John Dean, the former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon, knows a thing or two about a chief executive trying to interfere with an investigation.
Dean made a plea deal in the Watergate inquiry in the 1970s, agreeing to cooperate with investigators who were trying to determine whether the president had engaged in (or had knowledge of) illegal tampering with the investigation. It’s because of Dean’s knowledge of such matters that he was invited to speak to the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.
Many conservatives bemoaned his presence there, including President Donald Trump, who couldn’t help but send out a tweet moments before Dean began to testify. Trump attacked Dean and reiterated his often repeated line of “no collusion, no obstruction,” despite the fact that Robert Mueller‘s report detailed many occasions in which the commander-in-chief was not exonerated from obstructing the Russia investigation.
Can’t believe they are bringing in John Dean, the disgraced Nixon White House Counsel who is a paid CNN contributor. No Collusion – No Obstruction! Democrats just want a do-over which they’ll never get!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2019
It wasn’t just the president who took aim at Dean. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) directly called Dean, to his face during opening remarks, the “godfather” of corrupt behavior. He then asked if we can learn anything new from anyone — including Mueller, if he was ever asked to — testifying on the Mueller report.
Dean countered that there certainly was value in public testimony.
“I think this committee does have a role and it is adding something that the special counsel could not, and that’s public education,” Dean said, according to a tweet from MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin.
He added that the document is “not widely read,” including “in Congress,” per another tweet from Vice News’ Elizabeth Landers.
.@RepDougCollins asks John Dean what the Judiciary Committee will learn that's new that Mueller hasn't put in the report.
"I think this committee does have a role," he says in educating the public, and jabs at the members saying the report is "not widely read in congress."
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) June 10, 2019
Is it truly that important for a public face to speak out about a given subject? Consider how the public’s attitudes changed after Mueller spoke out about his report at the end of last month.
After doing so — and after directly contradicting the president’s remarks stating that he had been exonerated — the public’s opinion on impeachment changed slightly, with a majority of Americans believing that either impeachment proceedings should begin or that Democrats should continue looking into the president’s actions, according to reporting from NPR.
Dean may not have direct knowledge of the president’s behaviors or the Mueller investigation itself, but he has provided a reasonable opinion in regards to what the public should know, and how information should be presented to them, in order to understand their true opinions on political matters.
Watch Dean’s live testimony below:
Featured image via screen grab