Politics & Policy

House Dems to Call Nixon Lawyer as First Witness in Mueller Report Hearing

John Dean, White House Counsel for President Richard Nixon from July 1970 to April 1973, poses in an undated photo. (Nixon Presidential Library and Museum/Handout via Reuters)

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee announced Monday that they will call John Dean, the former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon, as their first witness in the upcoming Mueller report hearings.

The hearings, which House Democrats have titled “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes,” will begin June 10 and will primarily serve as a platform to further explore President Trump’s alleged attempts to obstruct Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“While the White House continues to cover up and stonewall, and to prevent the American people from knowing the truth, we will continue to move forward with our investigation,” Judiciary Committee chariman Jerry Nadler said in a statement. “These hearings will allow us to examine the findings laid out in Mueller’s report so that we can work to protect the rule of law and protect future elections through consideration of legislative and other remedies.”

Dean served as the star witness in the Watergate impeachment trial and ultimately pled guilty to obstruction of justice in 1973. He will appear beside a number of former U.S. attorneys and legal experts at this month’s hearing.

Democrats have frequently invoked the Watergate scandal and Congress’s response to it in justifying their calls for impeachment. During an appearance on CNN last month, Dean said the Mueller report was “more damning” than the Senate report detailing the misconduct of Nixon’s aides.

“I looked on my shelf for the Senate Watergate Committee report, I looked at the Iran-Contra report. I also looked at the Ken Starr report. . . . In 400 words, this report from the special counsel is more damning than all those reports about a president,” Dean told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“As far as obstruction goes, this is clear obstruction,” he added. “The obstruction statute is an endeavor statute, as well as an actual overt action. If you endeavor to obstruct — and there is much evidence here of endeavor — you’ve violated the obstruction statute.”

Nadler reportedly tried to compel Mueller to testify during the hearing about the implications of Trump’s attempts at obstruction, including whether he would have been criminally indicted if he weren’t the president, but Mueller resisted, saying publicly last week that if forced to testify, he would speak only to information included in his report.

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