September 23, 2023

Watergate lawyer John Dean just explained why Trump shouldn’t start celebrating yet.

As everyone anxiously awaits the release of whatever portion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report that Attorney General Willam Barr deems suitable for public consumption, President Trump received a bit of unsolicited advice from a man with quite a bit of experience in the investigations into presidential scandals.

John Dean, the former White House Counsel to President Nixon during the Watergate break-in that led to Nixon’s resignation, tweeted a warning to the current president to not break out the party hats and cigars quite yet.

Dean’s notion is purely speculative of course — and Trump and his circle still face continuing investigations by prosecutors in multiple federal and state jurisdictions — but his guess about Barr’s thought processes right now is informed by his own experience as the “master manipulator of the cover-up” in the Watergate scandal as the FBI referred to him.

Dean’s key role in heading up the coverup of the Nixon re-election campaign team’s burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel was discovered during congressional hearings and before long he was secretly cooperating with Senate Watergate investigators, while continuing to work as Nixon’s Chief White House Counsel and participating in the crooked president’s cover-up efforts.

While Dean proved to be a crucial witness in the prosecution of other Watergate conspirators such as H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, he was nonetheless sentenced to up to four years in prison after pleading guilty to felony obstruction of justice. His cooperation with prosecutors later managed to help reduce his sentence to just the four months he had already served, but his guilty plea led to his disbarment and an end to his legal career.

President Trump would be wise to heed Dean’s recommendation and refrain from that sigh of relief until at least Barr finally releases his summary of Mueller’s findings. As per the Justice Department’s announcement this morning, the earliest anyone expects to get that summary is tomorrow, so Trump — and the rest of us — will just have to hold off on determining whether Dean’s hunch is correct until then.

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Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.