John Dean says former President Richard Nixon “might have survived” the Watergate scandal “if there’d been a Fox News.”
Dean, the former White House counsel who turned against his boss and became a friendly witness for the Watergate investigation, told Politico Magazine that the media landscape in the early 1970s worked against the White House.
“There’s social media, there’s the internet, the news cycles are faster,” he stated. “I think Watergate would have occurred at a much more accelerated speed than the 928 days it took to go from the arrest at the Watergate to the conviction of Haldeman and Ehrlichman and Mitchell, et al.”
“There’s more likelihood he might have survived if there’d been a Fox News.”
Dean also claimed that the Trump administration is ignoring the potential of facing obstruction of justice charges because they can’t grasp the legal concept.
“Everybody who got involved in the obstruction of justice at the Nixon White House didn’t have a clue what obstruction of justice was, including me,” Dean admitted. “Later, after I read the statute… it’s clear Nixon didn’t know anything about obstruction of justice.”
Dean also provided his insight into Donald Trump’s potential impeachment, a resolution which he clearly thinks is both possible and appropriate.
“You could impeach a president for being incompetent without committing a crime,” he said. “What’s been argued by anybody who’s been subject to impeachment — this runs from presidents to judges to anybody, any officer of the government — they’ve always claimed that it has to be criminal activity, but really there’s no such standard. It’s high crimes and misdemeanors, as well as bribery and what have you.”
“Trump isn’t likely to be found guilty of the same abuses of power that Nixon was because he doesn’t know he has the power to pick up the phone and tell the secretary of the Treasury to start auditing Bob Mueller’s tax returns,” he continued. “He hasn’t thought that through yet. Nixon had.”
“Trump doesn’t even know where the levers and buttons are that he can push and pull.”