon administration liaison and leader of the group of five men who broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Complex. At least two separate entries were made in May and June 1972; the burglars were caught and apprehended on June 17. The purposes of the break-in were never conclusively established. The burglars sought to place wiretaps and planned to photograph documents. Their first attempt had led to improperly-functioning recording devices being installed. Liddy did not actually enter the Watergate Complex at the time of the burglaries; rather, he admitted to supervising the second break-in which he coordinated with E. Howard Hunt, from a room in the adjacent Watergate Hotel. Liddy was convicted of conspiracy, burglary and illegal wiretapping.

          Liddy was sentenced to a 20-year prison term and was ordered to pay $40,000 in fines. He began serving the sentence on January 30, 1973. On April 12, 1977, President Jimmy Carter commuted Liddy’s sentence to eight years, “in the interest of equity and fairness based on a comparison of Mr. Liddy’s sentence with those of all others convicted in Watergate related prosecutions”, leaving the fine in effect. Carter’s commutation made Liddy eligible for parole as of July 9, 1977. Liddy was released on September 7, 1977, after serving a total of four and a half years of incarceration.

          After prison

          In 1980, Liddy published an autobiography, titled Will, which sold more than a million copies and was made into a television movie. In it he states that he once made plans with Hunt to kill journalist Jack Anderson, based on a literal interpretation of a Nixon White House statement “we need to get rid of this Anderson guy”. [end of excerpt]

          Yeah, what a great guy. So “honest”…”whatever his crimes.” As for the DNC break-ins, once an FBI agent, always an FBI agent?

          1. I read the book and listened to his radio show for years. I am well versed in Liddy. I admire, him, actually. You might not understand that sort of thing.

          2. burglary, illegal wiretapping, and contemplating murder– crimes, and criminal thoughts– but not crimes of dishonesty. Nor disloyalty to his boss, Richard Nixon.

            As for the FBI black bag job stuff he describes in his books, those were a systemic fault, not Liddy’s personal inventions.

            As for the black bag CREEP activities, unauthorized private activities on Liddy’s part, crimes but not dishonesty.

            And we can see that it was, unlike Watergate, the LOSER Hillary that fed the bogus information to FBI to get the bogus FISA bogus wiretaps put in place on the winner. and yet the winner has caught hell over it for years.blame the victim game, but only for so long.

            Tick, tock, tick tock, when it counts down, where will the pendulum bite? Time will tell

            These kinds of distinctions are understandable to most folks.

  16. Nixon looks like a Quaker Choir Boy compared to the duplicitous Hillary Clinton / Fusion GPS campaign to defeat Trump

    Blind Ambition applies all too well to John Dean today

    1. “Nixon looks like a Quaker Choir Boy compared to the duplicitous Hillary Clinton”

      True, true and true.

  17. ” While President Trump has personally attacked Dean, I have always liked and respected him. ”

    Like Avenatti?

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