Ex-WH counsel plans to make Trump-Nixon comparison

John Dean testifying before House committee

By Devan Cole, CNN
CNN

John Dean

(CNN) - Former White House counsel John Dean, whose testimony in the Watergate investigation helped topple Richard Nixon's presidency, said Monday he plans to tell Congress that he sees similarities between Nixon and President Donald Trump.

Dean, who is a CNN contributor, is set to testify Monday afternoon before the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing about lessons from special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference. The hearing comes as congressional Democrats look to step up their efforts to highlight findings in the special counsel's probe amid a swirling debate over impeachment.

"I'm clearly not a fact witness, but I hope I can give them some context and show them how strikingly like Watergate what we're seeing now, and as reported in the Mueller report, is. So I've taken several examples from the Mueller report relating to obstruction of justice, which is their focus today and looked at those and made the comparisons," Dean told CNN's Alisyn Camerota and John Berman on "New Day."

Asked by Berman what the most "apt comparison" between Nixon and Trump is, Dean said, "the fact that Nixon was hands-on very early is just like Trump hands-on very early."

"The firing of (former FBI Director James) Comey is certainly not dissimilar from some of the actions that Nixon took," Dean added. "Nixon waded in and tried to influence the FBI investigation, as did Trump. So there are lots of comparisons."

Dean, who resigned from the Nixon administration in April 1973, testified before a Senate select committee in June of that year about the White House and Nixon's involvement in the Watergate break-in and cover-up. He later served time in prison for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.

In recent months, Dean has called for the impeachment of Trump, saying in December that he thinks Congress will have "little choice" but to begin impeachment proceedings against the President after a court filing said Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen acted at the direction of Trump when the former fixer made payments to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump prior to his time running for office.

Trump has denied the affairs and has not been accused of any crimes related to the payments.

CNN's Jeremy Herb and Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.

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