Nixon White House Counsel John Dean On Presidential Power, Watergate And More

Sep 13, 2018

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Former President Richard Nixon’s White House counsel John Dean is back in the spotlight with a warning about unchecked presidential power. He’s with us.


John Dean, former White House counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1970 to 1973. Best known as a key witness for the prosecution in the Watergate scandal. (@JohnWDean)

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Washington Post: “John Dean took down Nixon with his Senate testimony. Now he’s back.” — “The weekend before he raised his right hand in front of the Senate Watergate Committee and swore to tell the truth about President Richard M. Nixon’s crimes, John Dean got a haircut.

“‘Cut it nice and clean,’ Dean told the barber, according to a book he later wrote.

“The barber had no idea that the hair he was clipping belonged to the former White House counsel, the man who helped cover up the Nixon campaign’s break-in of the Democratic National Committee’s offices.

“‘What do you think of these Watergate hearings?’ the barber asked.

“‘They’re pretty interesting,’ Dean said.”

Associated Press: “Watergate Memories Spring to Life With Trump’s Troubles” — “The White House seethes with intrigue and backstabbing as aides hunt for the anonymous Deep (state) Throat among them. A president feels besieged by tormentors — Bob Woodward is driving him crazy — so he tends his version of an enemies list, wondering aloud if he should rid himself of his attorney general or the special prosecutor or both.

“For months, the Trump administration and its scandals have carried whiffs of Watergate and drawn comparisons to the characters and crimes of the Nixon era. But this week, history did not just repeat itself, it climbed out of the dustbin and returned in the flesh.

“There was John Dean again, testifying on the Hill, warning anew about a cancer on the presidency.

“Nearly every element in President Donald Trump’s trouble has a Watergate parallel.”

Los Angeles Post-Examiner: “John Dean warns SCOTUS pick could expand presidential powers” — “The attorney who served as White House counsel to then-President Richard Nixon told a Senate panel Friday that President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would expand the limits of executive power.

“‘If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, I submit we will have the most pro-presidential powers Supreme Court in the modern era,’ John W. Dean III said in prepared remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“He added: ‘I am old enough to remember when conservative orthodoxy fought the expansion of presidential and executive powers.’

“Dean testified in person as well.”

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